Archie Roach has been awarded the Don Banks Music Award for outstanding and sustained contribution to music. Photo: James HenryThe Victorian arts community has been well represented in the inaugural Australia Council Awards.
Indigenous singer Archie Roach was awarded the Don Banks Music Award for a “distinguished artist over age 50 who has made an outstanding and sustained contribution to music”.
Roach, who continues to play concerts despite recent health problems, said it was “quite an honour”.
“This is a big one. It’s very prestigious. Don Banks was the first chair of the music board of the Australia Council so it’s a real honour,” he said on Sunday.
For Bruce Gladwin, the artistic director of Geelong’s theatre company Back to Back, an ensemble of performers perceived to have intellectual disabilities, the prize for Outstanding Achievement in Theatre came as a welcome surprise.
“I didn’t even know about the prize itself, so when they called me to talk about it, I wasn’t expecting them to tell me I was the recipient,” Gladwin said.
“It’s amazing. Awards make the visible even more visible; it’s elevating theatre to a broader culture, and anything that can promote theatre is a really positive thing.”
For internationally renowned performance artist Stelarc, the award for Outstanding Achievement in Emerging & Experimental Arts will be used to attract further funding for some of his current projects. In recent years his work has combined biotechnology, prosthetics and robotics; the most famous of which is his Ear On Arm project, in which he is “surgically constructing and stem-cell growing” an ear on his forearm, with a view to creating an “internet-enabled ear”.
“Over the years I’ve had various grants and fellowships from the Australia Council but not an award like this where it comes from the other side,” Stelarc, who is from Melbourne but is now based in Perth c said. “It was a real surprise.”
The inaugural Australia Council Awards will be presented in Sydney on March 19.
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