The 2020 Australia Council Awards were announced on Monday night. The eight artists celebrated included Brook Andrew who was honoured with the 2020 Australia Council Award for Visual Arts. The award acknowledges Andrew’s “outstanding and sustained contribution to Australian visual art.”
Brook Andrew is the first Indigenous artistic director the Biennale of Sydney. The theme he selected for 2020 is Nirin, a Wiradjuri word which defies straightforward translation into English. In a recent Art Guide Australia interview Andrew discusses his rational for the Biennale. Nirin opens to the public on 14 March.
As an artist, Andrew’s overarching project can be characterised as one of decolonisation and to this end he has worked with a number of well known ethnographic collections overseas, including a stint as the Photography Residencies Laureate at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris in 2016, and a 2017 exhibition which responded to Aboriginal Australian objects at the Musée d’ethnographie de Genève in Switzerland. In 2017 he also undertook a research fellowship at the Smithsonian in Washington DC, USA. Andrew is an associate researcher at the Pitt Rivers Museum, part of Oxford University in the UK where he is currently a PhD candidate.
Previous winners include: Susan Norrie (2019), Pat Brassington (2018), Susan Cohn (2017), Richard Bell (2016), Judy Watson (2015), Fiona Foley (2014), and Tracey Moffatt (2012).
At the award ceremony, r e a, who also works in the realm of visual arts, was honoured with The 2020 Australia Council Award for Emerging and Experimental Arts.
The complete list of creatives who received 2020 Australia Council Awards is: Margaret Wild (Lifetime Achievement in Literature), Deborah Conway AM (Don Banks Music Award), Brook Andrew (Visual Arts Award), r e a (Emerging and Experimental Arts), Michelle Ryan (Dance), Tommy Murphy (Theatre), Kath Duncan (Ros Bower Award), and Autumn Skuthorpe (Kirk Robson Award).