Author Robert Dessaix among Australia Council award recipients


Robert Dessaix, Dr Judy Bailey and Judith Pungkarta Inkamala are among the eight artists to be honoured at the 2022 Australia Council Awards.

The awards recognise the contribution of outstanding artists to their artforms and to the cultural life of the nation.

Eminent author Robert Dessaix receives the Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature, recognising his unique literary voice and sustained contribution to literature.

Commenting on the award, Dessaix said a writer is “someone who is going to look first to words to describe the world and tell stories. You want to weave something beautiful, like a silk cocoon. Most of my writing is about what makes up a good life.”

Over his career Dessaix has written novels, several volumes of autobiography, non-fiction works and editing several collections including 1993’s Australian Gay and Lesbian Writing: An Anthology.

In his autobiographies Dessaix has recounted his experiences of being adopted, discovering his sexuality and being diagnosed as living with HIV.

Beloved jazz musician and composer Dr Judy Bailey receives the prestigious Australia Council Don Banks Music Award, recognising her career as a trailblazer for female jazz musicians.

Reflecting on her career, Bailey said she thought of herself, “as an instrument through which passes the music of life and love – an endless river. And the music flows on even after the instrument has ceased to play.”

Senior pottery artist, Western Arrernte woman Judith Pugkarta Inkamala receives the Australia Council Award for Visual Arts.

Also receiving honours are Susie Dee (Theatre), Helen Herbertson (Dance), Dr Jenny Fraser (Emerging and Experimental Arts), Leah Jing McIntosh (Australia Council Kirk Robson Award for Community Arts and Cultural Development) and  Pat Rix (Australia Council Ros Bower Award for Community Arts and Cultural Development).

Australia Council CEO Adrian Collette said the artists being honoured had remarkable careers.

“It is a privilege to recognise these remarkable artists – whose work has connected us and helped shape our cultural identity. The Australia Council Awards have been held in various forms for more than 30 years, recognising the luminaries and trailblazers of Australian arts and culture.”

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