PROUD HERITAGE: Bundjalung, Wiradjuri, and Ni-Vanuatu artist Thomas E.S Kelly.
PROUD HERITAGE: Bundjalung, Wiradjuri, and Ni-Vanuatu artist Thomas E.S Kelly. Kate Holmes

Bundjalung man wins national Indigenous Arts Award

BUNDJALUNG, Wiradjuri and Ni-Vanuatu man Thomas E.S. Kelly has been named the recipient of The Dreaming Award (for emerging artists aged 18-26 years) at the National Indigenous Arts Awards.

The awards, organised by Australia Council for the Arts, celebrated remarkable artists at a ceremony at the Sydney Opera House last Sunday.

Mr Kelly graduated in 2012 from NAISDA Dance College and has since worked with the likes of Vicki Van Hout, Shaun Parker and Company, Branch Nebula, ERTH, Chunky Move, Tasdance, Outer Urban Projects and Urban Theatre Projects.

His choreographic credits include his Green Room Award-winning work [Mis]Conceive, Vessel for Outer Urban Projects and Shifting > Shapes, which will be performing in Lismore in late June.

In announcing the accolade, Australia Council for the Arts said Mr Kelly creates work that explored high-intensity physical works.

"Thomas creates work that reveals subject matters that offers an opportunity to learn and develop. Remembering the past to better understand the present so we can move forward into the future," the statement said.

In 2017, Mr Kelly created Karul Projects, a new company led by new indigenous voices telling new stories, a resident company at PACT.

The Dreaming Award celebrates an inspirational young artist and gives them the opportunity to create a major body of work through mentoring and partnerships, nationally or internationally.

 

PROUD HERITAGE: Bundjalung, Wiradjuri, and Ni-Vanuatu artist Thomas E.S. Kelly.
PROUD HERITAGE: Bundjalung, Wiradjuri, and Ni-Vanuatu artist Thomas E.S. Kelly. SUPPLIED

[Mis]Conceive is a powerful new dance-theatre work by Thomas E.S. Kelly that challenges the idea that knowledge equals comprehension.

Using an exciting mash-up of traditional and contemporary styles, dance and spoken word, [Mis]Conceive simultaneously rejects, reveals and re-educates (mis)understandings about what it means to be an Indigenous Australian.

Kelly and his ensemble move with assured physicality in this high-energy work that pulses with humour, play and personal stories.

NORPA Associate Director Kirk Page said Mr Kelly had carved out a place for himself as one of the next generation's storytellers.

"Through his physical exploits on identity and observations of the Australian gaze we get a small insight into his world and how he is perceived in it," he said.

"With wry commentary on the state of a nation this new work deserves to be seen. We are very proud and excited to be bringing this work to NORPA and our committed audiences."

Thomas E.S. Kelly has a long association with NORPA: he was involved in the creative developments of Three Brothers and Djurra and was in residency at NORPA in 2017 developing a new project called Wollumbin // Warning.


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