Lynette Narkle wins Red Ochre Award

Lynette Narkle wins Red Ochre Award

Jon Solmundson

Country Arts WA is very pleased to congratulate Board Member Lynette Narkle on her selection as 10th winner of the prestigious Red Ochre Award.

Lynette’s career in the performing arts has spanned nearly fifty years. Her passion, commitment, talent and dedication to Aboriginal theatre, film and television are well documented and she is recognised nationally and internationally as one of Australia’s leading Aboriginal performing arts practitioners.

As well as fostering her own flourishing career Lynette has always prioritised the development and mentoring of up-and-coming Aboriginal performers, writers and directors. Through her combined work as an actor, director, facilitator and mentor Lynette has been instrumental in giving Aboriginal people in Australia a voice.

Australia Council Board Director Lee-Ann Buckskin, Country Arts WA Executive Director Paul MacPhail, Red Ochre Award winner Lynette Narkle, Australia Council Chief Executive Officer Tony Grybowski and Australia Council Chair Rupert Myer AO. Photo by Maja Baska

After the Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company’s conception in 1993,  Lynette joined on as Associate Director in 1994. She played an instrumental role in the company’s transition from a youth theatre company to one of the largest and most successful Aboriginal theatre companies in Australia producing an impressive body of new Aboriginal works.

Lynette’s career in film and television has been just as impressive. Her extraordinary gamut of roles in everything from educational videos to the award winning film ‘The Sapphires’ and most recently Warwick Thornton’s ‘The Darkside’ again attest to her enduring commitment to Aboriginal stories being told and to her dedication to community development.

During this period, Lynette also pioneered the new role of Indigenous Programs Officer at Screenwest, assisting emerging Aboriginal filmmakers to shape their screenplays, cast their work adventurously and secure backing and producers to realise their films.

To quote Ian Booth, Chief Executive of Screenwest:  ”Lynette’s longstanding career is not limited to stage and screen performances, her enormous behind the scenes community contribution is equally impressive; inspiring and mentoring generations of Indigenous creatives to peruse careers as filmmakers, performers and storytellers.”

In the latest stage of her extraordinary career, Lynette has come full circle. Returning to her own community in the South West of WA, she is now a respected Elder who acts as coach, mentor and cultural adviser to a new generation of Aboriginal performers and creators, as well as representing the region on the Board of Country Arts WA.

The Red Ochre Award is the most significant national award an Aboriginal artist can be given and Lynette has won it in a particularly significant year as 27 May 2017 marks the 50th Anniversary of the 1967 Referendum – and aligns with Lynette’s role in the Yirra Yaakin 2003 production about that referendum – ONE DAY IN ’67.

Lynette has dedicated herself for five decades to ensuring Aboriginal stories are performed and told with an authentic voice. She has ensured this voice is heard in her own community, on a national stage and to international audiences.

She has inspired more than one generation of storytellers to follow in her footsteps and she continues this work today with as much enthusiasm, grace and humility as she did back in the early seventies.

Please join us in congratulating Lynette on this monumental achievement.

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