The Kate Challis RAKA Award is presented to Indigenous creative artists. It was established by Bernard Smith, the art and cultural historian, to honour the memory of his late wife, Kate Challis. The award is offered in a five-year cycle with a different area of the arts - creative writing, drama, the visual arts, scriptwriting and poetry - being rewarded each year.
For more details of the award, see the Australian Centre.
http://australian-centre.unimelb.edu.au/kate-challis-raka-award Sighted: 15/11/2013
'Archival-Poetics offers a unique contribution to Australian poetry through a new way to write into, and out from, the State’s Aboriginal archives and from a Narungga woman’s standpoint. It will demonstrate an embodied reckoning with the colonial archive and those traumatic, contested and buried episodes of history that inevitably return to haunt. Family records at the heart of this work include South Australia’s Aboriginal Protection Board and Children’s Welfare Board records, highlighting assimilation policy measures targeting Aboriginal girls for removal into indenture domestic labour. Three interconnected threads underpin this Archival-poetic writing, and each thread is expanded as the theoretical heart to each section of the work: On Blood Memory – a reclamation of re-imagined histories through cultural identity (blood), narrative (memory) and connection to country (land); On Haunting as a ‘way of knowing’ – an active and honouring response to that which is silent and hidden; the seething and felt, yet unseen presence of colonial violence or unfinished business; On the Colonial Archive – a poetic spotlight on the colonial State and those key institutions, repositories and systems that maintain and perpetuate dominant discourses and representations on Indigenous peoples and histories. Each section of the work will be a potent, multi-textual artefact in its own right that centres the affective, transformative and honouring dimensions of haunting, where the potency of place, colonial-histories and blood-memory collide. They each bear witness to the state’s archivisation processes and the revelation of what is both absent and present on the record. As a trilogy offering in one volume of work, it collectively considers important questions of representation, surveillance and agency; and questions of power that resonate in our daily lives, on and through the colonial archive. It also bears witness to individual and collective loss in order to actively honour and contribute, beyond the local, to larger counter-hegemonic narratives of colonial history. This work demonstrates a critical-creative way of decolonising and transforming the colonial archive through poetic refusal, resistance and memory-making; a poetry that also engages theory, images and primary source archival material.'
'Lizzy and her grandparents have endured, suffered, and even celebrated loss for decades - but now unseen events are tearing their world apart. A beautiful ode to love and memory, The Fever and the Fret is one family’s tale of resilience as they reconcile small town life with a new, ever-changing world.'
Source: National Playwrighting Festival program.
'The new novel by Alexis Wright, whose previous novel Carpentaria won the Miles Franklin Award and four other major prizes including the Australian Book Industry Awards Literary Fiction Book of the Year Award. The Swan Book is set in the future, with Aboriginals still living under the Intervention in the north, in an environment fundamentally altered by climate change. It follows the life of a mute teenager called Oblivia, the victim of gang-rape by petrol-sniffing youths, from the displaced community where she lives in a hulk, in a swamp filled with rusting boats, and thousands of black swans driven from other parts of the country, to her marriage to Warren Finch, the first Aboriginal president of Australia, and her elevation to the position of First Lady, confined to a tower in a flooded and lawless southern city. The Swan Book has all the qualities which made Wright’s previous novel, Carpentaria, a prize-winning best-seller. It offers an intimate awareness of the realities facing Aboriginal people; the wild energy and humour in her writing finds hope in the bleakest situations; and the remarkable combination of storytelling elements, drawn from myth and legend and fairy tale.' (Publisher's blurb)
'The film is set entirely in the remote Indigenous community of Toomelah, located on the NSW, QLD border. It was created as a mission during the 1930s, bringing together Gamilaroi and Bigambal people from the surrounding area.
'The story centres on Daniel, a small ten year old boy who dreams of being a gangster. He is kicked out of school and befriends a local gang leader, until a rival gangster arrives back from jail to reclaim his turf. A showdown ensues and Daniel is caught in the middle, leaving him with a choice to make about his uncertain future.
'Toomelah is a deeply personal story, that intimately depicts mission life in contemporary Australia. The film reveals the challenges facing the young Gamilaroi people of the Toomelah Community. Robbed of much of their traditional culture by Government policy, it is a community on a cultural edge, struggling for an identity. It is a provocative and yet comic story that transports audiences inside the community, creating an authentic world and way of life that is Toomelah.'
Source: Toomelah website.
'Yibiyung was Dallas [Winmar]'s grandmother and this is her growing-up story. She was one of hundreds of girls swept up in the forced removals of the 1920s and trained to become model domestic servants. But it's Yibiyung's break from this regime and her extraordinary flight across Western Australia which gives her story its rolling, expansive rhythm of survival.' Source: Belvoir Street website, http://www.belvoir.com.au/ (Sighted 01/09/2008)
Big-hearted, moving and richly rewarding, That Deadman Dance is set in the first decades of the 19th century in the area around what is now Albany, Western Australia. In playful, musical prose, the book explores the early contact between the Aboriginal Noongar people and the first European settlers.
'The novel's hero is a young Noongar man named Bobby Wabalanginy. Clever, resourceful and eager to please, Bobby befriends the new arrivals, joining them hunting whales, tilling the land, exploring the hinterland and establishing the fledgling colony. He is even welcomed into a prosperous local white family where he falls for the daughter, Christine, a beautiful young woman who sees no harm in a liaison with a native.
'But slowly - by design and by accident - things begin to change. Not everyone is happy with how the colony is developing. Stock mysteriously start to disappear; crops are destroyed; there are "accidents" and injuries on both sides. As the Europeans impose ever stricter rules and regulations in order to keep the peace, Bobby's Elders decide they must respond in kind. A friend to everyone, Bobby is forced to take sides: he must choose between the old world and the new, his ancestors and his new friends. Inexorably, he is drawn into a series of events that will forever change not just the colony but the future of Australia...' (From the publisher's website.)
'Samson and Delilah tells the story of two Aboriginal teenagers in a remote community. They live in a sparse environment but one that absorbs all manner of cultural influences, where dot painting and country music exist side by side. Samson gets through his days by sniffing, while Delilah is the caregiver for her nana before taking a moment for herself to listen to Latino music. Their journey ranges across many of the most urgent issues concerning Indigenous people in Australia, homelessness, poverty, domestic violence and substance abuse, but it does so with tenderness, dignity, and even humour.'
Source: Adelaide Film Festival website, www.adelaidefilmfestival.org/ Sighted: 23/02/2009
'...always remember where you're from... To the Aboriginal Families of Mundra this saying brings either comfort or pain. To Nana Vida it is what binds the generations. To the unwilling savant Archie Corella it portends a fate too cruel to name. For Sophie Salte, whose woman's body and child's mind make her easy prey, nothing matters while her sister Murilla is there to watch over her.
For Murilla, fierce protector and unlikely friend to Caroline Drysdale, wife of the town patriarch, what matters is survival. In a town with a history of vigilante raids, missing persons and unsolved murders, survival can be all that matters'. (Source: back cover, 2002 edition)Awarded jointly to Cleven's two novels 'Bitin' Back' and 'Her Sister's Eye'.
'Ngarla Songs is a unique bilingual presentation of sixty-eight anecdotal songs composed by Ngarla people. They describe the thrill of the hunt, the wonder of whales and other events and life experiences as seen through Ngarla eyes.
...These cameos of everyday life in the Pilbara have been written down, translated and recorded in English. Alexander Brown and Brian Geytenbeek have worked together for ten years to capture the wit, wisdom and vibrancy expressed in these songs.' (Source: Fremantle Press website)
Deep within the cotton country way out west, a convoy of cars throw a dust trail into the dark sky. Leroy, angry with the world for hating his black skin, drives his mother and best mate to weed the back-breaking rows of the cotton fields. They are joined by two white teenagers with their own troubles. While tensions between the two groups emerge during the heat of the day, the huge dust storm will bring them together in a way none of them could have imagined.
Stolen is based upon the lives of five Indigenous people, who go by the names of Sandy, Ruby, Jimmy, Anne and Shirley, who dealt with the issues for forceful removal by the Australian government.Joint winner with Dallas Winmar for her play, Aliwa.
Hugo is the stockman son of the white boss at Taipan Creek station. Desi is an Aboriginal stockman. Their bitter fist fight lands them in hospital in the big city. In this unfamiliar environment, they learn they are not as different as they first thought.
A celebration of life, love and family set in the remote Aboriginal community of Flat Creek, where life is pretty uncomplicated—until a Canberra bureaucrat returns home. (Source: Australian Plays website)
'Kevin Gilbert was widely respected as Aboriginal Australia's most prominent poet and most powerful spokesman before his much-lamented death early in 1993. This moving and stirring collection of poetry represents the last complete work he passed for publication prior to his death. Direct, Passionate, Humane and full of keen wit, Gilbert's verse appeals across racial and ideological boundaries to the noble soul within us all. As well as poems that plea for a greater understanding of the plight of Aboriginal Australia, Black from the Edge contains poems that reveal another side of this inspirational man; a pensive, candid genius attempting to achieve a quietus in the last years of his extraordinary life.' (Source: Goodreads website)
A trilogy of short stories in which characters are haunted by memories, spirits and ghosts, and bewitched by the past. 'BeDevil captures the allusive quality of parochial, local, familial ghost stories, the sort of stories that are passed down through generations, that are repeated and embroidered upon so that eventually they are woven into quotidian discourse and a passing reference can evoke a complex texture of ghostliness' (Lesley Stern, Photofile).The three stories are: 'Mr Chuck.' 'Choo Choo Choo Choo,' and 'Lovin' the Spin I'm In.'
for his sculptural installation They Took the Children Away (1993).
'The spirited story of the Millimurra family’s stand against government ‘protection’ policies in 1930s Australia.' (From the publisher's website.)
'In this chilling story of the infamous Queensland Native Police Force, a murderous band of black troopers led by white officers. Rosser's investigations were triggered by the story of Cyclone Jack of the Bandjalung people, who recounts the atrocities witnessed by his grandfather and father (then a boy of five). Cyclone Jack's disturbing oral account is backed and skilfully crosscut with careful documentary research and leavened with gentle, at times, raucous, humour. [Rosser] has produced a compellingly readable account, in vivid, flesh-and-blood terms, of little-known events from Queensland's suppressed past.' (Back cover).