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2015 Ruby Awards celebrate the best of SA art


Ngarrindjeri artist Yvonne Koolmatrie and State Opera’s Philip Glass Trilogy were among the big winners at last night’s Ruby Awards.

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The awards, presented at the Samstag Museum of Art, recognise outstanding achievement in South Australia’s arts and culture sector.

Koolmatrie, whose elegant woven artwork is currently on display in the Riverland retrospective exhibition at the Art Gallery of South Australia, won the Premier’s Award for Lifetime Achievement.

“Yvonne  Koolmatrie has worked tirelessly to promote her Ngarrindjeri cultural practice to audiences across Australia and overseas since the early 1980s,” said Arts Minister Jack Snelling, who presented the award.

“Riverland tells the story of how Ms Koolmatrie learned to weave at a one-day workshop in the early 1980s and went on to represent Australia at the 1997 Venice Biennale.”

Yvonne Koolmatrie at the opening of 'Riverland'. Photo: Ben Searcy

Yvonne Koolmatrie. Photo: Ben Searcy

State Opera SA’s $1.7 million production The Philip Glass Trilogy won the Ruby Award for Best Work.

Comprising contemporary American composer Glass’s works AkhnatenEinstein on the Beach and Satyagraha, it was presented with a cast of 140 performers over three cycles. It also featured the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Adelaide Art Orchestra, the State Opera Chorus, and dancers from Leigh Warren Dance and the Adelaide College of the Arts.

The trilogy, which was nominated for four Helpmann Awards this year, was performed at Her Majesty’s Theatre in August 2014, with the 2015 Ruby Awards open to productions from the last financial year.

The South Australia Living Artists Festival (SALA) was named Best Event, while Adelaide Writers’ Week took out the award for Community or Regional Impact Over $100,000.

The award for Community or Regional Impact Under $100,000 was won by Nexus Arts’ Barngarla Stories of Resilience, a project that involved the Barngarla people from Port Augusta and used narrative therapy and art as a means of healing.

Sustained Contribution by an Organisation: Australian Dance Theatre. Photo: Chris Herzfeld

Sustained Contribution by an Organisation: Australian Dance Theatre. Photo: Chris Herzfeld

Executive director of Arts SA Peter Louca said the Ruby Awards were one of the most tangible ways in which the achievements of the sector were recognised.

They are judged by a panel including representatives from a broad cross-section of SA arts and culture organisations.

Other Ruby Award winners were:

Innovation Award: Music Strings and iThings by Zephyr Quarter

Sustained Contribution by an Organisation: Australian Dance Theatre

Sustained Contribution by an Individual: Photographer Grant Hancock

Geoff Crowhurst Memorial Award for an individual contribution to community cultural development: ActNow Theatre director Edwin Kemp Attrill

Arts Enterprise: Fifth Quarter, arts business enterprise, Carclew


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