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National Indigenous Music Awards To Go Virtual Amid COVID-19 Crisis

Photos by Steve Kelk | Joseph Mayers | Supplied

Baker Boy

The National Indigenous Music Awards are pleased to announce in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, that they will continue in 2020, reacting to a climate where celebrating and shining a light on First Nations artists is even more important than ever. Opening their nominations on Wednesday, the NIMAs are ready to face the challenge of building and supporting community in a changed world.

The NIMAs are responsive to the health needs of Australians, particularly those in our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. The NIMAs have always played an integral part in bringing us together as a community and this year we will take the opportunity to innovate, providing a multimedia experience which will celebrate not only music, but also the way technology has transformed Indigenous life, be it in our major capital cities, or our remote communities.

The National Indigenous Music Awards will work with media partners to create a rich program of live music across multiple screens and the ability for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people from across the country to connect with the program, the artists and each other with the announcement of new NIMAs Creative Director, Iwaidja, Malak Malak and Badu Island man Ben Graetz.

Ben Graetz

A fierce advocate for the First Nations, disability, LGBTIQA+ and arts communities, Graetz has served as Artistic Director of the Darwin Pride Festival, Darwin Entertainment Centre, Garrmalang Festival and Arafura Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies and was awarded the prestigious Artist of the Year in last year’s LGBTI Australia Awards for his nationally-renowned alter-ego Miss Ellaneous. Graetz said he was excited by the challenge of helming the awards, which usually attract over 4,000 each year in Darwin, even with the additional complexities that COVID-19 has presented.

“The National Indigenous Music Awards are the biggest night on the calendar for First Nations musicians and it is an honour to be welcomed as its first Creative Director, albeit with a different palette than I was expecting to be painting with,” said Graetz. “Over more than a decade, the awards have been such an important place of recognition for musicians across the country, both to celebrate successes and provide a platform for new artists to be discovered and I am excited to be taking the reigns of an event with such an important legacy, especially at this time.”

Miss Ellaneous

“We will create an event where we can celebrate and honour our extraordinary musical community while of course listening to health advice and bringing our community together, this year virtually, to offer positivity and hope in these challenging times.”

Nominations for this year’s National Indigenous Music Awards are now open at www.indigenousmusic.com.au. All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander music released between July last year and June this year is eligible for nominating. For the first time, all artists who have appeared in the weekly National Indigenous Chart will be automatically considered for the awards.

“We are continuing the evolution of the NIMAs to create a platform that shines a light on Indigenous success and talent across the year, of which the awards are a key part,” said MusicNT’s Mark Smith. “We are working closely with Ben to restructure the NIMAs advisory committee and are welcoming new members in 2020 to ensure we have Indigenous voices from across the country advising and leading the future strategy of the event. We are proud to welcome Ben as our first Creative Director as we continue our path towards a NIMAs that is Indigenous-led: an event that not just amplifies Indigenous voices, but one that is determined and controlled by them.”

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