Deborah Cheetham. Photo © Simon Schluter
Critics’ Choice: Australian Artist of the Year
I feel elated. It is truly an honour to receive this recognition… The arts are so much more than an optional luxury in the traditional life and practice of Indigenous people. It is part of our identity. – Deborah Cheetham
It was a wonderful, heart-warming moment. A full concert hall, rising as one to salute a powerful work of art, its interpreters, its creator and, perhaps most importantly, the precious imperative of reconciliation behind it all. The premiere of Eumeralla, a war requiem for peace by Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in June was for Deborah Cheetham “a rare unison outpouring of gratitude and empathy – unlike anything I have ever witnessed”. Yet for this talented Yorta Yorta singer, composer, arts administrator and activist, the on-country premiere in 2018 “will live in my memory for...