Lydia Miller, the Executive Director of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts at the Australia Council for the Arts, presents the second Awaye! anniversary lecture, ‘Art connects and creates our culture into the 21st century’ on ABC Radio National.

Awaye! is Australia’s only national Indigenous arts and culture program, and is produced and presented by Aboriginal broadcasters. One of Australia’s most senior arts administrators, Lydia Miller articulates an informative and constructive talk in which she explores identity and the construction of Aboriginality.


The executive director of the Australia Council's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Board, Lydia Miller. 

The executive director of the Australia Council’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Board, Lydia Miller – Photography by Stu Spence

Lecture presented by Lydia Miller
Saturday 17 August 2013
ABC Radio National


“The title of this paper today is “Art connects and creates our culture into the 21stcentury”.

I honour and respect the cultural custodians and traditional owners of the Lands of the Gadigal of the Eora nation, and pay homage to the ancestors who walked these lands and whose spirits reside here. I also acknowledge Elders past and present whose wisdom and strength enabled us all to be here in the present, as beneficiaries of their legacy.

As a Kukuyalanji woman I acknowledge all nations across this beautiful and majestic country in which we have lived for some 75,000 years. And I honour you all coming from the oldest living culture on Earth – the Bundjalung, Gamilaroi, Anaiwon, Wongaibon, Ngarrindjeri, Noonuccal, Narungga, Waanyi, Arrernte, Larrakia, Wiradjuri, Biripi, Noongar, Yolngu, and our brothers and sisters from Boigu, Saibai, Moa, Mabuiag, Mer, Erub, Waiben, Masig and many, many more..

I also honour our non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters who have stood with us through time to change this country for the better, for a just and decent society.

In the words of Oodgeroo of the Noonuccal tribe from the Lands of Minjerribah:

“Let no-one say the past is dead. The past is all about us and within”.

We are all the sum of the parts of our history, present and future. We are the legacy created by previous generations whose vision carried us to the future that they saw, and in turn we will – all of us – deliver the next generation to their future: safely.

We are the forest from seeds planted a long time ago, and we today in this age are planting seeds to nurture and grow the next generation into a forest of strong, proud, resilient and powerful people, whose strength of will shall bring our future into being.

We are connected by our legacy to our destiny.

We are connected by our stories, our memories, our history, our dreams, our country, our experiences. It is a fine golden thread that weaves us together in ways that we cannot always fathom or understand, and in the journey as an artist, our language is to reveal and communicate our understanding of these golden threads in the weave of our lives and let the truth of them illuminate for all to see and witness: our majesty, beauty, pain, despair, degradation, anger, irony, wit, humour, happiness, hope, dream, joy, wisdom, confusion, desire, hatred, love, humanity, spirituality and universality.” [Read more]

Source: Awaye!