Tuesday, 8 August 2017
Blacktown City Council - Media Release - Blacktown Wins Inaugural Arts Awards
7 August, 2017
Blacktown City Council’s innovative Australian Hip Hop history project has taken out the inaugural Leo Kelly OAM Arts and Culture Award, presented by Local Government NSW (LGNSW).
“The late Leo Kelly OAM was a passionate supporter of the Arts and was instrumental in the creation of Blacktown Arts Centre,” the Mayor of Blacktown City, Councillor Stephen Bali said.
“It is a wonderful tribute to his lifelong commitment to local government that a major arts prize should perpetuate his legacy.
“That the first award should go to a Blacktown City Council project shows his legacy is being maintained.”
The award was received by long-standing fellow Ward Two councillor Julie Griffiths, who said that Cr Kelly was inspirational in regards to his involvement in the local community.
“He was a firm believer in ensuring that residents were involved in council decision making at all levels.
“He was extremely supportive of the role the arts played within the community, and this was highlighted only recently when we unveiled the new suburb sign for Glenwood.
“Cr Kelly worked alongside students from the local high school to help them realise their vision for the community.”
The award was presented at a ceremony by Cr Kelly’s wife Janet and son John.
“I am extremely proud and honoured that Leo’s commitment to the arts will live on through this award which is now recognised by councils throughout the state,” Mrs Kelly said.
“It’s lovely that this has happened, but Leo himself would think this was all too much fuss, which in a way makes it all the more meaningful to his family.”
LGNSW President Keith Rhoades said it was fantastic the independent judges selected Blacktown City Council as the award winner in the 70,000-plus council population category.
“Leo was a long-serving councillor on Blacktown City Council, and was instrumental in creating the Blacktown Arts Centre,” Clr Rhoades said.
“He continued to support the arts throughout his life, through the Blacktown City Art Prize and scholarships for local artists.
“I know he would be very proud that the council he served so faithfully have won the very first Leo Kelly OAM Award.”
Curated by Kon Gouriotis and Paul Howard, It’s Our Thing features works from 14 hip-hop and graffiti artists who were active during hip-hop’s hey-day in Blacktown in the 1990s.
Art by highly acclaimed international artists Joseph Beuys, Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol were included in the exhibition to show the artistic influences on Sydney’s leading artists.
The exhibition also includes performances, paintings, graffiti (both at the Centre and throughout the Blacktown CBD), video displays of female hip-hop performers from the 90s to now, and a rare original piece by visual artist Unique, last displayed in 1992.
“The history of Australian hip-hop is firmly ingrained in the streets of Blacktown,” Mayor of Blacktown City, Councillor Stephen Bali said.
“This exhibition celebrates that legacy and its profound influence on Australian art and music culture.”
John and Janet Kelly, Councillor Julie Griffiths, Blacktown City Council Arts Manager Jenny Bisset, Councillor Moninder Singh, LGNSW President Keith Rhoades and Councillor Susai Benjamin.