Arts scholarships help local songwriter and poet

Bouddi Foundation Awardees

A passion for their art and a commitment to an artistic career is the common thread running through the 26 singers, songwriters, visual artists, actors, filmmakers, dancers, gallery curators, writers, opera singers, prop makers, and poets who received grants at the annual Bouddi Foundation for the Arts Awards Ceremony recently.

Actor, Director and Founder and Chairman of the Foundation John Bell said, “This year’s awardees are truly remarkable in the quality of their work, and all have the potential to excel in their chosen field.

“Each has persevered toward their end goal despite the COVID-19 pandemic’s devastating effects on artists of all genres seeking to earn a living across this nation,” Bell said.

The grants fund tuition, musical instruments, artist’s supplies, recording studio time, film making cameras and equipment, travel and more, supporting each artist’s unique career plan set out in their grant application.

Blue Haven’s Kani Lukuta impressed the Foundation’s music adjudicators with his seriously funny, self-composed comic songs.

He is a singer-songwriter and multi-talented musician on guitar, harmonica, and piano.

He will use his grant to upgrade his instruments, and to produce a comedy album.

Lukuta said it feels great to be recognised for his art.

“I’m really glad that I’ve gotten to a stage that I can share my art and be proud of it.

“I found out about the Bouddi Foundation through my music teacher who encouraged me to nominate.

“I will be using my grant money to upgrade my instruments, and if I have any left over, I will use it to record an EP comedy album.

“I’m really inspired by a lot of comedians, and I always love to make people laugh.

“It’s very good to make people laugh so I thought why not combine my music with comedy,” Lukuta said.

Another local awardee this year was Andrew Menken from Budgewoi.

Menken is a poet with a particular emphasis on his community, and his focus is developing a cultural landscape.

He plans to use his grant to fund the publication of his poems and to travel to regional writing conferences.

Menken said the Bouddi Foundation Awards were a wonderful opportunity, especially after lockdown for artists to showcase their work.

“I heard about the Bouddi Foundation Awards through some of my lecturers at the University of Newcastle, and a few friends sent me an email about it.

“With the grant I will be trying to travel to regional areas to expand my writing and shift my perspective.

“I was originally meant to be travelling overseas as well but COVID got in the way of that.

“Majority of the amount though will be put towards publishing a poetry book of my work, which I hope to do when I finish my PhD in mid to late 2023.

“Being around other creative people at uni really inspired me to pursue poetry.

“Now that I’m a little older, I am really inspired by my community and other poets from Australia and America,” Menken said.

Other local recipients include scriptwriter Joshua Maxwell from Berkeley Vale, painter Rebecca Ahn from Tumbi Umbi, and musical theatre performer Jacinta-Rose Burley from Blue Haven.

“I want to thank the Bouddi Foundation for the Arts for their vital role the Foundation plays in supporting and encouraging young artists.

“To each and every one of you who have been part of raising funds to ensure that these awards can go on year after year, I want to thank you because by simply making a contribution you are going a long way towards helping ensure the viability of the young artists that we see here today,” Wicks said.

Constrained this year by public health orders to a small audience of awardees, their family guests and invitees, the Foundation looks forward to an awards event in 2022 open to the community showcasing the fantastic wealth of young talent here in the region.

Harry Mulholland