• music
  • aboriginal
  • international

6 June 2016

Victorian musician and activist Archie Roach AM was presented with the Distinguished Artist Award at the 2016 ISPA (International Society for the Performing Arts) Congress held at Arts Centre Melbourne last week.

Archie Roach playing guitar - photo by Mark Gambino

Archie Roach performing at the 2016 ISPA Congress. Photo by Mark Gambino.

A vigorous campaigner for Indigenous rights, unofficial spokesperson for the Stolen Generations, and a highly acclaimed singer-songwriter, Archie has been an important force in the Australian musical and political landscape since his debut album, Charcoal Lane, was released in 1990.

The album featured the song Took The Children Away and highlighted the suffering endured by Indigenous families during the Stolen Generations. The song was awarded two ARIA Awards and recognised internationally through a Human Rights Achievement Award.

To this day, Archie continues to make music, work in Indigenous communities, and act as a mentor to young Indigenous artists. He has toured with some of the most celebrated artists of the modern age including Leonard Cohen, Rodriguez, Bob Dylan and Patti Smith.

This year's ISPA congress brought more than 350 international thought leaders to Arts Centre Melbourne to discuss the global future of the performing arts. The Distinguished Artist Award acknowledges the work of individuals that have made exceptional contributions to the performing arts and are highly accomplished outside of their role as artists.