Kate Challis RAKA Award

The Kate Challis RAKA Award supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creative artists.

This year, the Kate Challis RAKA Award promotes achievement of creative work in visual arts by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. The exhibition amplifies the practices of emerging and established artists, who have made a significant impact and contribution to the arts within the past five years.

Event details

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this page contains the names of deceased persons.

Exhibition dates: 21 August to 30 September 2023.

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 10am - 4pm. FREE ENTRY

Location: Arts West Gallery, Ground Level, Arts West Building, University of Melbourne, Parkville.

About the exhibition

The exhibition features a diverse selection of works across the broad category of visual arts from artists who applied for the 2023 Kate Challis RAKA Award. Each artist is a testament to the way in which they engage with their own form of story-telling and the ever-evolving, dedicated, innovative practices of First Peoples across this nation. Their distinct artistry and art forms are an embodiment of creative autonomy, that intertwines ancestral knowledge and contemporary expression. It is a reminder of the profound impact that the arts have on the understanding of narratives, history, community and experience.

We express our heartfelt  gratitude to all the talented artists who have participated and congratulate this year’s recipient. This year’s applicants stand tall as a testament to the legacy of the Kate Challis RAKA Award, that continues to bring First Nations artists to the forefront of creative discourse.

Curator - Edwina Green, Trawlwoolway

Producer - Ethan Savage, Northern Kaantju, Girramay, Badu Island

About the Award

The Kate Challis RAKA Award has continuously shown recognition and support for First Peoples creatives and artists across prose, poetry, script writing, drama and visual arts since 1991. Running on a five-year cycle, this year’s Award is focused on the visual arts, marking a significant milestone in celebrating the diverse talents and narratives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Established by Professor Emeritius Bernard Smith, the Award celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creative excellence in honour of his late wife, Kate Challis, who was known as Ruth Adeney in her youth. In Pintupi language, raka means ‘five’ and in Warlpiri, rdaka means ‘hand’, both meanings hint at the use of one’s hands for the basic means of creativity.


‚ÄčEdwina Green is a proud Trawlwoolway multidisciplinary curator and artist, based in Narrm (Melbourne). Her practice utilises painting, mixed media, video, sculpture, and cultural installation, in order to cross-examine the post-colonial paradigm and its effects on people and place. Since completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Melbourne in 2019, she has participated in an extensive range of exhibitions both locally and internationally, including NSFW: Not Safe For Work, 2019, curated by Ilie Lichtenstein, THE LAB, CollarWorks, New York; Yirramboi Festival, 2019; Brunswick Music Festival, 2020; and I'LL CARRY MY OWN WATER, 2020, SEVENTH gallery, Melbourne.


Ethan Savage is a Northern Kaantju, Girramay and Badu Islander holding a Bachelor of Arts (Politics, International Relations, Anthropology) and will complete the Master of Arts and Cultural Management degree later this year. An early-career arts professional, community is the bedrock of their work contributing to the due recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across the creative industries. With a growing portfolio, Ethan has experience in live event production, television, cultural consultancy and digital communications.

With thanks to

  • Faculty of Arts
  • Grimwade Conservation Services
  • Nuttshell
  • Visual Graphics
  • Classic Colour Copying

Photos by Drew Echberg.

Design by Nuttshell.

Want to know more?

For more information about this exhibition, contact the exhibition curators

Make an enquiry