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September 2006 Issue
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Felix rewarded for creative path


A passion for the performing arts has culminated in a major award for University of Adelaide music student Felix Kerry.

Twenty-five year old Felix, who is in his second year of an Associate Diploma in Aboriginal Studies in Music, has been named the 2006 South Australian NAIDOC Artist of the Year.

NAIDOC celebrations are held around Australia in the first full week in July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The award recognises Felix's work with Aboriginal communities in the performing arts field, including a musical composition for the award-winning Crossing Paths dance spectacular at the 2006 Fringe Festival.

Felix wrote a 50-minute musical score for the production, which was performed by Kurruru, Australia's only indigenous youth performing arts company.

His association with Kurruru also extends to giving regular performing arts workshops to Aboriginal youth in regional South Australia.

"Drama and music are great avenues to help build up self-esteem among Aboriginal kids," Felix said. "I think it's important to share your experience and give teenagers some motivation to reach their potential."

He owes his creative streak to an eclectic mix of cultures. Born on Thursday Island to a Papua New Guinean father and a mother of Torres Strait Island heritage, Felix grew up in a musical environment.

"Dancing and music are an integral part of both cultures so it's not surprising that I have followed a creative path," he said.

Felix spent his childhood on Thursday Island and then moved to Perth in his late teens to join a performing arts company called Artworks.

He completed three years of a four-year Bachelor of Performing Arts degree in WA before heading east to Coober Pedy to work with Aboriginal teenagers for a year.

In 2004 Felix started his diploma at the University of Adelaide. The singer/songwriter plays the guitar and has a passion for folk, jazz and blues. He's also a regular performer in Adelaide with his band The Strange Breed.

As for the future, this talented young musician is keen to build his reputation as an artist in his own right.

"Winning this award has been a huge honour for me and I hope it gives other Aboriginal musicians some encouragement to follow their passion," he said.

Story by Candy Gibson

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Above: Felix Kerry, South Australian NAIDOC Artist of the Year
Photo by Candy Gibson

Above: Felix Kerry, South Australian NAIDOC Artist of the Year
Photo by Candy Gibson

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