Skip to content
CharitiesAidWelfare

Five incredible First Nations talents become ILF Ambassadors

Indigenous Literacy Foundation 4 mins read

The Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) is excited to announce singer Emma Donovan, actor Thomas Weatherall, artist Ryhia Dank, TV personality Bianca Hunt and musician DOBBY have joined as ILF Ambassadors. 

ILF CEO Ben Bowen says: I warmly welcome the magnificent talents of Emma, Thomas, Ryhia, Bianca and DOBBY to the ILF team. The ILF Ambassadors not only represent the values of the ILF but they are also critical to our success in supporting the literacy aspirations of Community. The ILF is incredibly lucky to be surrounded by ambassadors of this caliber that inspire ambition for the ILF team and the Communities we collaborate with.” 

Emma Donovan, a highly celebrated, ARIA-nominated, award-winning Indigenous singer and songwriter has been touring the country for over 20 years. On her mother’s side, Emma is part of the famed Donovan family of singers of the Gumbaynggirr people, of what is now known as Northern New South Wales. On her father’s side, Emma is of the Yamatji people of what is now known as Western Australia. Emma has toured and recorded with the best in the Australian music scene including Paul Kelly, The Teskey Brothers, Yothu Yindi, Paul Grabowsky, Jen Cloher, Spinifex Gum and the late Uncle Archie Roach and Aunty Ruby Hunter.

Emma Donovan says: “It means a lot that our Community continues to reclaim the language and share it with the world. I’m honoured to be playing a small part in that too by sharing songs in language to continue to empower our little ones’ minds. My children and all children need to have that opportunity.”

Thomas Weatherall is a Kamilaroi writer and actor.His debut play Blue premieredin 2023 at Belvoir Theatre as part of Sydney Festival in a sold-out and critically acclaimed world premiere season in which he also starred. Thomas won both a Silver Logie and an AACTA Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Television Drama for his performance as Malakai in Netflix’ Heart Break High Season 1. After making his professional acting debut in 2018 in ABC’s award-winning series Deadlock, Thomas began a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting at Queensland University of Technology (QUT). During his second year, Thomas joined the lead cast of Network Seven drama series RFDS and was subsequently named as one of Casting Guild Australia’s Rising Stars for 2020.

Thomas Weatherall says:“Storytelling is not only an integral part of my life, but it’s an integral part of my cultural identity, and the history of this country. Providing young Indigenous people with the necessary resources to be able to form that same connection with storytelling and literature, is paramount in early development, both on a personal and educational front.”

Ryhia Dank is a Gudanji/Wakaja from the Barkly Tablelands, Northern Territory. Her  identity is deeply rooted in her roles as a mother, partner, business owner, and creative individual. Ryhia’s connection to Country and family is a profound source of inspiration for her work and fuels her desire to preserve and nurture her relationship with the land. You may recognise Ryhia by the name Nardurna

Ryhia Dank says: “My painting is storywork. Gudanji/Wakaja people told stories through pattern and design and that is what I am doing. I call my storying Nardurna. It means woman in my language. I wanted to join ILF as an ambassador as I have seen first-hand the reach and work that happens. Being from a remote community in the Northern Territory, I know there was a missed opportunity for people to access books before the ILF formation.”

Bianca Hunt is a TV presenter, media personality, interviewer and activist —  her career spans sport, travel, fashion and music journalism. A proud Kamilaroi, Barkindji, Ballardong and Whadjuk woman, Bianca's unique upbringing playing music, competing in AFL, and undertaking dance training, has gifted her with the ability to genuinely connect with almost anyone. With a passion for hearing other people's stories and for sharing her own, Bianca has dedicated her career to uplifting First Nations people and platforming women in media.

Her 2023 appearance on ‘I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here!’ broadcast her charisma and wit to over half a million living rooms around Australia. ILF was her charity of choice because she wanted to raise awareness about a cause that is important to her. 

Bianca Hunts says: Literacy can mean many things but for myself it means job security, independence, freedom and the ability to walk in both worlds. I love what the team does and I think I could be a valuable asset to the kids and communities they work with. ILF does incredible work and I am now lucky enough to be involved even more now!’”

DOBBY is a rapper, composer, producer and drummer, with his unique signature ‘drapping’ - rapping and drumming at the same time. He proudly identifies as a Filipino and Aboriginal musician, whose family is from Murrawarri and Ngemba lands (Weilmoringle, Brewarrina NSW). He has performed extensively locally including Parrtjima Festival (NT), BigSound  (QLD), OzAsia Festival (SA) and Sydney Opera House, and internationally in Germany, UK, USA and Netherlands, as well as recently performing alongside sister BARKAA for the 2021-22 New Year’s Eve Fireworks. In 2020, DOBBY took out best video for I Can’t Breathe at the FBi SMAC Awards. 

After joining the ILF as a Busking For Change Ambassador in 2023, he is welcomed as an Ambassador for all of their work. 

 

DOBBY says: “I’m a big supporter of the work that ILF does in both strengthening literacy and normalising Indigenous languages in school books. Music is an integral part of our Culture, and so naturally it is a very grounding way to engage and connect with culture and country. I’m proud and grateful to be able to use music in this way to learn and engage in Cultural knowledge.”

 

These incredible Ambassadors will add to the talents of the current ILF Ambassadors; musicians Jessica Mauboy and Josh Pyke, authors Andy Griffiths, Dr Anita Heiss AM, Dr Deb Dank, Alison Lester, Richard Flannigan, Gregg Dreise, Dr Jared Thomas, David Lawrence, illustrator Ann James, actress Justine Clarke, photographer Wayne Quilliam, astrophysicist Kirsten Banks, and educator and presenter Shelley Ware.

For further quotes and information on our new Ambassadors please visit: https://ilf.org.au/news-events/five-incredible-first-nations-talents-become-ilf-ambassadors

End.

 


About us:

AbAbout the Indigenous Literacy Foundation

TGThe Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) is a national charity working with remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities across Australia. They are Community-led, responding to requests frofrom remote Communities for culturally relevant books, including early learning board books, resources, and programs to support Communities to create and publish their stories in languages of their chchoice. Ilf.org.au

 


Contact details:

Jackie Evans ILF Publicist 0407 776 222 | jep.pub@bigpond.net.au

Media Outreach made fast, easy, simple.

Feature your press release on Medianet's News Hub every time you distribute with Medianet. Pay per release or save with a subscription.