DOBBY, Emma Donovan amongst new Indigenous Literacy Foundation ambassadors

Republished from National Indigenous Times

Callan Morse – March 1, 2024

National charity the Indigenous Literacy Foundation has announced musician DOBBY, singer Emma Donovan, TV personality Bianca Hunt, actor Thomas Weatherall and artist Ryhia Dank as the Foundation’s new ambassadors.

The Foundation works with Indigenous communities across Australia, responding to requests to produce culturally relevant books, including early learning board books, resources, and programs.

Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) CEO, Ben Bowen labelled the quintet “magnificent talents” in welcoming them 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,” Mr Bowen said.

“The ILF is incredibly lucky to be surrounded by ambassadors of this calibre that inspire ambition for the ILF team and the Communities we collaborate with.”

Rapper, composer, producer and drummer DOBBY headlines the ILF’s new ambassadors, the Aboriginal and Filipino rapper, who won best video for his hit ‘I Can’t Breathe’ at the FBi SMAC Awards, becoming increasingly well-known for his unique signature ‘dropping’.

The Murrawarri and Ngemba artist has performed extensively in recent years including at Parrtjima Festival, BigSound, OzAsia Festival and Sydney Opera House, internationally in Germany, UK, USA and Netherlands, as well as performing alongside sister BARKAA for the 2021-22 New Year’s Eve Fireworks.

DOBBY. (Image: Vyva Entertainment)

DOBBY said he’s a “big supporter” of the ILF’s work 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,” he said.

“I’m proud and grateful to be able to use music in this way to learn and engage in Cultural knowledge.”

A highly celebrated, ARIA-nominated, award-winning Indigenous singer and songwriter, Gumbaynggirr/Yamatji woman Emma Donovan been touring Australia for more than 20 years.

She has toured and recorded with renowned members of 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. (Image: James Brickwood)

Donovan said she was honoured to have been appointed an ILF ambassador.

“It means a lot that our Community continues to reclaim the language and share it with the world,” she said.

“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.”

TV presenter, media personality, interviewer and activist Bianca Hunt joins ILF as an ambassador following a career sport, travel, fashion and music journalism.

The proud Kamilaroi, Barkindji, Ballardong and Whadjuk woman is passionate about both other people’s stories and for sharing her own, with Ms Hunt having dedicated much of her career to uplifting First Nations people and platforming women in media.

Bianca Hunt. (Image:

“Literacy can mean many things but for myself it means job security, independence, freedom and the ability to walk in both worlds,” she said.

“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.”

Kamilaroi writer and actor, Thomas Weatherall made his professional acting debut in 2018 ABC’s award-winning series Deadlock, before starring Netflix’ Heart Break High Season 1, his performance earning him a Silver Logie and an AACTA Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Television Drama.

Upon being announced as an ILF ambassador, Weatherill highlighted the importance of storytelling in Indigenous culture.

Thomas Weatherall. (Image: Joseph Mayers)

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Proud Gudanji/Wakaja woman Ryhia Dank is a mother, partner, business owner, and creative individual whose connection to Country and family is a profound source of inspiration for her artistic work.

She tells traditional stories through her paintings.

“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,” she said.

Ryhia Dank. (Image: Officeworks Ltd.)

Ms Dank said she wanted to join ILF as an ambassador as I she has seen first-hand the achievements of the Foundation.

“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,” she said.

The quintet join 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.

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