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What an Honour! Two AAAA Members awarded an OAM in 2019

Updated: Apr 27, 2020

In January 2019, AAAA members Lauraine Diggins and Chris Simon received the Medal of the Order of Australia for their outstanding contributions to the Indigenous arts industry, and we couldn’t be happier for them.

In learning of the awards, President Geoff Henderson declared:

“We were thrilled to learn Lauraine Diggins and Chris Simon had both been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia this year. Both Lauraine and Chris are highly respected within the industry and have worked tirelessly to promote Australia’s Indigenous arts. As an Association, it’s an honour to be working alongside individuals who share our passion for promoting the Indigenous arts. Both Lauraine and Chris now join another OAM member, Adrian Newstead OAM, as part of the Association”.

Pictured: Lauraine Diggins OAM, Chris Simon OAM with artist member Molly Hunter Pwerle, AAAA Patron Barbara Weir and legendary Australian artist John Olsen

Lauraine Diggins, Lauraine Diggins Fine Art

Lauraine Diggins OAM
Pictured: Lauraine Diggins OAM and her Medal of the Order of Australia

Founder of Lauraine Diggins Fine Art, Lauraine has been an art dealer since 1974, specialising in Australian colonial, impressionist, modern, contemporary and Australian Aboriginal painting, sculpture and decorative arts.

Lauraine is well-known and highly-respected among artists; our public institutions and the commercial art world. Foundation member of numerous state art galleries and frequent public speaker and lecturer, her ongoing support, strategic partnerships and philanthropic contributions to public institutions continue to enrich the visual arts scene.

Passionate about Indigenous arts and its promotion, Lauraine is known for her scholarly articles and curation of the comprehensive 1989 exhibition titled ‘A Myriad of Dreaming: Twentieth Century Aboriginal Art’. Lauraine successfully negotiated representation for the renowned indigenous artist, Gloria Petyarre with the international fashion house Hermes in 2009. Her Gallery website provides an educative focus covering many aspects of Indigenous art, culture and history, encouraging a greater understanding and appreciation.

Lauraine received the Medal of the Order of Australia in recognition of her long-standing commitment and valued contributions within the museums and galleries sector.

Chris Simon, Yanda Art

Pictured: Chris Simon OAM with artist member Molly Hunter Pwerle, AAAA Patron Barbara Weir and legendary Australian artist John Olsen

Founder of Yanda Art in 1997, Chris has operated his indigenous art gallery, studio and consultancy for over 17 years. The name ‘Yanda’ originates from a sheep station Chris previously owned and operated in Far Western NSW called ‘Yanda Creek Station’.

His rural property, located just outside of Alice Springs, has been a peaceful refuge for many of Australia’s most successful and highly-respected Desert artists including names such as Mrs Bennett, Tommy Watson, Esther Giles, Walala Tjapaltjarri, Naata Nungarrayi and Turkey Tolson, plus many other leading desert artists.

In April 2004, Chris was duly recognised as an Individual Founder Benefactor under the terms of the Constitution of the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation.

In June 2017, Chris hosted His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd) Governor General of the Commonwealth or Australia and Her Excellency Lady Cosgrove during a tour of his artist complex in Alice Springs.

Chris is an Honorary Senior Fellow at USC University and most recently received the Medal of the Order of Australia in recognition of his services to the visual arts through support for and promotion of Aboriginal Art.

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