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This is the second time the awards have been presented, the first being in 1998, when II men and women were made State Living Treasures.

The concept of State Living Treasures originated in Japan after World War II, where the title became the highest distinction attainable by a senior traditional artist. Living Treasures programs have since been initiated in many parts of the world, and in some countries, they are administered under legal provisions similar to our own Heritage Act. Living Treasures programs are a way for communities to show respect for their elders and to pay tribute to the skills, expertise and knowledge acquired over a lifetime of artistic practice. They also honour the personal integrity that makes the presence of these people so valuable to cultural life.

The Western Australian State Living Treasures Awards are inclusive of, but not limited to, artists working within traditional art forms Rather, they celebrate the diversity, talent and richness of a group of individual artists who have chosen to make Western Australia their home, or have chosen to work with Western Australian subjects, places, people and experiences.

Even more broadly, the awards celebrate the ability of artists to articulate ideas about our relationships with each other and the world, to involve us, to move us, and to enthrall us with their skill and imagination.

The 2004 award recipients were selected by a reference panel of respected people in Western Australian arts and culture. These were:

  • Professor Ted Snell (Chair) - Dean of Art, John Curtin Centre, Curtin University of Technology
  • Professor Margaret Seares AO - Deputy Vice-Chancellor, The University of Western Australia
  • Marian Tye - Dance Consultant and Director of Teamworks Australasia
  • Jenny Davis - Actor, Director and Artistic Director, Agelink Reminiscence Theatre and the WA Youth Theatre
  • Alan Dodge - Director, Art Gallery of Western Australia
  • John Beaton - Associate Lecturer, Film and Television, Curtin University of Technology
  • Assoc Professor Terri-ann White - Director, Institute of Advanced Studies, The University of Western Australia
  • Richard Walley AM - Indigenous Artist. Dancer and Musician, and Chair, Australia Council for the Arts, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board

The award recipients were chosen from across the different art forms, with no particular requirement for art form representation. The panel's selection was based on the following criteria. Recipients: 

  • were senior artists in the community (generally over the age of 60 years)
  • had attained an exceptional level of artistic skill and ability
  • had a body of lifetime work that had developed their art form in a creative way, or altered perception of their art form.

It was also desirable that recipients:

  • had a significant influence on a number of people
  • played a major role in the development of other artists
  • had demonstrated long-term involvement in , or contribution to, the arts in Western Australia. 

The 2004 recipients were:

  • Alan Alder and Dr Lucette Aldous - dancers, choreographers
  • Janangoo Butcher Cherel - visual artist
  • Jimmy Chi - composer, musician, playwright
  • Professor Jeffrey Howlett AM - architect
  • Tom (T.A.G.) Hungerford AM - journalist, novelist, playwright
  • Doris Pilkington Garimara - writer
  • Dr Carol Rudyard - visual artist
  • Professor Roger Smalley - composer, musician, conductor
  • Leonard 'Jack' Williams - Aboriginal custodian, storyteller, craftsman
  • Richard Woldendorp - photographer
  • Fay Zwicky - poet, fiction writer, editor
Page reviewed 11 September 2023