Taxi Director, Leah Purcell praised for contribution to the arts, women and culture
Awards are no stranger to Leah Purcell, a renowned actress, director and writer whose work showcases Indigenous culture and experience.
Written by Billie Eddar.
Ms Purcell has been awarded the Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to the performing arts, First Nations youth and culture, and to women. This will be added to a long list of achievements which include the UNESCO City of Film Award (2017); and the 2017 Victorian and NSW Premier’s Literary Award for The Drover’s Wife, based on the Henry Lawson short story.
Managing to shoot before the pandemic shut down production: Leah Purcell in The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson. CREDIT: BRETT BOARDMEN
The youngest of seven children, Ms Purcell grew up in Murgon, Queensland. Familiarity with Lawson’s short story The Drover’s Wife came through bedtime recitings from her mother. In a Herald interview with Ms Purcell in 2016 she said: “My mother used to recite The Drover’s Wife to me when I was a little girl. I’ve still got that book, with all my scribbles in it. Mum always used to say to me, ‘Don’t write on the words’. So all the drawings are on the blank pages and in the margins of this tattered little book.”
She has starred in famous Australian movies such as Lantana (2001), Jindabyne (2006) and award-winning television shows Redfern Now and Wentworth.
Last year Benjamin Law asked her about the politics and origin of her work she said “my grandmother is part of the Stolen Generations. My mother is part of a generation that was not allowed to participate in shared culture, language or stories. I’d hope I bring heart and soul to those issues.”
She is the Founder and Artistic Director of Oombarra Productions, a content creating company that works across multiple artistic formats and brings Indigenous stories to the forefront of Australian arts and culture.
See the trailer here: