Alumni Award for Cultural Contribution

Excellence in arts and culture
This award recognises alumni who achieve excellence in arts, culture and creative sectors and/or whose efforts promote the understanding and value of cultural diversity.

To be eligible, nominees must meet the following selection criteria:

  • Nominees must have graduated from the University of Sydney.
  • Nominees must demonstrate contributions to creative arts and literature, elements of design and architecture, cultural education and other cultures, or to the understanding of them.

2023 winner


Imants Tillers wins Alumni Award for Cultural Contribution

Though he was studying architecture, Imants Tillers (BSc (Architecture) '73) was drawn to the arts and the culture around the newly-formed Tin Sheds galleries. The style he developed in this period has made him one of Australia's most recognisable post-modern artists.

About Imants Tillers

Bachelor of Design (Architecture) '73
Artist, curator and writer

With a career spanning over five decades, Imants Tillers has left an incredible mark on the world of art. He was born into a Latvian émigré family in Sydney and found his artistic calling while studying a Bachelor of Science in Architecture. Since then, his work has appeared widely in international exhibitions and events, and has been the subject of solo retrospectives nationally and internationally.

He represented Australia at the prestigious Venice Biennale in 1986. Imants has also fostered a profound connection with Indigenous Australian artists, offering a bridge between contemporary art and First Nations artistic practice, most notably through his 20 year collaboration with Warlpiri artist Michael Nelson Jagamara. He has won many prizes and awards, including the Grand Prize at the 1993 Osaka Triennale and the Wynne Prize for landscape painting at the Art Gallery of NSW in both 2012 and 2013.

Today, Imants is generous with his time, serving on the board of the Power Institute and participating in mentoring programs through Sydney College of the Arts. He was a Trustee of the Art Gallery of New South Wales for 9 years from 2001–2009. Imants is an influential advocate of conceptual art and postmodern discourse, and recently published an anthology of his writings on art from 1982 to the present, titled Credo.

When you look at great art, it inspires you. It reminds you that it's worth being an artist.
Imant Tillers