Jeremy ‘Yongurra’ Donovan
Jeremy Donovan is an internationally renowned didgeridoo player from the Kuku Yalanji
people of far North Queensland and the Gumbaynngirr
people of the mid North Coast of NSW.
As well as being a performer Jeremy is a spokesperson for GenerationOne
, the organization aiming to end the disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians in one generation. The mission and values of GenerationOne
are closely aligned with Jeremy’s personal beliefs: that empowering people through education, training and employment is crucial to creating equal opportunities for all Australians.
This year Jeremy is the Ambassador for the CREATivE CHANGE GenerationOne School Competition
which aims to use the Performing Arts to engage thousands of teachers and students in the movement to end Indigenous disparity. The Competition invites Primary Schools to perform and film their own version of the GenerationOne
theme song Hands Across Australia
, and Secondary Schools to use the Warumpi Band’s Blackfella/Whitefella
to inspire their CREATivE CHANGE
response to Indigenous disparity.What did you want to be when you grew up?
Growing up I didn’t really have any focus or dreams. Art was expression and Rugby was my way burning off steam.When did you know you would work in the arts?
Art and the world of performing arts was always part of my life. I learnt to express my feelings and emotions through street art. It was a way to be seen when you thought no-one could see you.How would you describe your work to a complete stranger?
I often say every day is different, no one day is same colour. From music to art, or deep story telling, my work allows me to connect in many ways.How hard is it to be authentic in the arts nowadays?
Not hard, I paint and perform for myself and always remind myself of the reasons why I love my craft. Is there a mission to your work?
It has long been my dream that through my artistry I can connect with people to change their perceptions and help educate people on the remarkable beauty that exists within the Aboriginal culture. To share is my mission.What's your background - are there studies that prepare you for this?
Although I am self taught, all my performances and artworks have been influenced by my senior elders in my community.What's the first thing career related you usually do each day?
Every day I make a traditional prayer to my ancestors to thank them for the many gifts they have left me.Can you describe an "average" working day for you?
There is no average.What else do you do to pay the bills?
My arts have enabled me to become recognized as a performing artist, painter and story teller. In 2011 I was given the role of National Spokesperson to GenerationOne, a national Organisation that is working towards ending the disparity between indigenous and non indigenous people in one generation, through employment, education and training.What's the one thing - piece of equipment, toy, security blanket, – you can't work without?
My Didgeridoo.What gets you fired up?
Ignorance.Who in the industry most inspires you?
Gurrumul.What in the industry do you despair about?
None.What is the best thing about your job?
Sharing Stories. What’s the worst?
The time away from my wife and 4 children.What are the top three skills you need in this industry?
Passion, belief and self determination.What advice would you give anyone looking to break into the field?
Don’t wait for it, go and get it.How do you know when you missed the mark?
It’s a feeling that I get sometimes.Which of the below phrases best suits your career development to date and why?
"No one can cheat you out of ultimate success but yourself." Definitely this, the only limitation is the one we place on ourselves.