Inaugural Sinchi Indigenous Artist Awards open for entry

After 2 consecutive years of hosting the Sinchi photo competition for visual storytellers from around the world, Sinchi Foundation is shifting its focus to indigenous storytellers by giving them a platform to share their stories in their own voice and by their own aesthetic means.

Art and music illuminate our lives, enrich our emotional world and act as a tool for deep learning. This is especially prevalent within indigenous communities, where art & music are interconnected with culture and everyday life.  Today, a global movement of indigenous storytellers is forming in which many are using their art as an instrument for social change, and it’s time for us to listen. SIAA is focused on developing new audiences and raising awareness amongst the general public by recognising such indigenous artists & performers from around the world.

“Music and art can explain things in a different way than words can, people will be more open to get the message through music and art.” – Sandra Márjá West, Festival Director of Riddu Riddu and SIAA competition judge

Entry information:

The SIAA 2020 is exclusive to indigenous artists and sharing their stories, connection to culture and talent with the world. It is open to all forms of artistic expression including music, painting, written & spoken word, photography, dance & performance etc.

We welcome both traditional and contemporary submissions.

Applicants are invited to enter here, where they can upload different types of files (PDFs, links to media, jpg / png)  including captions. Submissions are free and there is no limit to the amount of entries per person.

Nominations of indigenous artists can be made via the website or directly via email to

Awards & Prizes:

The overall competition winner will receive a grant of 2000 euros from the Sinchi Fund for a cultural community project of their choice, an in-depth interview with an established media platform and promotion throughout our platforms.

10x commended entrants will be featured on a press release shared with global press and promoted throughout our platforms.

Competition Judges:

Josué Rivas: Josué Rivas (Mexica/Otomi) is a visual storyteller working at the intersection of art, journalism, and social justice. His work aims to challenge the mainstream narrative about Indigenous peoples, build awareness about issues affecting Native communities across Turtle Island, and be a visual messenger for those in the shadows of our society. He is a 2017 Magnum Foundation Photography and Social Justice Fellow, founder of the Standing Strong Project, co-founder of Natives Photograph and winner of the 2018 Sinchi photo competition and the FotoEvidence Book Award with World Press Photo.

Jerome Kavanagh: Grammy award winning featured soloist and Maori musical instrument specialist Jerome Kavanagh (Poutama) hails from the Mokai Patea, Maniapoto, Kahungunu tribes (Maori) and the Caomhanach clan (Irish). He was first introduced to the sound of Taonga Puoro at aged 16 by one of his aunties. A family owned Koauau (Maori cross blown flute) was the first instrument he recalls learning to play, but many more have followed. Maintaining his strong roots, Jerome has become part of a movement introducing Maori music, art and culture to the world.

Sandra Márjá West: Sandra Márjá West from Sápmi is the festival director of renowned international Indigenous festival Riddu Riđđu, which takes place every year in July in the coastal Sámi area of Gáivuotna. Riddu Riđđu welcomes Indigenous artists from all over the world to present their art and culture through a broad programme including concerts, workshops, seminars, films, book talks, art exhibitions, children’s festival and youth programme. Her education includes duodji (traditional Sámi handicraft), jewellery and a Bachelor’s degree in Russian language and culture.