Five Incredible First Nations Talents Become ILF Ambassadors!

Five Incredible First Nations Talents Become ILF Ambassadors!

The Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) is excited to announce singer Emma Donovan, actor Thomas Weatherall, artist Ryhia Dank, TV personality Bianca Hunt and musician DOBBY have joined as ILF Ambassadors!

These incredible Ambassadors will add to the talents of the current ILF Ambassadors; musicians Jessica Mauboy and Josh Pyke, authors Andy Griffiths, Dr Anita Heiss AM, Dr Deb Dank, Alison Lester, Richard Flannigan, Gregg Dreise, Dr Jared Thomas, David Lawrence, illustrator Ann James, actress Justine Clarke, photographer Wayne Quilliam, astrophysicist Kirsten Banks, and educator and presenter Shelley Ware.

Emma Donovan

Photo credit: Ian Laidlaw

Emma Donovan is a highly celebrated ARIA-nominated, award-winning Indigenous singer and songwriter who has been touring the country for over 20 years. 

On her mother’s side, Emma is part of the famed Donovan family of singers of the Gumbaynggirr people (NSW) . On her father’s side, Emma is of the Yamatji people (WA). 

“It’s very emotional for me to learn, speak and sing in my language,” says Emma. “I always think of my Mother; how she was upset that she couldn’t pass that on to me. Her Grandmother spoke Gumbaynggirr but she and my dad never spoke it fluently.”

“It means a lot that our Community continues to reclaim the language and share it with the world. I’m honoured to be playing a small part in that too by sharing songs in language to continue to empower our little ones’ minds.


“My children and all children need to have that opportunity.”

Emma has toured and recorded with the best in the Australian music scene including Paul Kelly, The Teskey Brothers, Yothu Yindi, Paul Grabowsky, Jen Cloher, Spinifex Gum and the late Uncle Archie Roach and Aunty Ruby Hunter.

“As a parent of two young children, I’m passionate about their education and the future of all our Indigenous children. We have so much to offer their bright futures and I would love to contribute to that in any way that I can; especially through my music.”

Thomas Weatherall

Thomas Weatherall is a Kamilaroi writer and actor. His debut play Blue premiered in 2023 at Belvoir Theatre as part of Sydney Festival in a sold-out and critically acclaimed world premiere season.

Thomas was inspired to join the ILF as an Ambassador because he truly values literacy and storytelling. 

He explains, “Knowing just how important literature and storytelling is to me, and being able to reflect on the profound impact it's had on my life, I’m hopeful I can encourage young Indigenous people to engage with writing at an early age, and hopefully help nurture this same love of storytelling that I’ve been so fortunate to discover.”

Thomas won both a Silver Logie and an AACTA Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Television Drama for his performance as Malakai in Netflix’s Heartbreak High Season 1. 

After making his professional acting debut in 2018 in ABC’s award-winning series Deadlock, Thomas began a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting at University of Technology (QUT). 

“Storytelling is not only an integral part of my life, but it’s an integral part of my cultural identity, and the history of this country. Providing young Indigenous people with the necessary resources to be able to form that same connection with storytelling and literature, is paramount in early development, both on a personal and educational front,” says Thomas. 


During his second year at QUT, Thomas joined the lead cast of Network Seven drama series RFDS and was subsequently named as one of Casting Guild Australia’s Rising Stars for 2020.

“I think a young person can really engage with material and literature in a meaningful way, if they can see a bit of their own experience or identity reflected in the work they consume.” 

“It is vital for young Indigenous people to be able to see a reflection of themselves in stories.”

Ryhia Dank 

Artist Ryhia Dank is a Gudanji/Wakaja woman (Barkly Tablelands, Northern Territory). 

You may recognise Ryhia by the name Nardurna

“My painting is storywork. Gudanji/Wakaja people told stories through pattern and design and that is what I am doing. I call my storying Nardurna. It means woman in my language,” she explains.

Ryhia’s identity is deeply rooted in her roles as a mother, partner, business owner, and creative individual. 

“I wanted to join ILF as an Ambassador as I have seen first-hand the reach and work that happens. Being from a remote community in the Northern Territory, I know there was a missed opportunity for people to access books before the ILF formation,” explains Ryhia. 

Ryhia’s connection to Country and family is a profound source of inspiration for her work and fuels her desire to preserve and nurture her relationship with the land.

“Art is a powerful storytelling medium, allowing me to visually convey narratives, emotions, and experiences. My artworks communicate stories of my Country, family and memories through imagery, iconography and colour.”


As an ILF Ambassador, Ryhia is inspired by Indigenous literacy and hopes to champion, “Community Empowerment and Ownership, Learning Materials and Accessibility of Books, Cultural Preservation and Celebration, and Continuous Education and Literacy Development.”

Bianca Hunt 

Bianca Hunt is a TV presenter, media personality and interviewer – her career spans sports, travel, fashion and music journalism.

Bianca says that “Literacy can mean many things but for myself it means job security, independence, freedom and the ability to walk in both worlds.”

Her 2023 appearance on I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! broadcast her charisma and wit to over half a million living rooms around Australia. During the show, Bianca chose the ILF as her charity of choice because she wanted to raise awareness about a cause that is important to her. 

“I love what the team does and I think I could be a valuable asset to the kids and communities they work with. ILF does incredible work and I am now lucky enough to be involved even more now!”

Bianca has also co-hosted NITV's Yokayi Footy and was a travel reporter for SBS's Going Places with Ernie Dingo. 

Bianca believes that “Access to education is important for our young people to be able to walk in both worlds. It gives them the tools and resources to navigate a world that was not built for them in mind."

A proud Kamilaroi, Barkindji, Ballardong and Whadjuk woman – Bianca's unique upbringing playing music, competing in AFL, and undertaking dance training, has gifted her with the ability to genuinely connect with almost anyone. 

With a passion for hearing other people's stories and for sharing her own, Bianca has dedicated her career to uplifting First Nations people and platforming women in media.

“When you educate one person, you educate many and encouraging passion to learn from a young age will ensure they fall in love with learning forever,” she says. 


Photo credit: Luke Currie-Richardson

DOBBY is a rapper, composer, producer and drummer. He proudly identifies as a Filipino and Aboriginal musician, whose family is from Murrawarri and Ngemba lands (Weilmoringle, Brewarrina NSW).

After joining the ILF as a Busking For Change Ambassador in 2023, the ILF could not be more excited to welcome him to our team as an Ambassador for all of our work. 

“I’m a big supporter of the work that ILF does in both strengthening literacy and normalising Indigenous languages in school books,” says DOBBY. 

He is a multi-instrumentalist who is increasingly being known for bouncing between piano, drums and drum pads, with his unique signature ‘drapping’ - rapping and drumming at the same time.

He has performed extensively locally including Parrtjima Festival (NT), BigSound  (QLD), OzAsia Festival (SA) and Sydney Opera House, and internationally in Germany, UK, USA and Netherlands, as well as recently performing alongside sister BARKAA for the 2021-22 New Year’s Eve Fireworks.

In 2020, DOBBY took out best video for I Can’t Breathe at the FBi SMAC Awards. I Can't Breathe has continued to remain the unofficial anthem of Australia’s Bla(c)k Lives Matter movement and used throughout schools in Australia as material alongside curriculum to assist in educating students.

“Our stories are incredibly important, both for our communities but also to better understand our relationship with Land, Sea, Sky and animals that inhabit this space alongside us. We are reawakening and documenting stories told for over tens of thousands of years, and each of these stories are invaluable,” he says. 


Recently, DOBBY composed all the soundscapes for Parrtjima 2021-22 (Alice Springs, NT), and composed the music behind Australia’s first 500-strong drones show (Elevate Sydney 2022-23).

“Music is an integral part of our Culture, and so naturally it is a very grounding way to engage and connect with culture and country. I’m proud and grateful to be able to use music in this way to learn and engage in Cultural knowledge.”

The ILF couldn’t be more honoured and excited to welcome these talents to our team.


For any media inquiries, please contact Jackie Evans ILF Publicist 

| | 0407 776 222 |

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Written by Ella Schofield

  • Posted 29 February, 2024

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