State Finalist Senior Australian of the Year 2012
Artist and Writer
When Rod Moss arrived in Alice Springs in 1984 as an idealistic young art teacher, he met a married couple who had set up camp in the gully beside his flat. Over the next 25 years the friendship blossomed and Rod came to know the families of Whitegate, an Arrernte camp on the outskirts of town. The textures and sounds of Arrernte culture and the colours of the desert fired his art and shaped his favoured genre – realism. Over the years Rod has won major art prizes and his work has been exhibited and collected extensively, both nationally and internationally. But it was his debut non-fiction account of life in the Centre, The Hard Light of Day, which chronicles in words and images the reality of the day-to-day lives of many Aboriginal Australians that has brought him widespread acclaim. The story of his friendship with the Arrernte, the traditional owners of Alice Springs, exposes the endemic violence, alcoholism and chronic ill health that continues to devastate Aboriginal lives but it also celebrates the transformative power of trust and friendship. In 2011, the book won the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for a work of non-fiction.