Vale Norm Jurrawaa Stanley, Kurnai / Wotjabaluk musician, artist and storyteller

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Vale Norm Jurrawaa Stanley, Kurnai / Wotjabaluk musician, artist and storyteller

Image Credit: Leiko Manalang, Platform ARts
Words by Staff Writer

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander’s are advised that this article contains images and references of a deceased person.

On 15 May 2024, beloved Wadawurrung Country community member, educator, leader and artist, Norm Stanley lost his battle with cancer.

Diagnosed with stage four kidney cancer just days before Christmas and a month after marrying his long-time partner and co-owner of Wurri – ki Art and Wurri – ki Culture, Wadawurrung woman Nikki Stanley (formerly McKenzie), Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation announced Stanley’s passing on Thursday morning.

The announcement read,

“We acknowledge the pain and sadness felt by our First Nations community and the wider community, with the passing of Norm Stanley. We recognize Norm’s huge contribution to Ceremonies, Art, Education and Culture. We say Nyatne (thank you) for everything he did with Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation, where he was always well respected and valued – he will be dearly missed. We send our condolences, love and support to Wadawurrung Woman Nikki Stanley and children, and to all Norm’s family and the community.”

Long-time friend and collaborator, Xavier Rudd also posted a tribute to Norm Stanley on his Instagram this morning, acknowledging Stanley’s profound impact on the artist.


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A post shared by Xavier Rudd (@xavierruddofficial)

Leaving behind his wife and young family of five children, Stanley will be remembered both as a family man and as a generous contributor to the Wadawurrung community. Stanley regularly led Welcome To Country ceremonies and smoking ceremonies alongside Nikki Stanley for council and community arts events along with cultural training sessions for organisations and community groups.

Stanley’s artwork has shaped the Geelong surrounds, contributing work to the City of Greater Geelong NBN Box Art Project and undertaking wall murals in Labuan Square as part of Platform Arts YOOKAPA program, Chilwell Primary School and Geelong Grammar. Last year Norm and Nikki Stanley also presented their first major solo arts exhibition, Keepers Of The Flame, at Platform Arts, sharing works that represent their ancestry and story.

Norm Stanley was also an advocate and educator for First Nations people, running cultural programs in schools, and was last year awarded the 2023 LIMElight Award for Excellence in Community Engagement through Deakin University.

A fundraiser was setup for the family when news of Norm Stanley’s diagnosis first came to light and is still active to help Nikki Stanley and her children as they navigate this difficult time.

Contributions can be made here. Vale Norm Jurrawaa Stanley.