SA to Host New Aboriginal Art Festival

The future of Aboriginal art as a high-end industry will be strengthened with the introduction of a new world-class visual art festival in South Australia.

The future of Aboriginal art as a high-end industry will be strengthened with the introduction of a new world-class visual art festival in South Australia.

Announced by Premier Jay Weatherill, the new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island visual arts festival will be held in spring 2015, supported by the State Government, Art Gallery of South Australia and a $4 million investment from BHP Billiton.

“Art is a significant contributor to the economy of Aboriginal communities,” Mr Weatherill said. “We want to strengthen the future of Aboriginal artwork in high-end arts.”

He said the Government is also committed to making South Australia the international hub for Aboriginal visual art.

“South Australia was a leader in the appreciation of Aboriginal art – we were the first to display work by an Aboriginal artist in a state art collection when in 1939 we acquired a work by Albert Namatjira. The South Australian Museum houses the biggest Aboriginal anthropological artefact collection. We want to strengthen our leadership in the appreciation of Aboriginal art by hosting a world-class festival.”

The winner of this year’s National Aboriginies and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) award and the Art Gallery’s first Aboriginal curator, Nici Cumpston, has been appointed the inaugural Artistic Director for the festival. The event will feature a series of exhibitions, a curated Aboriginal art fair with work by established APY Lands artists and other selected artists, as well as a national symposium bringing together collectors, exhibitors, academics and arts centres.

The new festival is one of a several activities supported by BHP Billiton as a result of its recommitment to South Australia.

“BHP Billiton is pleased to offer its support to this event as many of our Australian businesses operate on or near Aboriginal lands,” BHP Billiton Chief Executive Andrew Mackenzie said.

artgallery.sa.gov.au/agsa/home

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