Australian Indigenous arts workers awarded unique residency program

Art Press Release from Australia. Published by Rebecca Gabrielle Cannon on Tuesday 17 May 2011.

Rachel Piercy. image

Sydney, Australia. Four young emerging Indigenous arts workers from New South Wales have been awarded a two-week, fully funded, intensive residency program at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, specifically tailored to address professional development needs in the NSW Aboriginal visual arts sector. This program, the first of its kind in NSW, will begin on 16 May 2011.

Hetti Perkins, Senior Curator Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, said she was pleased both the Federal and State Governments have supported and funded this new program and have recognised how beneficial this kind of internship and experience is to young Indigenous Australians from regional areas who have a passion for the arts.

The program is designed to integrate Koori or NSW Aboriginal concepts, perspectives and cultural practices within mainstream arts institutions. It was initiated to help increase the number of Indigenous Australians in professional roles in the visual arts in NSW to develop the next generation of Indigenous Australian leaders in the arts field.

The successful arts workers are Kylie McNamara (25), a curator at the Moree Plains Gallery, Tahjee Moar (19), a second year arts student at the University of New South Wales, Clive Freeman (28), a freelance curator and project officer from Illawarra, and Rachel Piercy (37), a Public Programs Officer at Manning Regional Art Gallery. The four successful applicants were chosen by Hetti Perkins, Jonathan Jones, curator, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander art, and Amanda Peacock, co-ordinator, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander art education programs, Art Gallery of NSW.

Stage 1 of the program, a fully funded, two-week intensive internship at the Gallery, will provide opportunities for the trainees to learn about every aspect of the NSW visual arts industry, including curatorial, conservation, installation, design, public programs and collection storage, and an introduction to the areas of copyright and arts law. Trainees will also visit artist studios and art auction houses

Stage 2 offers each trainee the opportunity to develop and deliver a community-based project at a visual arts organisation in their own region. Each trainee will be individually supported in the development and delivery of the program by an Indigenous mentor currently practising in the trainee’s area of professional interest.

This program is initiated by the Australian Government’s Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Office for the Arts and Arts NSW, as part of the National Arts and Craft Industry Support Professional Development Fund. The program will be administered by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Department, Art Gallery of NSW. The federal and state funding of $106,000 will be supplemented by contributions by the Gallery of $25,000.

Kylie McNamara, Tahjee Moar, Clive Freeman and Rachel Piercy will be at the Art Gallery of NSW from Monday 16 to Friday 27 May 2011.