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TarraWarra Museum of Art appoints Stacie Piper as First Peoples Curator for Yalingwa
Inaugural Yalingwa Fellow Destiny Deacon at opening event for A Lightness of Spirit is the Measure of Happiness, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne 2018. Photograph: Jacqui Shelton.

MELBOURNE.- TarraWarra Museum of Art has appointed Wurundjeri and Dja Dja Wurrung woman and current Victorian NAIDOC Committee Chairperson Stacie Piper as First Peoples Curator.

The position forms part of Yalingwa, a major First Peoples visual arts initiative, backed by a partnership between the Victorian Government, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) and TarraWarra Museum of Art.

With a primary focus on South East Australian artists, Yalingwa encompasses major exhibitions, curatorial positions and artist fellowships. It was behind the successful exhibition A Lightness of Spirit is the Measure of Happiness, presented at ACCA in 2018 and curated by inaugural Yalingwa curator Hannah Presley; and last year saw the first Yalingwa Fellowship awarded to esteemed artist Destiny Deacon.

Working with TarraWarra Museum of Art, Ms Piper will conceive, curate and realise a major exhibition of First Peoples art, set to open at the Museum in 2021.

Ms Piper most recently held the position of Project Officer and Curator for Museums Victoria, where she was accountable for engaging with the Victorian First Peoples community and developing a program of exhibitions and events including Ganbu Yalingbu, Ngulu-Bulok ‘One Day, Many Voices’, an exhibition marking the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum; Marramb-ik ‘I Am’, honouring the late Lin Onus along with four Victorian artists of comic and cosplay pop culture; Because Of Her We Can, aligned with NAIDOC Week 2018 and dedicated to women who were instrumental in establishing the health, education and housing services of Victoria; and, Silent Witness: A Window To The Past, featuring photographs of scar trees by Uncle Jim Berg, Senior Gunditjmara Elder.

Martin Foley, Minister for Creative Industries, said, ‘Yalingwa is about significantly raising the profile of First Peoples art in Victoria, especially by South East Australian artists. It’s also about providing significant new, career-boosting opportunities to both curators and artists.’

‘Congratulations to Stacie who will build on her experience and expertise to date to curate a landmark exhibition of First Peoples art at TarraWarra in 2021.’

Victoria Lynn, Director, TarraWarra Museum of Art said, ‘The depth and breadth of the Yalingwa initiative is visionary, supporting the creating, curating and exhibiting of First Peoples arts in Victoria. We are thrilled to welcome Stacie on board and look forward to working with her to realise an ambitious exhibition of South East Australian First Peoples art’.

Concurrently, the Museum has opened expressions of interest for the 2019 Yalingwa Fellowship, a one-year visual artist fellowship intended to invest in the career development of artists who have made an outstanding contribution to creative practice in the First Peoples arts community and are at a critical moment in their career.

The Fellowship will be presented in recognition of the above as well as the artist’s contribution to the community, taking into account the achievement and quality of recent and past work.

The Fellow will be awarded an untied cash grant of $60,000. The Fellowship can be used for the experimentation and development of new work, research, professional travel or to consolidate the artist’s practice or studio space, among other priorities. The Fellow will also have the opportunity to build a strong relationship with the First Peoples Curator and TarraWarra Museum of Art.

The Fellowship is open to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander visual artists who live and work in Victoria. Artists working across all disciplines of visual arts practice are welcomed. The Fellowship will be awarded through an assessment of the expressions of interest by a selection panel comprising members of the Yalingwa Advisory Group and representatives from ACCA, TarraWarra Museum of Art and Creative Victoria.

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