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National Gallery of Australia Celebrates NAIDOC Week and Announces Focused Future for Indigenous Arts

CANBERRA.- As part of NAIDOC Week 2009 the National Gallery of Australia has launched several immediate and long-term initiatives.

The new Senior Curator of Indigenous Art, Franchesca Cubillo, commenced at a time of focus on Australian Indigenous art with the opening of 10 new Indigenous galleries in winter next year.

In addition, the Gallery’s inaugural National Indigenous Art Triennial: Culture Warriors will be travelling to Washington DC in September this year as part of the Department of Foreign Affairs Australian culture promotion, Australia Presents. Curated by the National Gallery of Australia, Culture Warriors is the largest and most diverse exhibition of Australian Indigenous art to travel to the USA.

Culture Warriors, in partnership with National Indigenous Television (NITV) and James Marshall, has also been the subject of a documentary based on interviews with the artists featured in the exhibition. This landmark documentation of Indigenous artists in Australia will premier on NITV on Sunday 12 July and is invaluable to the story of Australian Indigenous creativity.

“It’s a very exciting time to be joining the team at the National Gallery of Australia. I have worked closely with them throughout my career on Indigenous exhibitions and the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Islander art awards. The success of Culture Warriors and the development of the 10 new Indigenous galleries is a testament to the Gallery’s focus on Indigenous arts and I am extremely proud to say that I will be able to make a contribution to the Indigenous arts program at the Gallery”, said National Gallery of Australia Senior Curator of Indigenous Arts, Franchesca Cubillo.

As part of the Gallery’s celebration of the NAIDOC Week 2009 theme, Honouring Our Elders, Nurturing Our Youth, eight traditional Indigenous textile artists have travelled to the National Gallery to join in the festivities and share their favourite traditions of mukata or beanie making, spinning, and cooking kangaroo tail and damper.

The Pitjantjatjara ladies from the Ernabella community in the Northern Territory are hot off the heels of their trip to Alice Springs where they have been busy crocheting and preparing mukata for the Alice Springs Beanie Festival.

The Gallery in partnership with Wesfarmers, through its Wesfarmers Arts program, has also announced an unprecedented Fellowship program. The National Gallery of Australia & Wesfarmers Arts National Indigenous Fellowship will run over a five year period from 2009 to 2014 and has been created to initiate a program of long-term development, training and mentorship of Indigenous people within the visual arts sector. The Fellowship addresses the shortage of Indigenous professionals in leadership roles within the visual arts sector and will seek to nurture and develop the visual arts expertise of four Indigenous Fellows and up to 28 Indigenous Associate Fellows.

The National Gallery of Australia and Wesfarmers Arts have secured the consultancy services of Aden Ridgeway of Cox Inall Ridgeway to undertake an Australia-wide consultation process. Cox Inall Ridgeway will examine the Indigenous arts landscape and develop a fellowship report advising on the Fellowship program and addressing the employment opportunities for Indigenous people in the arts and culture sector.

National Gallery of Australia | Franchesca Cubillo | James Marshall | Telstra National Aboriginal | Torres Islander | NITV |

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