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Open new studio spaces, Monday, 24 May 1999, 10.00 am, National Aboriginal and Islander Skills Development Association

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The Hon Peter McGauran, MP

Minister for the Arts and the Centenary of Federation



National Aboriginal and Islander Skills Development Association

Open New Studio Spaces,

Monday, 24 May 1999, 10.00 am


Thank you Dianna.

Eora people, Charles Perkins, Colin Markham, Tanya Plibersek, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

It is a very great pleasure to be with you today for this double celebration.

The opening of these new studio spaces, and the 24th birthday of the National Aboriginal and Islander Skills Development Association.

When I look around this new space I understand why you are all so anxious to start using it.

I am told that it has already been given the 'thumbs up' by Paul Saliba, the principal dance teacher.

I think the architects have done a wonderful job in making this a functional and aesthetically pleasing space, while at the same time maintaining the heritage aspects.

I understand the rib-like design used here represents a poetic connection to the Eora people.

It acknowledges the permanent spirit of this place.

It is certainly one of the most atmospheric performance spaces I have ever been in.

I thank the Government of New South Wales for their contribution of this vault, and I congratulate architect Kevin O'Brien and his team for its sensitive transformation.

I'm sure you'll all agree that NAISDA present a magnificent 'event' when they perform.

And they now have a suitably impressive backdrop against which to present their performances.

Having seen the traditional dance this morning, I know that I am in the presence of some of the finest creative talent in the country.

NAISDA works to maintain the essence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island culture through first hand traditional studies - dance, crafts, language, music and experience of various community lifestyles.

It was the first performing arts and training institution to cater to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

And now, 24 years later, we are very proud of its achievements

It has been the source of some of Australia's best indigenous dancers, including Stephen Page, Frances Rings and Marilyn Miller.

And it was from here that the brilliant Bangarra Dance Company was conceived.

Today, NAISDA is the leading indigenous performing arts and training centre in this country.

It brings traditional and contemporary indigenous culture to the rest of Australia, and we are so much richer for it.

I am impressed by the way our national training centres are tackling the challenges they are faced with.

The NAISDA Board is no exception, and I congratulate them on seeking and finding corporate sponsorship.

In these changing times we need to look for opportunities to maximise funding alternatives.

And through innovative partnerships with businesses, communities and governments we will continue to produce artists who will enrich our cultural life.

Pursuing a professional career in the performing arts can be particularly challenging.

But at the same time it is a career that can offer rewards beyond the standard benchmarks of success.

There are not too many careers where you can make hearts soar, engender anguish or mirth, and build bridges across cultures.

And you students can go on to do this and more.

The Commonwealth Government is strongly committed to excellence in the arts.

And there is no doubt that NAISDA epitomises excellence.

Along with the National Institute for the Dramatic Arts, the Australian Film, Television and Radio School, and the Australian Academy of Music - NAISDA students receive the highest quality training.

You can't help but succeed with this sort of training and your own abilities.

And the government sees the funding for this wonderful new space, and its ongoing support for NAISDA, as a sound investment in the future.

I wish you a very happy birthday and officially declare this new studio space open.

Thank you.



jy  1999-08-25  14:01