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Open The Rainbow Serpent-Desert Art Place new gallery and exhibition at Fox Studios, Desart, Thursday, 11 November 1999, 7.15 pm.

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The Hon Peter McGauran, MP

Minister for the Arts and the Centenary of Federation




Open The Rainbow Serpent-Desert Art Place new gallery and exhibition at Fox Studios

Thursday, 11 November 1999  


Thank you Caroline.

Audrey Napananga (nap-an-unga) Martin, Chris Lugg MLA, Desart executive board members, traditional elders, artists, Dr Jean Battersby, special guests, ladies and gentlemen.

It is indeed a great pleasure to be here this evening and I'm sorry if I've kept you waiting.

What a magnificent place.

Looking around this room is quite simply inspiring.

The Rainbow Serpent-Desert Art Place is a tribute to the artists, the Rainbow Serpent and Desart - what a collaboration!

If only more partnerships could be this successful.

But then not all partnerships are blessed with members who have a shared passion, dedication and commitment.

This is the result of an enormous amount of hard work.

Hard work that is taking place in some of the most remote centres of Australia.

Desart is making it happen.

Through a network of art centres, they provide not just a framework for artistic professionalism and economic empowerment - but a mechanism for Aboriginal identity to be further defined and celebrated.

I commend them for their work and encourage the collective efforts of artists, art centres and Desart to maintain this drive for sustainability.

Close to 3,000 Aboriginal artists comprise and enrich the network of Desart art centres.

And we see here tonight a small sample of their artistic treasures.

These are presented through the unique business partnership between Desart and the Rainbow Serpent Gallery.

For eight years the Rainbow Serpent has been working for the development of the Aboriginal arts industry as a whole.

They, like many in this industry, have provided invaluable assistance to emerging Aboriginal artists and art centres throughout the country with exhibitions, sales and by developing licenced products.

And here we have the latest achievement.

Desert's priority is the industry it serves - which is the sort of partnerships we are keen to encourage.

It empowers artists and allows them to directly market their work to a much wider audience.

The Federal Government supports such excellence in the arts - without hesitation.

It is absolutely critical that as a society we soar to the greatest heights.

The arts stimulate our imagination, which helps us be creative in all our pursuits, both business and pleasure.

The arts enrich our world and all who are here tonight will agree the creative contribution of indigenous artists has made an indelible and enduring impression.

The arts allow us to question ourselves and to push out the boundaries, which in turn encourages understanding and tolerance.

Perhaps just as importantly art can build bridges.

It has an immense capacity to heal, to teach, to bring joy, to release sorrow and to captivate.

And for indigenous peoples it is often an expression of so much more.

It is something to be cherished and nurtured.

Something that non-indigenous peoples are invited to share - for which we are very grateful.

The Keringke (kar-in-ka) arts and Kaltjiti (kal-chitty) arts on display here are nothing short of extraordinary.

I'm very pleased that through the Australia Council we have also provided support for the production of the Keringke (kar-in-ka) book which I'm delighted to officially launch here this evening.

It provides a great insight into the intricate work of the artists across a variety of mediums and will provide a lasting record of a significant period in these communities creative development.

I am certain this venue and this partnership will provide further unique opportunities to recognise the rich and diverse contribution of central Australian indigenous artists.

In addition to exploring this exhibition, I encourage you to dive deeper into this impressive volume.

In closing, I congratulate everyone involved in making this art place a reality.

You deserve to be very proud of what you have achieved.

Without further ado, I declare the Rainbow Serpent-Desert Art Place and the designs exhibition officially open.

Thank you.



jy  1999-11-15  11:30