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Queensland Government funds First Nations arts and cultural projects

Queensland Government funds First Nations arts and cultural projects
June 30, 2021

The Queensland Government is delivering more than $207,000 to help fund arts and cultural projects in nine First Nations communities.

In announcing the latest round of funding for the Indigenous Regional Arts Development Fund (IRADF) 2020-2021, Queensland Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said funded projects were helping to share stories and culture through various arts forms, including visual arts, music and dance.

Minister Enoch advised “these nine projects will make a significant contribution in preserving and sharing the knowledge and cultures of Traditional Owners in Queensland and support employment opportunities for First Nations artists and arts workers.

“Supporting jobs is a key priority as we deliver our plan for economic recovery, and these projects are ensuring vibrant arts and cultural experiences, which are vital in truth-telling of our nation’s history, are shared in all areas of Queensland.”

Some funded projects include Doomadgee Aboriginal Shire Council’s Doomadgee's Deadly Sounds program, which is bringing together local youth to learn and play modern and traditional cultural musical instruments, and encourage people to compose their own music.

Legacies Living On, a large-scale exhibition of collaborative paintings created by local Lardil and Kaidildt artists, will honour the legacies of Mornington Island artists Goobalathaldin Dick Roughsey and Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori, and will be presented by NorthSite Contemporary Arts at Bulmba-ja in Cairns to coincide with Cairns Indigenous Art Fair later this year.

Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council will deliver From the Ground Up to help pass on traditional pottery practices and showcase the evolution of Yarrabah Pottery from the early 1970s to now.

Funding will also support the local Palm Island and Pormpuraaw communities’ participation in key annual Indigenous events. Pormpuraaw Aboriginal Shire Council will support a local group of more than 30 traditional dancers and singers to attend the Laura Quinkan Dance Festival in July 2021.

John Armstrong, Art Centre Manager at Mirndiyan Gununa Aboriginal Corporation, said the IRADF funding would be an important professional development opportunity for the artists involved.

“For artists working in very remote art centres it’s often difficult for them to see their works when they are presented in exhibitions. The eight artists in this major exhibition at NorthSite will be able to engage with viewers and other artists. These conversations will be a really important professional development opportunity.

“This will add to their understanding of the arts sector and their important place within it as visual storytellers who are making marvellous contemporary artworks grounded in age old Traditions.”

2020-2021 IRADF projects:

•Aurkun Shire Council - $25,000 for a women’s painting legacy program. Intensive workshops will be delivered by Gina Allain, an art therapy and arts development specialist, to strengthen women painters’ professional and artistic capabilities.

•Cherbourg Historical Precinct Group Inc - $25,000 for the Building Barambah Pottery initiative to provide ongoing technical skills training and mentoring for a core artist potter group as well as opportunities for youth and other community members to engage with pottery.

•Doomadgee Aboriginal Shire Council - $25,000 for Doomadgee Deadly Sounds. Local youth will create music and songs by learning to play a variety of musical instruments, including drums and guitar, combined with traditional cultural sounds and instruments.

•Mirndiyan Gununa Aboriginal Corporation - $35,600 for Legacies Living On, an exhibition of large scale collaborative paintings by Lardil artists and Kaidildt artists honouring Goobalathaldin Dick Roughsey and Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori. The project includes a catalogue and video documentation as well as artist panel discussions and other events.

•Napranum Aboriginal Shire Council - $25,000 for the Napranum Arts Blitz, a two-week intensive community capacity building program with industry professionals. The funding will also assist Napranum Shire Council to develop a business cases for a future Indigenous Art Centre.

•Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Council - $21,200 for NAIDOC Week and Leadership Group Workshops which will deliver performances, workshops and a community dinner during NAIDOC week in July 2021.

•Pormpuraaw Art & Culture Centre Inc - $9,650 for more than 30 traditional dancers and singers to attend the Laura Dance Festival in July 2021. Community elders will organise dancers from different clan groups, selecting song-lines to sing and demonstrating moves.

•Woorabinda Aboriginal Shire Council - $25,000 for six workshops in cultural dancing, canvas art and wooden artefacts. Each of the workshops will be hosted by a local artist and will include a targeted workshop for youth and a targeted workshop for Elders and community members

•Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council - $16,043 for From the Ground Up to showcase the evolution of Yarrabah Pottery from the early 1970s to the present, and pass on traditional knowledge.

For more information visit

Image courtesy of Pormpuraaw Art & Culture Centre

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