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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

25 January 2001

Travelling art takes Indigenous heritage to the nation


A unique art exhibition, celebrating the importance of Indigenous heritage places throughout Australia, opens in Adelaide today as part of a national tour.

Environment and Heritage Minister Robert Hill will open the exhibition of Indigenous artists at the Tandanya Aboriginal Cultural Institute tonight. The exhibition features works that were selected from entries in the Fifth National Indigenous Heritage Art Award the Art of Place, sponsored by the Australian Heritage Commission.

"This art show is a celebration of Indigenous heritage places throughout Australia," Senator Hill said.

"It aims to promote wider public appreciation and understanding of Indigenous heritage places in urban and remote areas, with scenes ranging from the River Murray to the sand hills of the Gibson Desert.

"The travelling exhibition is an innovative way of showing heritage places of which many Australians may be unaware. With the range of materials used in the artworks ( from traditional woven baskets and bark paintings to aspects of modern culture such as a light box, a rowing boat and even coca-cola cans ( artists have conveyed their own interpretations of heritage places special to them.

"Artworks are accompanied by written statements contributed by the artists, explaining what each place means to them and their culture. This gives an invaluable insight into Australia's unique Indigenous culture."

South Australia was well represented in the Award, judges awarding joint runners-up prizes to Linda Syddick Napaltjarri and Ian Abdulla. Their work is featured in the exhibition.

For the first time the current Award created a reconciliation category which enabled non-Indigenous artists, working in partnership with Indigenous artists, to enter.

"This year the popular People's Choice Award was won by Mildura-based Indigenous artist Lance Atkinson and Melbourne based artist Walter Magilton for their depiction of the Murray River at Echuca before white settlement," Senator Hill said.

Votes for the People's Choice Award were cast by visitors to the Art of Place exhibition while it was on display at Old Parliament House in Canberra from August to December 2000.

Senator Hill thanked all the participating artists for sharing their culture, vision and talent.

"The scenes of these heritage places and their stories leave those who view the exhibition with an indelible impression about the breadth of Australia's heritage places," he said.

The travelling exhibition, sponsored by Visions Australia and the Australia Council for the Arts, will be on display at the Tandanya Aboriginal Cultural Institute from 25 January to 9 March as part of the national tour.

Future venues are State Library of NSW, Sydney (10 April - 27 May), Araluen Centre for Arts and Entertainment, Alice Springs (2 June - 15 July) and John Curtin University Art Gallery (26 July - 5 September).

January 25, 2001

For more information contact:

Belinda Huppatz, Senator Hill's office, 08 82377290 or 0419 258364
Sharon Phillips, AHC (02) 6274 2170

Commonwealth of Australia