25 September 2023

Indigenous art officer in the picture

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A new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Officer is to be appointed to strengthen outreach and engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists in Canberra.

To be funded in next week’s ACT Budget, the new position will help address what the Minister for the Arts, Gordon Ramsay said was an “under-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists as recipients of local arts funding rounds and grant programs”.

“Canberra’s local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists produce impressive work across the full spectrum of practice, from painting, sculpture and photography to dance, theatre and writing,” Mr Ramsay said.

“Strengthening connections between these artists and the bodies that support the creation of original works will see more Aboriginal and Torres Strait artists secure the funding they need to work and create.”

He said $200,000 a year for the next four years would be allocated in the Budget to make Reconciliation Day an annual event, embedded in Canberra’s cultural calendar.

Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Rachel Stephen-Smith said the holiday was an important opportunity to learn more about Indigenous histories and cultures and to reflect on the importance of reconciliation and the contribution each person can make.

“Bringing Canberrans together each year to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures — the oldest living cultures on Earth — and to talk about the true history of our nation and region is a practical step we can take to continue the reconciliation journey in our community,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.

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