Exhibition News

Rio Tinto working with the AGWA (April 2011)

Published Monday, April 4, 2011

Rio Tinto and the Art Gallery of Western Australia have announced a new 18-month partnership to highlight the rich culture of the Indigenous peoples of the Kimberley.
The $250,000 collaboration will support the exploration of the important custodial narratives and traditions often seen in Kimberley art, with an objective of developing a significant visual arts project.

The project will initially focus on comprehensive regional consultation and research with Indigenous communities across the Kimberly region Dr Stefano Carboni, Director of the Art Gallery of WA, said that he was delighted with this exciting opportunity for the Gallery to further develop relationships with Indigenous communities through the support of Rio Tinto.Having Rio Tinto embrace the possibilities of this vision enables us to spend critical time working closely with communities, learning more about their cultures and aspirations and finding new ways we can engage with the community on this exciting project,said Dr Carboni.I am particularly pleased to gain this valuable support for a project that is quite unique in enabling its purpose to be defined by the Indigenous communities who chose to participate, rather than being driven by the Gallery. Sam Walsh AO, chief executive Iron Ore and Australia, said Rio Tinto was proud to be involved with a project of this integrity that advocated an open versus a prescriptive approach.This is an excellent opportunity to support Aboriginal communities across the Kimberley working with our State’s leading visual arts institution to create something new and relevant to the communities’ own cultural aspirations,said Mr Walsh.

The Gallery's Curator of Indigenous Art, Mr Glenn Iseger-Pilkington, will coordinate the project. Mr Iseger-Pilkington said initial discussions would be held with key Kimberley Indigenous art centres and regional stakeholders to look at the objectives and aims for phase one of the project.The Kimberley has an established and successful network of arts centres experienced in working with celebrated artists, and we hope these same communities will want to engage with us in developing this exciting project,said Mr Iseger-Pilkington.We envisage that our cultural network with Indigenous communities, regional, government and local organisations will be greatly enriched as a result of this engagement.

This dialogue phase of the project is likely to focus on cultural mapping and stories, and an exchange of cultural and community knowledge, providing a solid grounding to move from consultation to implementation. The new partnership is the latest supported by the Rio Tinto WA Future Fund. Now in its tenth year, the Fund has invested more than $35 million over this time to build a stronger, more sustainable Western Australian community.

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