New Indigenous Art Initiative To Shine A Light On First Nations Art

A major biennial exhibition, new Indigenous arts fellowships and support for curatorial positions are at the heart of a ground-breaking six-year Indigenous arts initiative announced today.

Yalingwa, a Woiwurrung word that means both ‘day’ and ‘light’, is a new Andrews Labor Government program that will be delivered in partnership with the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) and the Tarrawarra Museum of Art in the Yarra Valley.

On a rotating biennial cycle, each gallery will develop and host a major exhibition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, with a focus on the art of South Eastern Australia. The exhibitions will focus on new commissions by contemporary Indigenous artists, with the first to be hosted by ACCA in mid-2018.

An Indigenous curator will be employed by each institution for a two year period to develop and deliver the exhibition, build skills that will set the foundation for their career and bring new knowledge to the participating gallery.

In between exhibitions, a Yalingwa Fellowship will be offered to a Victorian-based Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander artist to develop their practice. The $60,000 Fellowship will enable an artist to develop new work and build their skills.

The Yalingwa initiative has been developed in collaboration with Victoria’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts sector. It will be overseen by an Advisory Committee that will bring together Aboriginal community and cultural leaders who will act as advisors, ambassadors and mentors, together with gallery representatives.

Supporting Aboriginal creative practitioners to build their careers, raising the profile of Victorian Aboriginal arts and culture and deepening public engagement are key aims of the Labor Government’s Creative State strategy.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Natalie Hutchins

“Yalingwa will shine a light on some of the nation’s best Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art while opening up major new career opportunities for Aboriginal artists and curators in this state.”

“This is a ground-breaking, collaborative model that will take our Aboriginal visual arts sector to a new level.”