With the end of the year approaching, it is a time for reflecting and planning. ANTaR ACT has started to think about the next steps, and how to build on the momentum of 2023, the support and awareness from the referendum, even as the result was not what we sought.
First though, a different focus – how you can support First Nations people and communities when buying presents for the festive season. There is also a significant new exhibition opening at the National Gallery of Australia, ready for visitors over the summer break.
Emily Kam Kngwarray
2 Dec 2023 – 28 Apr 2024 | Ticketed
The National Gallery’s major exhibition on the life and art of Emily Kam Kngwarray brings together important works of Kngwarray’s career, from early vibrant batiks to her later monumental paintings. For more information and bookings, see: Emily Kam Kngwarray – NGA.
AIATSIS Indigenous Art Market
The AIATSIS Indigenous Art Market is the largest Indigenous art market in the Canberra region and it has also become a popular online event, showcasing a diverse range of paintings, textiles, sculptures and much more. Importantly, 100 per cent of sales from the art market goes back to Indigenous art centres, artists and their communities.
You can attend the art market in person on the lawns outside the Maraga building at 51 Lawson Cres Acton, in the heart of Canberra, from 8-10 December and also purchase online from 8-17 December. For more information, see: Indigenous Art Market 2023 | AIATSIS.
Xmas gift ideas
Here are some ideas for how you can find great presents and support First Nations people and communities at the same time.
Consider buying from organisations that provide direct support.
- For example, www.bushbalm.com.au has bush balm from the Purple Truck, which is an Indigenous-owned and operated health service based in Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, that operates mobile dialysis machines.
- The Torch (thetorch.org.au) sells art created by incarcerated First Nations people in Victorian prisons.
Look for signs organisations have ethical practices and that First Nations people are being properly paid and acknowledged. For example, a good sign is if they are members of the Aboriginal Art Association of Australia, (www.aboriginalart.org.au) or Indigenous Art Code (indigenousartcode.org).
A number of online marketplaces sell merchandise, clothing, jewellery and art from First Nations people from various communities. Marketplaces include:
Institutions like the National Museum of Australia, AIATSIS, National Gallery of Australia, and National Library have a range of gifts, including children’s books, kitchen ware, and jewellery.
Or, you might consider buying directly from one of the approximately 150 Art Centres (most of which are in remote and very remote parts of Australia) that support arts and cultural practice, and much-needed independent sources of income. You can do so through attending art fairs in person or online – including the AIATSIS Art Market in December, or via their websites.
To get you started, some to look at are:
- Juluwarlu, in Roeburne, Western Australia juluwarluartgroup.com.au
- Tjanpi Desert Weavers from the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY) lands of the remote Central and Western desert regions of South Australia, Northern Territory and Western Australia tjanpi.com.au
- Warlukurlangu, in Yuenduu, Northern Territory warlu.com
- Waralungku Arts in Borroloola. NT waralungku.com
- Injalak Arts Centre in Gunbalanya, NT injalak.com
- Baluk Arts in Mt Eliza, Victoria balukarts.org.au
- Iltja Ntjarra in Alice Springs, NT: Aboriginal Art Gallery in Alice Springs – Watercolour Paintings (manyhandsart.com.au)
- Umi Arts, which supports a number of art centres and artists in far North Queensland umiarts.com.au
Finally, if reading is more your thing, you might like something from:
- Magabala books magabala.com
- Aboriginal Studies Press at AIATSIS (Aboriginal Studies Press | AIATSIS)
- The ANTAR shop has a range of books for adults and children (Shop — ANTAR)
- Or maybe a pack of 8 recently-published classics from Queensland University Press: www.uqp.com.au/books/pack-of-eight-first-nations-classics
ANTAR ACT in 2024
Next year we will be focussing on engaging with all parties in the lead up to the ACT election, seeking commitments to strengthening Indigenous voices in Canberra and improving the appalling situation of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the ACT. The socio-economic and related outcomes for First Nations people here are not acceptable. We ask you to join with us to continue to advocate for justice, rights and respect for First Nations people.
We will next meet on Monday 11 December at 6pm, a shortened meeting on Zoom followed by an in person dinner for those able to join. If you would like to join us, or want to be involved with planning and actions next year, please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finding Your Heart story boards for schools
As part of the referendum campaign, ANTaR National produced a series of story boards (following those from a parents group in Victoria) based on the children’s book ‘Finding Your Heart’ by Thomas Mayo. Focussed on the Uluru Statement from the Heart, the story boards cover Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture generally – still relevant even after the referendum and they have been displayed in several schools recently, as shown here. ANTAR ACT has one set of the 21 story board available to loan to any interested schools or preschools. Please contact us via email@example.com if you would like more information or to arrange to borrow these.
We hope you and your loved ones stay safe and well during the festive season.
ANTaR ACT wish to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which Canberra is situated, the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people. We wish to acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region. We would also like to acknowledge other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who may visit this area.