Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

New arts centre to be built on APY Lands

Joint Media Release with:

  • Jay Weatherill MP, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconcilation

A new arts centre will be built on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands – to create jobs for locals and help meet an increasing national and international demand for APY art.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin and South Australian Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Minister Jay Weatherill were in Amata today to announce the construction of the Tjala Arts Centre with $730,000 in funding from the Australian and State Governments.

Ms Macklin said the centre – which will replace an old, inadequate building – would increase the community’s capacity to produce artwork.

“Since 2001, the Tjala Arts Centre has grown by almost 100 per cent as a result of an increase in art sales,” Ms Macklin said.

“This in turn makes a huge contribution to the economy of the community.”

“Many artists working at the centre have achieved national and international reputations and the centre is now recognised as a provider of high quality work.”

The new centre will be bigger than the existing structure, with air conditioning and dust control, outdoor working areas and disability access. It will give established artists the space and scope to work and emerging artists the chance to learn skills and build their talent.

The new centre is expected to be finished by the end of 2009. Other programs for the whole community will be run from the centre focussing on health and nutrition, finance and money management, the environment and social and emotional wellbeing.

South Australian Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Minister Jay Weatherill said the centre was a great example of APY Lands community enterprise.

“People living in remote communities face unique challenges and we need to do what we can to help them support themselves,” Mr Weatherill said.

“A new arts centre will give the Amata community the scope and opportunity it needs to maintain and even increase the positive momentum it has gained through its production of a range of art works.”

“I am sure there will be many art enthusiasts in Australia and overseas who will also be happy to hear more APY art work will be soon on the market.”