WE HAVE RE-NAMED OUR SITE TO APYNEWS.COM.AU TO ALLOW US TO COVER THE WHOLE OF THE APY LANDS.
Iwantja Arts is the beating heart of Indulkana Community, offering its artist members opportunities for artistic and professional development as well as sustainable income and economic independence. Iwantja Arts is a not for profit, Aboriginal owned and run corporation managed by a board of directors. Through strong governance, the art centre encourages and fosters artistic excellence and cultural development within the community by providing opportunities, training, and career development for artists.
“I started this place a long time ago, with my sister, she’s passed away now. We knew the community needed an Art Centre. A place where Anangu could work, make money, teach our young people, and keep our culture strong. I’m still working, still painting – I’ve been working here a long time. I can’t do this forever though, I might be finished soon. We need to make sure that this place is really strong for our grandkids, it’s their turn next. The art centre has to be ready – ready for our future.”
MR.ALEC BAKER – FOUNDING DIRECTOR, IWANTJA ARTS
Regarded as one of the premier Indigenous owned and governed art centres in Australia, Iwantja Arts is renowned for its innovative projects that celebrate Anangu cultural strength and artistic excellence. Iwantja Arts is the community’s cultural and creative hub, with older people passing on traditional knowledge to young people every day. Iwantja Arts was founded in the early 1980s (dec.) and was set up in an old Community Centre within the tiny Indulkana Community. Iwantja Arts continues to operate from this building today and while the Iwantja Arts business has grown steadily over the years, the art centre building is currently in an unfortunate state of disrepair. Today the art centre continues to support innovative studio artists working across a variety of mediums, encompassing both individual and collaborative contemporary arts practice. Artworks from Iwantja Arts are held in many private and public collections throughout Australia and internationally.
The APY Art Centre Collective is a group of 10 Indigenous owned and governed enterprises.The Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands (APY Lands) seven art centres operate in the APY Lands, they facilitate and market the work of 500+ Anangu Artists with a united vision and voice on strategic business initiatives and collaborative artistic projects. Our vision is to increase capacity for APY art centres and support their important work in APY communities, through:
1) Creating and exploring new markets;
2) Increasing art centre income and supporting business development; and
3) Supporting innovative collaborative regional artistic projects, including the industry acclaimed Kulata Tjuta project, and the APY Photography initiative.
Art centres are powerful places, and vital to community. They are professional art making studios where culture is celebrated, maintained, and carefully instructed to younger generations by Aboriginal elders. These art centres are home to some of the best-known and most collectable Indigenous artists in the country, as well as a host of young and emerging artists. The art centres of the APY Lands are unique by way of their prestigious position within the Indigenous art industry, and their commitment to collaborate across the region on large-scale artistic projects and events.
We know the Indigenous art industry can be a tough space to navigate for collectors, art lovers, tourists and the general public. Sometimes people who want to make a well-intentioned contribution to social challenges in our communities look to the purchase of art as the vehicle of their contribution. Without access to reliable information about industry regulations and how the two prevalent business models function, sometimes these people have been disappointed, discovering too late that they have supported an unethical model. Here you can learn about the differences between the two business models and understand why buying artwork from art centres is the best way to guarantee you are supporting an ethical business that returns income to APY artists and the art centres we own – to the benefit of our families and the whole community.
APY ART CENTRE MODEL VERSUS PRIVATE DEALERS: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
Through our connections at Iwantja Arts and the APY Collective we were honoured to be invited the exhibition of Jimmy Pompey, a well renowned Indigenous artist from Indulkana. Richard and his wife Cheryl, purchased a piece of Jimmy’s from this sold out show. It was distressing to hear that Jimmy was not able to attend his exhibition due to health reasons. This led me to investigate the issue of kidney disease and the difficulties that arise for remote Indigenous communities access to health services. It was here that I became aware of the fundraising efforts by Zibeon Fielding on behalf of Purple House. We were able to respond to this straight away through making a donation of very much needed funds for a dialysis machine to be used by the community of Indulkana.
It is with great sadness that we devote this issue of our Newsletter to Jimmy Pompey and his family, friends and community.
Providing dialysis in the most remote parts of Australia
This service that has been dedicated to bringing facilities to remote communities, in order to preserve a culture.
Remote Indigenous people in Central Australia are up to 30 times more likely to suffer from kidney disease. Families must move off their country and go to Alice Springs or Darwin for dialysis treatment. Communities are left without elder leadership, families are broken and culture is weakened. Patients suffer from isolation and depression, restricted by a dialysis machine for their foreseeable future.
Purple House is an innovative Indigenous-owned and run health service operating from its base in Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. Purple House is a home away from home for these Indigenous dialysis patients. Now operating 14 remote clinics and a mobile dialysis unit called the Purple Truck, Purple House is getting patients back home so that families and culture can remain strong. The centres are located in three different state governments, which means that the Purple House is dealing with three state governments and the federal government.
After 15 years of hard work, this year’s budget has buried in it, a measure that will make remote dialysis a dedicated Medicare item, providing $590 for each treatment.
Mr Wyatt – Minister for Indigenous Health said he knows just how difficult and debilitating dialysis can be, particularly for those who need to travel into regional centres to access treatment. “We’ve seen senior Aboriginal people make the decision to disengage from dialysis in regional hospitals and go back to country and die on country, this now changes that,” he said. Mr Wyatt said the expansion of remote and mobile dialysis treatment options will really help.
“I was in Darwin and I heard an Elder talk about living life and enjoying it fully until he had to go to Darwin and he said when he had to go to Royal Darwin Hospital he thought he was going to get a prescription and some tablets to return home,” Mr Wyatt said. “He said he never realised he would be married to a machine and would never return to country.”
On top of this injection of funding is the honour of Purple House being named the 2018 Telstra NT Business of the Year for providing a new model of care for dialysis patients in remote Central Australian communities. Chief Executive Sarah Brown said Purple House gave indigenous people with end-stage renal failure hope, by providing an in-community health service for people, who would otherwise have to move hundreds of kilometres from home.
“Families stay united, and traditional owners can look after their country,” she said. “We’re not just saving people, we’re saving a way of life.”
Purple House also took out the Telstra NT social change maker award. Telstra chief executive Andy Penn said Purple House had introduced a “game-changing model” to dialysis services nationally.
”Purple House has made a significant impact on the healthcare system, and on the lives of the population living in regional communities,” he said.
For further information or to learn how you can help please contact: www.purplehouse.org.au
“Can you imagine not being able to read a newspaper, a road sign or directions on a bottle of medication? Sadly, this is a reality faced by many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders living in remote communities today.” Karen Williams, OAM, Executive Director, ILF
The Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) is a national, not-for-profit charity focused on improving literacy levels in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Only 34% of Indigenous Year 5 students in very remote areas are at or above national minimum reading standards, compared to 95% for non-Indigenous students in major cities, according to the 2017 National Assessment Program for Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN). The situation is improving but there is still a long way to go and the challenges are immense.
Apart from the historical, health, social, and educational challenges, many remote communities don’t have many, if any, books. Most of the remote communities that the Indigenous Literacy Foundation work with report there are less than five books in family homes.
The ILF’s approach in raising literacy levels, is at a community level with supplying appropriate, quality books to organisations operating in remote communities.
“By reading the books with the parents in playgroup, the parents feel more confident about reading to their children when they get their copies to take home. They love them! Wonderful service! Great book choices!” Claire Levy, Child Health Nurse, South Australian Health, Amata in the APY Lands, South Australia
Help close the literacy gap
Your donation helps provide books and literacy programs to remote communities, where they are needed most.
The Australian Publishers Association, the Australian Booksellers Association, the Australian Society of Authors, and the Children’s Book Council of Australia support the ILF. Its team of ambassadors, volunteers and seven full-time staff get no government support to run their core programs, which give away tens of thousands of new books annually, run literacy projects and organise major fundraising events, including Indigenous Literacy Day.
Richard and I attended the launch of 9 Kriol children’s books at the Sydney Opera House on Indigenous Literacy Day!
We are happy to announce that the Australian Bureau of Meteorology now also uses the data from the weather station for the APY Lands. The BOM congratulated us on our innovation and use of modern technology while also recommending that we sign up to the UK site Weather Observation Website, this has been completed and means people from all over the world can access the weather for the APY Lands via apysky.com.au……from little things big things grow.
We have been contacted by the Prime Ministers Cabinet, in recognition of the work we are doing in the APY Lands.
We are building this relationship to be able to further our links in the community of Indulkana.
THE LAST FRONTIER?
During our trip in 2017 we were advised to go and visit the Opal Mining town of Mintabie.
We have since learnt that it has been recommended that Mintabie be closed.
We began to wonder why this would be the case and are intrigued by the concept that a town can be closed, we have never heard of this happening.
The Mintabie community consists of about 30 permanent residents, but the population can double at times throughout the year.It generates its own power, with access to mobile and internet services extremely limited. The town is connected to the Stuart Highway by a 33-kilometre dirt road, 1,100km north of Adelaide. “Mintabie is a very unique place, it’s the last frontier — I don’t think you’ll see another place like it in this country.”
The former South Australian Labor government announced Mintabie, in the state’s far north-west, would close next year but the new Liberal government is yet to decide if it will follow through. An independent review, which was publicly released earlier this year, raised serious concerns about criminal activities in the town.
In the month of December 2017 alone, the report stated there were “reports of an arson attack which destroyed a house, a woman being imprisoned in her house and sexually assaulted, verbal threats towards store owners, three cars being set alight, a deliberately lit grass fire near the school, a break-and-enter at the school, numerous residential property break-ins, ‘hooning’ and drug dealing”. Both the report and residents said these matters were brought to police attention. While only visisted for a cold drink and a look around, we certainly felt very welcomed by the locals. They were happy to show us around and have a chat about what bought them to Mintabie. While many came to Mintabie chasing the dream of finding their fortune in the opal mines, others came here for the solitude that the town offered them. Mintabie’s opal is considered by the industry as some of the finest in Australia.
The report’s 14 recommendations — which included the option to close the town and hand control back to Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands — were adopted in full by the former South Australian Government. Mintabie and its adjacent opal field fall within APY territory, but have been leased to the South Australian Government since the early 1980s. All residents and business owners must hold a licence from the government in order to live, mine and operate their business in Mintabie. The licences are issued on a 12-month rolling basis.
The report urged the town to be remediated and handed back to the independent body in charge of managing the APY Lands. Remediation of the town is expected to cost between $2-$3 million. The report doesn’t guarantee locals or businesses compensation for the town closure. The new government is undecided if it will move ahead with these recommendations. A decision on Mintabie’s future will fall to Premier and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Steven Marshall and Minister for Mining and Energy Dan van Holst Pellekaan. Mr van Holst Pellekaan said he was still considering whether to overturn the previous government’s decision. “I’m very happy to be involved in finding a very good resolution for everyone involved,” he said.
Thank you to each and everyone of you for your interest in what is happening in the APY Lands, it is a dynamic region with people who are innovative and possess the grit you need to thrive in this environment.