The NSW Deputy Premier, The Hon, Troy Grant MP, Minister for Justice and Police, Minister for the Arts and Minister for Racing unveiled the Policy and said: 'I offer congratulations to the MCA in this demonstration of commitment to not only Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history but also to the future of contemporary art.’
The Policy launch follows 18 months of development by the MCA Indigenous Advisory Group Committee, chaired by MCA Board member Hetti Perkins, and key staff.
The Policy provides a framework for the Museum’s commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and artists and aligns this commitment with the broader mission and objectives of the Museum.
Professor Michael McDaniel a member of the MCA Indigenous Advisory Group said: 'I am delighted that the MCA is making its Indigenous commitment part of its ongoing core business. Rather than in is a separate Indigenous strategy, the Policy commits the MCA to including Indigenous work and targets across all internal strategies.’
MCA Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Programs, Keith Munro said: ‘The Policy brings Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander priorities to the forefront of all MCA business. It will help guide, shape and direct core activity with Indigenous people in mind.’
Through the Policy the MCA affirms its commitment to a set of key principles including; acknowledgment of the unique place, within Australia society and the Museum, of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the original Australians and ongoing custodians of Country; maintenance of a welcoming, respectful, culturally safe, and non-discriminatory workplace; development of a unique and outstanding collection of contemporary art by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists; ethical research practices founded on respect for Indigenous peoples’ inherent right to self-determination including the control and maintenance of their culture and heritage; development of cultural competency amongst MCA non-Indigenous staff; flexibility and innovation in developing and delivering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programs; and equitable targets and outcomes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment.
The Director of the MCA, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE said: 'It’s the MCA’s vision to take a leadership role in shaping an Australia that values contemporary work of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, this would not have been possible without the support of the MCA’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Program Partner Rio Tinto.’
'Through this Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy the MCA also sets out clear objectives for collection development, exhibition programming, commissions of new work by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island artists, the extension of learning and public programs with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, research activity and employment,’ she continued.
The Policy builds upon the MCA’s strong history of working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, artists and communities. Most recently the Museum commissioned major new works by artists Daniel Boyd and Jonathan Jones, and developed and presented the breathtaking exhibition of paintings Martu Art from the Far Western Desert, the centerpiece work of which, Kulya (2014), was acquired for the MCA Collection. Through its C3West program the MCA is currently working with Blacktown City Council and Urban Growth NSW on the series of Blacktown Native Institution artist camps. Whilst other recent programs have included artist led community workshops in La Perouse and western Sydney, elders morning tea events, professional development programs to arts professionals from the Pilbara in WA to regional NSW, and youth art careers workshops onsite at the MCA and also offsite to students from regional and remote schools in far western NSW (Menindee Central School), North West NSW (Boggabilla Central School) and South Western QLD (Goondiwindi State School).
In late 2014 the MCA made three appointments to new roles established as development positions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art museum professionals. Nicole Foreshew was appointed Curatorial Fellow for Primavera 2015: Young Australian Artists – the position is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts. The positions of Susie Anderson, Assistant Digital Producer, and Nadeena Dixon, Artist Educator – Indigenous Programs, have been funded through Arts NSW and the Australian Government through the Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support (IVAIS) program. The MCA’s future will see prescribed levels of employment rates reflecting, at a minimum, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander working population and the extension of this with exceptional professional development opportunities.
The MCA will consider this policy in the preparation and review of all MCA initiatives, programs and strategies.
Learn more about the MCA’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Programs here.
For high and low resolution images with captions click here.*
ABOUT THE MCA INDIGENOUS ADVISORY COMMITTEE
The MCA is committed to developing its policies and programs in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and communities. In keeping with this an Indigenous Advisory Group (IAG) was established and has been meeting since 2003. It’s aim is to advise the MCA on ways to reflect the needs and interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and audiences in all areas of its work. The Group advises on issues that are pertinent to the MCA’s core role; exhibiting, collecting and interpreting the work of today’s artists. Today the group consists of principally of artists and arts professionals from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community including: Joanne Brown, Darryl French, Nancia Guivarra, Michael McDaniel, Bob Morgan, Djon Mundine, Hetti Perkins (Chair) and Matt Poll.
ABOUT PROFESSOR MICHAEL MCDANIEL
Professor Michael McDaniel is an Aboriginal man who is a member of the Kalari Clan from the Wiradjuri nation of Central New South Wales. Michael’s involvement in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander higher education spans more than two decades.
Michael has previously been the Professor and Dean of Indigenous Education at the University of Western Sydney and the Director of Warawara Department of Indigenous Studies at Macquarie University. Michael also previously taught at UTS, where for some years he was Director of Indigenous Programs within the School of Adult Education.
Michael is also a member of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Higher Education Consortium (NATSIHEC). On a number of occasions Michael participated in the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues as part of the NATSIHEC delegation.
ABOUT HETTI PERKINS
Chair, MCA Indigenous Advisory Group
Hetti Perkins is a member of the Eastern Arrernte and Kalkadoon Aboriginal communities and currently resident curator at Bangarra Dance Theatre. Perkins has worked with Indigenous visual art for twenty five years and was previously senior curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Hetti is chair of the Charlie Perkins Trust for Children and Students and a trustee of the Michael Riley Foundation. She is a board member of the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory and deputy chair of Ninti One, a not-for-profit company that builds opportunities for people in remote Australia.
ABOUT KEITH MUNRO
Keith Munro is Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Programs at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. Keith is a descendant of the Kamilaroi (Gomeroi/Gamilaroi/Gamilaraay) people of north-western New South Wales and south-western Queensland. Selected projects he has worked on include a retrospective of Bardayal ‘Lofty’ Nadjamerrek AO, Ricky Maynard: Portrait of a Distant Land, In the Balance: Art for a Changing World, They are Meditating: Bark Paintings from the MCA’s Arnott’s Collection and Paddy Bedford. Keith has written commissioned texts for various publications and cultural organisations.
*CONDITIONS OF USE: Images may be used for media use only in relation to the MCA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy. Captions must accompany all images reproduced.