The biggest selling exhibition of contemporary Aboriginal art in Australia is currently on show. The money raised supports Indigenous students at UNSW.
The Shalom Gamarada exhibition, which began in 2005, supports Indigenous medical and health students with residential scholarships, with the ultimate aim of increasing the number of Indigenous doctors.
This year, it has been expanded to support Indigenous students studying law.
In what has become the largest contemporary Aboriginal exhibition of its kind, over 100 framed pieces and as many unstretched works are available for purchase. The collection is valued at over a million dollars and includes pieces by acclaimed Indigenous artists including Judy Watson, Regina Wilson, Jan Billycan and Gloria Petyarre.
The program has grown from one scholarship in 2005 to 22 this year. The scholarships are valued at over $15,000 per year.
"We recognise that health is much broader than the healthcare system. It is not only hospitals and nurses and doctors but includes many other aspects of life and the community. Health is holistic," says Professor Lisa Jackson Pulver, co-founder of the program.
The response to the program since its inception has been incredibly positive. "We have people volunteering throughout the year. I am absolutely overwhelmed by the generosity of people. Not all people donate money. They donate their time, energy, passion, thinking," says Professor Pulver.
This year also marks the first Xstrata Coal Art Award, a $15,000 prize awarded to the Tjunga Palya art centre. The prize recognizes the importance of art centres in Indigenous communities as cultural and social hubs.
The judges commended the winning art centre, chosen out of 25 across Australia, on the "beauty, knowledge and spirituality" in its paintings.
The scholarship program is a partnership with Shalom College and UNSW's Muru Marri Indigenous Health Unit. Scholarships are also supported by private and corporate sponsorship.
What: 2011 Shalom Gamarada Aboriginal Art Exhibition
Where: 111 Queen St, Woollahra
When: 17 September to 25 September 2011, 11am - 7pm daily
Media contact: Susi Hamilton | Office of Media and Communication | 0422 934 024