Art makes a difference

Residential scholarships supported by the annual Shalom Gamarada exhibition, which opened this week, are assisting more than 20 Indigenous medical students to realise their dream of becoming doctors.

Bagu inside

The work of some of Australia's most renowned Indigenous artists is on show at Shalom College this week to raise funds for UNSW Indigenous medical students.

In what has become the largest contemporary Aboriginal exhibition of its kind, Shalom Gamarada features more than 120 artworks valued in excess of $1 million.

Judy Watson is exhibiting alongside other acclaimed artists such as Regina Wilson, Weaver Jack, Jan Billican and Shorty Jangala Robertson.

All artworks are available for purchase, with profits contributing to a residential scholarship program, valued at over $15,000 per year, for Indigenous medical and health students at UNSW's Shalom College.

Since its inception, the Shalom Gamarada Aboriginal art exhibition has assisted 24 students to study medicine, optometry and medical science, covering board and lodging expenses so students are able to focus solely on excelling in their studies, said program founder Professor Lisa Jackson Pulver.

"We have not had one single student drop out because of having to work to support themselves or because of the lack of accommodation since this program began," said Professor Jackson Pulver, Chair of Indigenous Health at UNSW.

"Today, UNSW has one of the best retention rates of Aboriginal students in the country."

The first Shalom Gamarada graduate, Dr Beth Kervin, is now working as an intern. This year, scholarship recipient Jenna Owen - UNSW's first Aboriginal optometry student - will graduate.

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: 2010 Shalom Gamarada Aboriginal Art Exhibition
Where: Shalom College UNSW, Barker Street, Kensington
When: 27 June to 4 July 2010, 11am - 7pm daily

For further information visit the exhibition website.

Contact: Professor Lisa Jackson Pulver, 0404 859 989 | Denise Knight, UNSW Media Office, 02 9385 8920