Art beat

UN­DER THE HAM­MER Spec­tac­u­lar in­dige­nous art­works are up for grabs in a once-a-year fundrais­ing auc­tion event hap­pen­ing right now. Don’t miss out

Sunday Territorian - - FRONTIER - TA­MARA HOWIE

Over the last three years Ter­ri­tory artists and arts cen­tres have ral­lied be­hind the com­mu­nity le­gal ser­vices at the En­vi­ron­men­tal De­fend­ers Of­fice. Three years ago the EDO NT lost fed­eral funding, leav­ing its future in limbo.

Af­ter hear­ing that news, prom­i­nent artists from the Gulf, Nancy McDinny, Ste­wart Hoosen and Jacky Green, do­nated art­works for prin­ci­pal lawyer David Mor­ris to use for fundrais­ing. Mor­ris had worked in the area to help com­mu­nity mem­bers fight for the rights of their land and en­vi­ron­ment against min­ing com­pa­nies.

“All of us in the fam­ily and other fam­i­lies, we all talked about it — we have to do­nate to David be­cause he’s a good bloke who’s help­ing us a lot,” McDinny said. “We need him, he’s the bloke that we trust to be with us.”

The Bor­roloola artists’ dona­tions set off a chain of events that led to the EDO NT hold­ing a sig­nif­i­cant on­line art auc­tion ev­ery year since.

Mor­ris said the auc­tion, now in its third year, re­ceived more than 100 pieces of art­work from 18 arts cen­tres across the NT this year.

“It’s be­come the stal­wart of the EDO fundrais­ing strat­egy and some­thing we re­quire to sus­tain the of­fice, to con­tinue pro­vid­ing free le­gal ser­vices to Ter­ri­to­ri­ans on en­vi­ron­ment mat­ters,” he said.

“The auc­tion is a mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial event — the rev­enue is split be­tween artists, art cen­tres and the EDO.

“From my per­spec­tive it feels much bet­ter to be re­turn­ing a ben­e­fit, rather than just fundrais­ing from them.”

While the EDO re­ceives $50,000 in funding each year for pol­icy work, its work with le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tion is still un­funded and will con­tinue to be so for the fore­see­able future un­der the present gov­ern­ment.

Last year the auc­tion gen­er­ated more than $50,000 for artists and $50,000 for the EDO NT.

The 2017 auc­tion launched last night at Out­sta­tion Gallery in Parap. It will be held on­line through­out May and closes with a fi­nale in mid-June at si­mul­ta­ne­ous cock­tail events in Mel­bourne and Sydney, at ma­jor law firms Gil­bert & Tobin and Arnold Block Leibler, to count­down the fi­nal hour of the event.

“There’s a re­ally great syn­ergy be­tween Abo­rig­i­nal art and en­vi­ron­men­tal law be­cause, not ex­clu­sively, but al­most all of the art­work refers to the coun­try in some way, shape or form, so there’s this tremen­dous link be­tween the work,” Mor­ris said.

“We’ve got ab­so­lutely ex­tra­or­di­nary pieces this year. Su­san Wanji Wanji from Tiwi has a piece called ‘Bomb­ing of Dar­win’ and it de­scribes her ex­pe­ri­ence when bombs were dropped on Dar­win.

“It’s a piece of enor­mous scale ... it’s quite an im­pos­ing piece and to­tally unique in the way she de­picts the planes and her ex­pe­ri­ence.”

McDinny has again do­nated sev­eral pieces for this year’s auc­tion, telling the sto­ries of her fore­bears.

“(The paint­ings de­pict) a lot of sto­ries about our old peo­ple and hunt­ing on coun­try, and they had a tribal war with the first Euro­peans who came, and a lot of sto­ries about them,” she said.

“The story has been passed on from the old peo­ple to us as we grew up.”

To view the on­line art auc­tion and make a bid visit gal­abid.com/auc­tion/edont. To find out more about the artists and their works visit art4e­dont2017.com

Su­san Wanji Wanji’s ‘Bomb­ing of Dar­win’ piece

Nancy McDinny’s ‘Murn­darngu (Tur­tle)’ was do­nated to the EDO

Kathy Inka­mala’s ‘Dan­ger Mines’ piece is up for auc­tion

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