AMC detainee artwork celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture

The 10th annual NAIDOC Community Art Exhibition, which features works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander detainees from the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC), is now open.

Minister for Corrections Mick Gentleman said the exhibition is a great opportunity for Canberrans to celebrate the culture, history and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“It is our privilege to see these artworks. They provide an opportunity for us to reflect on the experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia and in the justice system,” Minister Gentleman said.

Wiradjuri man Tony Levatt, a former detainee, said the Cultural Arts Program at AMC had a significant impact on his life.

“I use my art to express myself and find my own identity. As a fair skinned Indigenous male, it has been hard to be accepted as such throughout my life, so my art is for me more than anything else,” Mr Levatt said.

“I spent my time at the AMC painting, which provided me with an income to help me get by as I had no family support.

“The Indigenous Services Team [at the AMC] saw my talents and did all they could to support me and motivate me to continue painting as my art helped get me through the darkest times in my life.

“Since being released from the AMC I’ve had multiple agencies assist my progression into the community including AMC Indigenous Liaison Workers, Worldview (who I have helped to develop modules for life coaching and addiction), Wayback Rehabilitation Centre, and Marrin Weejali Healing Centre,” Mr Levatt said.

All works on display at the Community Services #1 Gallery as part of the NAIDOC Week exhibition are available for purchase, with the proceeds going to the detainees’ trust accounts.

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