Supporting Australia’s world renowned Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts industry is receiving much needed support, with the Morrison Government announcing an extra $5.7 million in funding for the Indigenous Visual Arts industry Support (IVAIS) program.

This is part of more than $38 million that will be shared by more than 90 Indigenous visual art organisations across Australia, which is vital to support the Indigenous visual arts industry to grow and deliver strong commercial outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.

Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said this funding will provide critical infrastructure and build relationships that allow artists to create art, generate income, develop skills and connect to the art market.

“I am pleased to announce that our support will provide professional opportunities for around 8,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander visual artists and on-going employment for more than 500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts workers, most living in remote communities,” Minister Fletcher said.

“Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair and Cairns Indigenous Art Fair were two events forced to go online in 2020. This $700,000 in Regional Arts Tourism Events funding will enable both fairs to continue to attract visitors online and plan for their 2022 events.”

Funded projects include:

  • support for professional development of artists and arts workers in the West Pilbara
  • activities to support Indigenous visual artists in south east Australia, through the NSW Aboriginal Culture Heritage and Arts Association
  • support for artists with a disability at Wurrumiyanga on Bathurst Island in the Northern Territory
  • further support for Arts Law Centre of Australia’s Licensing the Right Way project to improve licensing outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artist seeking to gain income from licensed products.

Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP said Indigenous visual art is integral to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ identity and is vitally important to Australia and all Australians.

“Indigenous visual art sustains and strengthens Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, is an important way to express culture, and provides opportunities for employment, skills development and income,” Minister Wyatt said.

“Investment in Indigenous cultures and building the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled arts sector is a priority for the Morrison Government. The Indigenous visual arts sector in Australia is a thriving and vibrant industry and provides significant economic, social and cultural benefits. Investment under the Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support Program will ensure long-term sustainability for the sector and will strengthen cultural practice safeguards”.

The IVAIS program provides annual funding through an open competitive grants process and through targeted funding opportunities.

The support being delivered through the IVAIS program comprises:

  • Multi-year funding to 30 Indigenous art centres of $30.8 million, which will provide stability and certainty for their ongoing production and marketing of Indigenous visual art;
  • Single and multi-year funding of more than $1.8 million for 17 activities that were successful in an open competitive grants process;
  • Assistance with urgent infrastructure and equipment upgrades totalling $331,873 at five Indigenous art centres;
  • A further $5 million in Relief and Recovery Funding to 84 Indigenous art centres and 6 Indigenous art fairs in 2020-21, on top of $7 million in COVID-19 support funding announced in April 2020;
  • An additional $700,000 in Regional Arts Tourism Events funding to the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair and Cairns Indigenous Art Fair in 2021-22.

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