In 2002 I started an art tour business (Tanamart) to …

Comment on Art Trail, Explorer’s Way: big words, so far no substance by Trevor Shiell.

In 2002 I started an art tour business (Tanamart) to remote art centres because I believe (and still do) that it’s right and proper to purchase the products of the centres direct and meet the artists who actually contribute their skills.
I went as far as Warman in WA and all points in between, with clients from all over the world. My observations were, one gallery in WA wanted an opening fee of $200 irrespective of any sales being made.
I charged a commercial fee at minimum cost plus commissions on sales.
Then I found that many clients, being themselves commercial operators, used my service as an introduction to the galleries then purchased on line, making my model uneconomic.
But I got an extraordinary satisfaction from operating that service and cutting out the opportunists – carpet baggers.
One gallery manager also told me that he only promoted the top five or so artists. Hence the piles of works from lower pecking order potential artists accumulating in the centres.
On an investigative trip to galleries around Melbourne I walked out of a Collins St gallery with his current price list and was chased down the street by the owner of the gallery to get his price list back.
That smells of price padding and exploitation. Another had nothing to display in his gallery as he simply buys and exports directly to America. Another in Sydney claiming to be an expert on Utopia art could not point out Utopia on an NT map!
For these reasons and others I would love to see the art trail concept pushed, bring the end users direct to the artists. The other concept that needs investigating urgently to avoid the exploitation described above is a permanent display market in town run and administrated by the centres themselves to sell direct to the consumers.

Recent Comments by Trevor Shiell

Business group may establish ‘federal’ prison in The Centre
Put it at Anzac next to the cultural centre and fill it with bankers and insurance executives, on the recommendation of the current Royal commission.
Great business for the northern end of the mall, where the major business group seems to want to operate.


Stagnant CBD; industrial land, rental shortage; houses hold
Again the CBD is where it is not because of current commercial imperatives but for historical reasons associated with the Telegraph line and Arltunga. It needs to move South.
There is land at Brewer and an inquiry into the status of allegedly Crown land south of the airport returned a variety of excuses and again I wonder how it is that land advertised as Crown land is not available for the Crown to use.
Arumbera as an industrial park is not an option as it ignores the geographic realities of The Gap. The last traffic flow census there was done in 2009 (now hopelessly out of date) and in the meantime local government in several metropolitan areas are spending big dollars on short term recreational walking tours close to other facilities.
Then we have the unique situation at Brewer where three major cross national Highways will intersect, with the shortest distance Brisbane / Perth being via the Outback Way and throw in an international airport, and rail hub, hospital with ample parking, and a visitors centre where busses can park and that’s where the future of the town lies.
But we continue to procrastinate, just as we have with Kilgariff, where several high tech food production companies in arid areas have moved offshore because they were never encouraged to look here, taking their employment, investment, and research dollars with them.
Instead we have canal frontage housing allotments without the boats (yet).
And how about a defensive driving facility at the motor sports complex. Statistics show this to be a very necessary thing but completely overlooked as a means of catering for the growing number of senior students visiting here, and their cash.
We need to stop looking backwards, and look for new opportunities.


ANZAC Oval art gallery good for Mall traders: Chamber
How much longer will the delusion last and how many more times will the mall be “invigorated” before they realise that the CBD is now in the wrong place and out of date.
It was great when the centre of commercial activity were the Telegraph Station and Arltunga. But times change.
The Mega flora museum should be a the AZRI geology centre in conjunction with the rest of our amazing geology, the cultural centre should be in conjunction with Yirrara with the achievement of the students portrayed, the visitors centre as at Katherine should be at the highway intersection with the display of the bush tucker potential, and with the Hall of Fame constitute a new tourism hub to proactively intercept visitors and direct them to where the commerce people want them to be.
The short sighted planning in that area and the introduction of new industries here has been very sad.
We have a fixation with speed and fast motor sport, but how about a training school in defensive driving for the hundreds of senior school students that visit, or a training school to prevent the sad loss of live on quad bikes in conjunction with the drag strip.
At least two medicinal cannabis and Ag technology companies are now operating out of Israel because no one thought to ask them to look at doing their research in this arid area.
Perhaps advertising canal frontage blocks of land with yacht anchorages on the corner of the highway and Col Rose Drive where the ridiculous quasi mining operation is, will be the next brain wave?


Prof Gerritsen: We got it wrong from the start
Alex Nelson is spot on. Having spent a significant part of my life living in remote and rural Fiji it was disturbing to see the influence China has there now. Where once Radio Australia was, there is now Radio China speaking in English, and sat. antenna, all solar powered. This happened at around the same time as our HF service disappeared as well, and here was a massive Chinese electronic surveillance ship in Suva harbour. Lee Kwan Yew had it right with his series of 5 year plans and that’s why our fuel comes from Singapore. We are just slow learners.
However some things don’t change and sitting on the side of the road near the school, which we initiated and which the school community built themselves, sat some of the students that we taught, selling bananas at 50 cents a bunch to get the $30 a term school fees for their grandchildren. An old Indian friend – a small scale rice farmer- still walks the 15 KM to the school to pay the school fees for his grandson, seeing it as good value.
That school produced a high ranking Police officer, a couple of doctors and a Diplomat. Then I returned here to see the bus doing its rounds of the camps to pick up kids to take them to school should they be inclined to do so.
Then I recalled the incident years ago when I had to challenge a boy who threw chairs around a room in a maths class. His immediate response was “You can’t do anything to me, I’m Aboriginal” in pretty much those words. Another young woman accused me of picking on her for bad behaviour and I was accused of being racist.
I pointed out to her that my own three children had the same skin colour as he did, being part Fijian. Again her response was “But they’re not Aboriginal”. We have to ask ourselves how these things came about and in whose best interests are they?
There are many really positive stories of Indigenous achievement in this town – an acclaimed actor and several prominent academics, an international airline pilot – and my closest friends here over the last 35 years have been Aboriginal men, all of whom have done great things for themselves and their families, without excuse. What is happening now, and why?


Thumbs down for dongas depot at Ilparpa
It is in the interests of everyone – including the proponent – to have such facilities situated in the vicinity of the cattle yards or Brewer.
The mining companies do this already and a cursory look at the geography show that we are a the intersection of three major national highways, North South, East west and soon NW to SE via the Tanami.
The outback way could easily have a diversion for heavy traffic from Gemtree thus satisfying the need of the local shire to speed up their tourism ambitions in the East Macs and partly alleviate the pressure on The Gap by arriving South of The Gap.
Add to that a cross nation railway and an internationally accredited airport with direct access to Asia and it would be a dream come true for a transport operator and a financial bonanza for those operators with a bit of foresight.
There is land available there as a few Local businesses have already discovered and the real estate values there will only rise as these facts are realised.
When the government was quizzed a few years on why land south of the airport was not used in place of Kilgariff there were a series of mealy mouthed reasons returned to me, non of which explained, why land publicly displayed as “Crown Land” was not available for the Crown to use.
I suspect that real estate interests had a say in that, and in the meantime the parking problems at the hospital only further make the point that the hospital (and the CBD) are now in the wrong place, and should be further south where the infrastructure, power and future water will have to be.
A commercial and housing hub there has to be the next obvious move. The early worms will most certainly get the very fat worm.
The proposal for Arumbera as an industrial zone is once more so short sighted with a rapidly growing market for short term walking / eco trails in many other areas, within cooee of the accommodation.


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