What a pity Pilger and crew didn’t drop into the …

Comment on Pilger’s polemic fails Australia and Aborigines by Caroline Hunter.

What a pity Pilger and crew didn’t drop into the art centre at Ampilatwatja during their four day filming. It seems no one except the clinic knew they were in town.
It was a missed opportunity to film the artists at work and running their business successfully. Every single community member has access to the art centre and they are all very proud of their achievements since reopening the doors in 2010.
The artists’ paintings have become highly sought after on an international and national level. They all work consistently and incredibly hard since reopening their business during the worst years for art sales, they are amongst very few art centres where demand outweighs supply.
The community made a conscious decision not to paint their dreaming stories as they were too scared, instead it is their ancestral landscapes that they paint.
They are known for their brightly coloured, detailed landscape paintings. This country is not a hellhole and it would only be described this way by someone with a one dimensional view.
It is such a disappointment not to have shown the successes and proud achievements by the artists of Ampilatwatja. I can only conclude they weren’t after a feel good story.

Recent Comments by Caroline Hunter

Company refutes new allegations on jobs for the dole scheme
There are 181 artists on the Artists of Ampilatwatja Aboriginal Corporation database, many of these artists are on the CDP case load at My Pathways, doing 20 or 25 hours a week work the dole.
The females all are expected to fulfill their obligational tasks, doing alleged activities such as knitting.
The men’s activities are as equally inane, however, as no one in the community is allowed to enter the My Pathways compound, nothing can be substantiated.
The Artists of Ampilatwatja Aboriginal Corporation have never been made privy to which of their artist members are on the case load. This is very frustrating.
In 2014 the Artists of Ampilatwatja Aboriginal Corporation was considered by My Pathways (in agreement with Prime Minister and Cabinet) as a suitable host to delivery activities to already practicing artists. After more than two years of multiple attempts to procure artists the art centre finally secured only two artists in November 2016.
As of yesterday when this story was about to be published the Artists of Ampilatwatja Aboriginal Corporation secured another two artists. It seems the reason these artists were finally signed on to a contract was because there is a relief My Pathways manager working in the community, who in one hour signed two artists onto an existing Artists of Ampilatwatja Aboriginal Corporation contract.
It has taken two and a half years to secure four artists; I have absolutely no faith in the work for the dole scheme and little trust in those who are delivering it.
The fact is as the manager of Artists of Ampilatwatja Aboriginal Corporation I can say that since the work for the dole scheme has started and delivered by My Pathways the art centre’s production has decreased by at least 15% and the artists themselves are $26k down on last year’s sales.
I therefore conclude that My Pathways work for the dole scheme has taken away the profits from the artists, their families and the wider community and their own corporation.
Their painting is their culture and their livelihood and a cultural education for their offspring.

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