Four years in preparation of a grand scale project is …

Comment on Work started on national Indigenous art gallery for Alice by Maya.

Four years in preparation of a grand scale project is not too much if the millions ear-marked remain ear-marked in four years’ time, with the yearly increment in building cost and wages, as well as the inevitable alterations of design as we saw when Sydney Opera House was built.
Good to have enthusiasm and to see big. However we are not Washington City (fortunately). Alice Springs is and remains a regional service town in the middle of the desert. We are not Brisbane with GOMA nor Hobart with MONA (which is by the way Privately funded). But we need a National Indigenous Art Gallery (traditional and modern), our NIAG.
The points stressed by Chansey Paech, MLA, make sense:
* It needs to be in a magnificent location, as “we live in one of the most beautiful landscapes in the country”. Of course, a location where the view of the ranges is not obstructed by the deplorable new court house building. Somewhere adjacent to the Desert Park so that tourists can visit them both on their itinerary.
• It needs to blend in with the landscape, surely not like the deplorable new court building.
• It should be surrounded by gardens featuring Central Australian bush tucker plants. Yes the Desert Park flora and fauna are already there providing the surroundings; just integrate it with this new project.
• It should have a cafe, run by Indigenous staff and featuring Indigenous flavours. Sure, and a better one that the current Desert Park’s. I just remember that the IAD cafe was open to train Indigenous staff in the art and skill of hospitality. It is dead for no good reason that I know of. So we have four years to train indigenous staff.
• It should have a space for the performing arts.
Performing Art are and must remain the privilege of the Araluen Arts Centre which receives NT funding to remain operational and offer its facilities for all performing arts. Do not duplicate.
We have four years to think about it, talk about it, make sensible decisions about design, plans and location whatever the Government of the day. Arts is beneficial to all, locals and tourists alike.
The subject is an important one.

Recent Comments by Maya

Ministers lash out at council over gallery
Thank you Hal for clearly saying what most of us are thinking.
Indeed there is a flaw in Ms Wakefield’s statement above (I quote: “We have continued to make every effort to work with the Alice Springs Town Council to identify a site within the CBD that will pave the way for the National Aboriginal Art Gallery.”)
Just delete “within the CBD” and then we shall all believe that “every effort” was made to find an appropriate site. The power of the word.

Council says ‘no’ to government gallery offer
A case in modern colonialism.
The early settlers had taken away the land. Today we, the town settlers, live in comfortable homes when the blekfela suffer housing overcrowding, mental heath issues and youth despair.
In the current dispute for the location of the now illusive NAAG, people in high places (whether red, blue or in between) insist on imposing the site of their choice for something belonging to Aboriginal people, therefore overriding ownership rights on art and culture for mere economical benefits.
The decision was made more than two years ago that whatever consultants or Arrernte stakeholders may say, the Alice Springs CBD is the place for “Aboriginal Art” to be shown to the world.
The pride and joy that Indigenous people may retrieve in displaying their ancient and modern art in a culturally appropriate site, is taken away by fear to lose face if they were to listen to the actual owners of that art. Another case of dispossession. Cry my country!

Gallery business case: still no answers to the big questions
Excellent analysis and constructive criticism of the latest in this long lasting saga.
$224,121 (excluding GST) later, we are not better informed of the location of this white elephant to become the symbol of the CBD, next to the Supreme Court.
So much money is spent for the scope to please the current NT Government as is honestly expressed by the latest consultants (after the previous ones):
“Ernst and Young has prepared the report for the benefit of the Northern Territory Department of Tourism, Sport and Culture and has considered only the interests of the Northern Territory Department of Tourism, Sport and Culture.”
Are the interests of other stakeholders being taken in consideration?
After two years they are still waiting and possibly loosing patience as many of us.

Authorities underrated risk to Pine Gap, Alice of a nuclear strike
Further to the above, this nuclear threat should be an incentive for Australia at all 3 levels of government to adhere to and sign the UN Treaty for the ban of nuclear weapons.
To reduce the proliferation of nuclear weapons was a first step but the ban of all nukes is going further in ascertaining a peaceful and healthy Australia.

Authorities underrated risk to Pine Gap, Alice of a nuclear strike
Sooner or later the Joint Defence Facility at Pine Gap (JDFPG) will become a piece of choice for whoever wishes to play chess with the USA.
Joint in name rather than in fact, the facility is and remains an essential target in any strategic confrontation involving the US. Since the early 1980s the population of Alice Springs has raised the alarm and asked kindly the Australian counterparts of the JDFPG to reject the renewal of the lease under which the Americans have, since 1970, retained striking advantage in return for the symbolic pepper corn.
To the detriment of the whole of Central Australia the request has fallen into deaf ears and should a nuclear device be “inadvertently” aimed at Hatt Road, no more fun run or picnic and camping in the dry river beds. Centralian life style apart, it is life itself which is in danger. With the current military escalation in the Strait of Hormuz and increasing tension between Iran and the US, the role of the Facility is questionable but the health and well-being of the 25,000 people of the region counts very thin in the eyes of Canberra.

Be Sociable, Share!

A new way to support our journalism

We do not have a paywall. If you support our independent journalism you can make a financial contribution by clicking the red button below. This will help us cover expenses and sustain the news service we’ve been providing since 1994, in a locally owned and operated medium.

Erwin Chlanda, Editor