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

Ted Egan: Forget splitting hairs, counting drops of blood.
Again we have looked around and ignored what we don’t want to see.
Having lived in a rural part of Fiji for many years, the efforts of the British there go largely unnoticed, and often criticised, as they do here.
The Brits stepped in in Fiji as requested by the chiefs and the first thing they did was to sit the chiefs who were at war down around a bowl of Kava and determined who owned which pieces of land traditionally.
This land ownership was then assigned to a common ancestor, (a “matangali”) and carefully recorded so everyone knew which family group they belonged to, and which piece of traditional land was theirs.
Now every child born with a common Fijian ancestor is recorded in a register as belonging to that piece of land and is recorded as “kai viti”.
My children were all born in that lovely country to my wife and I and are all “Kai loma” I am “Kai valangi” meaning to have come from another country and my wife is “Kai viti” having come from Fiji.
Kai loma (loma means inside) means between, or inside both and is a lovely way to describe people who are between as so many of us are.
Is that all too simple?
As a footnote my children are all eligible to claim ownership of their traditional land in Fiji but have chosen not to do so as land is scarce.
However, whenever we return their Fijian heritage makes them very comfortable.
There is a middle path, but for some reason it is sometimes ignored.


Four weeks to comment on fracking chaos
It is unfortunate that there has not been a delving into history and current short term politics has taken over.
In the seventies under Labor and Rex Connor there was a plan for a national gas grid linking the West and East.
It was scoffed at the time but it made so much common sense to link the Eastern demand with the Western resource. It still does.
There is no need for fracking at all here but the debate has been dominated by short term self interest, and now a large scale investment bank is on the track realising that the shortest way to link the two is via Brewer Estate and the existing pipe network. Hence their investment.
This is still 400 or 500 km shorter than through Moomba – a fact well recognised by the commercial interests.
There are already two possible sites for such a pipeline pencilled in.
We don’t need fracking at all, and the potential for a central industrial estate based at Brewer stands out but conveniently ignored for reasons unknown.


The tree or the bench?
Garth Drake: I go up to visitors and ask for their impressions of the place. People from Central Australian tourism should do the same.
They might get some off the cuff surprises. The most impressive thing there is the geology, but no attempt to explain how it all came about or how Larapinta Drive got its name.
A couple of picnic tables and a bench seat or two would be nice.


New drive to make Pitchi Richi a public treasure
Wonderful news. For far too long authorities have not recognised that the tourism future of Alice lies largely south of The Gap, between The Gap and the airport.
There are too many vested commercial interests and conventional real estate interests to allow heritage type development north of The Gap.
They refuse to look at places like Hahndorf and Ballarat to see how heritage issues are basic to their economies, and contribute to the communal good.
No one has asked why the Katherine, Mt Isa, and Mclaren Vale tourism centres are all on the main approach to town where they have a captive market, but ours is crowded into a space with little or no parking.
The Big M stores have a mathematical formula on which they base their shop position.
It is based on the number of passing vehicles and pedestrians. If they did as we do they would go broke just as we are. An old Frank Sinatra film says it all (A hole in the head)
He who whispers down the well
About the thing he has to sell
Will never make as many dollars
As he who climbs a tree and hollers.
I don’t see too many tourism people standing on the South Road at the Welcome Rock where they all stop, or hollering as they go past.


Back to the future with Warren Snowdon
A clarification to my earlier contribution: To join the West Coast gas reserves to the eastern states market through Brewer Estate in Alice Springs is about 450 km shorter than through Moomba, a point well recognised by the millionaires factory. Hence their investment in Central Petroleum.


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