I hope that the 2016 festive season was enjoyed by yourselves and your families and that 2017 has started well for all of you, from both a business and a private standpoint.
The months since the Association’s last Newsletter have been busy and, at times, tumultuous.
It is with regret that I inform you that our longstanding President, Sabine Haider, resigned from the Board for personal reasons on 21 April, 2017.
Sabine was appointed as a Director of the Association on 15 August, 2008 and served as Ian Plunkett’s Vice President for a number of years before being appointed President at the 2012 AGM. The nine years that Sabine served the Association have been characterised by Sabine’s tireless efforts to move the Association forward, the empathy she has shown and the support she has given to indigenous artists, her sterling support to Ian Plunkett during her Vice Presidency and her dedication to ensuring our Association operated with a human face during her Presidency.
Sabine dedicated a lot of time to developing and improving relationships with peak industry bodies such as Desart and the Indigenous Art Code, together with growing strong relations with the Department of the Arts. Members today enjoy the dividends from her efforts in that she has been a big contributor to “keeping the Association in the game” with these bodies, something critical to our Association’s future.
On behalf of the Board and our members, I extend our collective thanks to Sabine for the service she gave our members. On a personal note, as a fellow Director, I learned much from Sabine’s approach to the Presidency and thank her for all she has done.
The Board met on 26 April 2017 and elected me as Acting President, until members have the opportunity to vote on the position at the upcoming AGM. Adam Knight will continue as Vice
President of the Association. I am proud to be supported by an experienced Board with strong industry experience and will continue to do the best I can in leading the Association forward until the AGM. I value member insights and input and can be contacted via email@example.com or 0417 745 211.
Sabine’s resignation has created a vacancy on the Board that will be filled at the AGM. The Board encourages all members who believe that they have the time, skills, inclination and energy to meaningfully contribute to the continuing development of the Association to put their name forward when nominations are sent out. In the interim, please feel free to contact any of the Board members to discuss the matter.
April was really a month of change in that we also saw our longstanding representative on the Indigenous Art Code (IAC) Board, Ian Plunkett, end his 6 year Directorship with IAC. Ian has made a good fist of a very difficult job. I know from numerous discussions with him that he has often felt very lonely when fighting hard for the rights of our members, but fight he has, yet he has also managed to balance that advocacy with the skills necessary to keep lines of communication with and within the IAC open. Well done, Ian.
At the IAC’s AGM on Friday 28 April, Sabine Haider was elected as the AAAA representative on the IAC Board. Sabine, thank you for your ongoing service to the Association and the Board looks forward to working closely with you to ensure that AAAA members’ points of view continue to be put forward within the IAC.
In other news, I note with much sadness the passing of quite a number of artists since our last newsletter. Some were big name artists, some were lesser known, but regardless of their fame, those artists have been part of what makes our industry possible, contributors to the rich fabric that is indigenous art and culture, longstanding friends to many. They are sorely missed.
On a brighter note, January saw the first formal meeting between the IAC, the AAAA and the Department of the Arts. The Board is hopeful that this will form the first step in better communication between our Association and the IAC, both via our IAC Board representative and through the now established head to head communication line between the IAC Chairman and the AAAA President. Certainly, with the announcement of the change of AAAA President, one of my first acts will be to contact the IAC, ensuring momentum is not lost and that our agendas continue to be put forward in a structured and determined fashion. I also want to take the opportunity to thank one of our indigenous Board members, Jeremy Donovan, for his contribution to the meeting. It was instructive for the AAAA attendees to see first hand the value that can be added to all members, artist and trade, by having artist representatives on our Board.
Some members will have seen quite some “action” involving the Association on Facebook, including the very regrettable personal targeting of Sabine. Jeremy, once again, has helped us diffuse the situation, though the challenge may be somewhat ongoing. One of our challenges as an Association is that, as we grow our profile and become more active and visible, we are likely to face increased scrutiny and we have to be better placed and prepared to deal with that. To help us with our media and public relations challenges, the Board is in discussion with an expert in these areas. Moving this forward will be one of the Board’s priorities in the coming months.
To Sabine and Ian, thank you very much.
To members, on behalf of your Board, I wish you a successful, happy and healthy few months until our next newsletter.
P.S. A big cheerio to Artist Members Walala Tjapaltjarri and Betty Mbitjana, both of whom are suffering from acute health challenges at the moment. Wishing you both a speedy recovery!