A wonderful weekend of cultural events in Alice Springs with Desert Mob 2016 was capped off with the relaunch party for the Aboriginal Art Association of Australia.
As the sun set over the pool side lawn at Doubletree Hilton Hotel artist, supporter, trade and associate members enjoyed an evening of great company, food, drinks and music. Vice President of the AAAA, Adam Knight, gave a compelling speech, while artist Anna Price Petyarre had to ward off the attention of Andrew, the resident peacock at the hotel!
The range of people and the cross-section of industry organisations that attended are testimony to the diversity of the industry that we serve. It also confirmed our Association’s belief that there is a genuine way forward in which participants from all sections of the industry can interact, discuss key matters, debate different points of view and co-operate in a harmonious fashion for the greater good of the industry as a whole. In that regard, the Board and our members appreciate all the positive feedback and support received from within the industry.
You can view all the photos from the evening on our Facebook Page.
A huge thanks to all who attended.
Text Transcript of Vice President, Adam Knight’s Speech
Welcome to you all our launch event, an event that celebrates an exciting new chapter.
The AAAA formerly known as arttrade has been in existence for some time it has varied in relevance depending on, political support and who or how the organization was being run at the time. The Indigenous art industry was historically regarded by some as a cottage industry – however current participants would all agree that our industry has matured well beyond a cottage industry -and in a rather short period of time. We collectively, are a part of arguably the most commercially successful enterprise in indigenous Australia – our commercial activities provide for individuals, families and communities whilst projecting and promoting culture.
Over the last 12 months we have rebranded – new name, logo, website, a refined constitution and other organisational and structural tweaks, these changes have been an attempt by the board to move with the times and legitimise our existence – to demonstrate our commitment to our industry. Many of these changes are about branding and marketing, we view them as extremely important but more importantly they need to be backed up by industry intelligence combined with ethical, professional, energetic and most importantly -committed board members and associated parties to maintain our new paradigm and enthusiastically proceed with a defined common goal.
Our board is working to create well defined processes and structures so as to eliminate the reliance on individuals, to create an efficient, functioning, industry relevant organization that displays consistency and well planned succession.
I’d like to state a manipulation on Paul Keating’s famous quotation re the recession we had to have – regarding our industry. The GFC was the awakening we had to have. This seismic economic occurrence removed many financially motivated and poorly intentioned participants from our industry. It also reinforced to artists that poor quality works were detrimental to their own careers and the broader market. This period was important as it has allowed the industry to take a breath and re-emerge with an improved and considered market engagement. The AAAA is perfectly placed to assist in the fostering of this re-emergence. I might be biased but I am of the belief that the indigenous art market is only warming up – therefore exceptional industry organization will become more and more vital.
As joint custodians of one of the most significant art movements in history we must work together to justify our involvement in a movement that is much more important than all of us combined. We need to honorary the past, the trailblazers such as Albert Namatjira, Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri and Geoffrey Bardon.
We have not created this industry, the aboriginal artist has! Every person in this room is privileged to participate, we must respect that position. – Some may not appreciate the role they are playing in a movement that will never be repeated and the collective output of our members will be viewed, appreciated and judged for generations to come
In the spirit of part of art trades original by line of ‘fair go’ everyone in this room knows how privileged we are to witness the progression of an art movement that provides the open and enthusiastic sharing of knowledge and the creation of visually beautiful objects that also allows us to earn a lively hood. On that basis it is incumbent on all of us to hold ourselves to account and all other participants. Our goal is to attract membership of artists, dealers, galleries and other industry participants to our organization, to reaffirm the AAAA as the most holistic, qualified and legitimate organisation in indigenous art.
Over 25 years I have observed hundreds of various industry participants- I believe what has made our aboriginal art market flourish is that diversity of participants, sadly this has not been acknowledged by certain parties in the broader art market.
Along with others in this room! I was a contributor to the senate committee associated with our industry. I like many of you have been disappointed and disenfranchised with previous attempts to protect our industry.
We – the AAAA- have the opportunity to demonstrate our professionalism and commitment and establish our credentials as a high performance self-determined industry body. This can only occur with a large/diverse and industry reflective membership, an educated board of directors who not only have industry knowledge but are prepared to dedicate the significant amount of time and energy to maintain the momentum achieved recently.
As with all dynamic, fast growing industries issues will arise. The extreme diversity of industry participants will ensure it. People will make mistakes as will we, however our goal is to use a non-paternalistic approach and best practice to achieve the fairest outcomes for ALL participants whilst minimizing damage to our industry.
For too long the whole industry has been used as PR wrecking ball in some of the most petty issues often between just two parties that could of been resolved via basic professional process. The industry can no longer be used as the carpet mat of the opinionated- situations and complaints must follow the rules of fair process and the whole market should not suffer unduly.
Our goal is to -Serve and represent individuals and organisations who produce, promote, protect or support Indigenous art and the culture that allows it to flourish. This statement forms basis for the decisions of the AAAA board. We are here to serve and support all participants, art centres’, artists, artist representatives, galleries and others with the sole purpose of protecting the industry that supports us all.
Thank you for attending and enjoy your evening.