Sunday, 23 December 2007

Great News for the Western Australian Art Sector

Some fantastic news out of WA with the government announcing a major increase in the states art budget!

The increase also includes a one million dollar fund for a new indigenous art prize which will make it by far the richest indigenous art prize in Australia.

Below you will find the complete article on this fantastic development.

Seasonal present for arts sector

Victoria Laurie | December 13, 2007

AUSTRALIA'S richest indigenous art prize will be part of a bumper Christmas present for Western Australia's cultural sector - a sudden $70 million arts announcement to be unveiled today by Premier Alan Carpenter.

The Premier, who faces a state election next year, will release details of an almost 50per cent boost to the state's $168 million arts budget that will flow into theatre, dance, music and the fashion industry.

It is believed to include a $1million fund to sponsor Australia's richest indigenous art prize over four years, with several categories for individual and group artists.

It appears likely to award bigger prizemoney than the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art award, which offers a $40,000 first prize.

The package comes after Western Australia's resource boom delivered a $2.2 billion surplus in the state budget, but failed to provide any real increase in arts funding.

It will be the biggest single injection of funds into the cultural sector in the state's history.

Mr Carpenter is understood to have recently dined and consulted with individuals from the state's art gallery, ballet and opera companies and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra.

Perth's corporate sector, which outspends the state in its support of major arts organisations such as the WASO, has lobbied the Government to open its coffers to support culture.

WASO received $3 million in corporate donations last year, mainly from companies such as Woodside Petroleum, Chevron, Wesfarmers and BHP Billiton. The state's contribution was $1.8 million.

Unlike some other past and present state premiers - Don Dunstan and Mike Rann in South Australia, Neville Wran and Bob Carr in NSW and Jeff Kennett in Victoria - Mr Carpenter has shown little inclination until now to attend cultural events or promote the arts portfolio.

But observers say Mr Carpenter, who has been in office nearly two years, is now keen to spread the Government's resource wealth more widely to raise the state's cultural profile.

He took a personal interest in the plight of underfunded artists earlier this year when WA Ballet dancers went on strike over salaries as low as $38,000 a year. He is understood to have personally intervened to secure more company funding to better pay dancers.

Funds were also found at short notice after he learned that an annual Shakespeare in the Park event could be cancelled for lack of funds.

Great Article Looks back on 2007

Hi everyone. Below is an article by Peter Coster and the year that was 2007 in Art. It's a good read and talks about the recent record breaking price achieved for a Clifford Possum artwork.

It shows how buoyant the Aboriginal Art market continues to be. Hope you enjoy the article!,21985,22914572-664,00.html

Peter Coster looks back on 2007
Article from: Herald Sun

Peter Coster

December 13, 2007 12:00am

CLIMBING the steps to see a great painting at Sotheby's rooms on a quiet day before its sale remains the most memorable moment of my auction year.

It was almost a religious experience as there, on a starkly white wall, with the impact of a stained-glass window in a European cathedral, was Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri's Warlugulong.

It is from a different dreaming and it made me a convert to a belief in indigenous art.

This Aboriginal icon has put indigenous art alongside what is called Australian art, but which means "white" art.

"Black" art is its equal when a painting such as this is regarded as one of the greatest Australian paintings of the 20th century.

Warlugulong was sold the night after my epiphany for $2.4 million with the artist's daughter pushing her way into the standing-room only crowd after arriving on a tram from Coburg where she was staying with a friend.

There were tears of pride on her face but nothing in her hand to take home. The painting was sold on behalf of someone else, which makes the case for a royalty to go to artists or their families on the resale of their paintings all the stronger. It is so in France where there is a droit de seigneur that sees artists paid no matter how many times their work has changed hands.

Warlugulong has many levels as a painting. There is its overwhelming presence and then the dreaming made real on the huge canvas.

Its sale price reminded me of the first of the Aboriginal paintings expected to break what seemed to be a barrier of $1 million.

Lundari, or Barramundi Dreaming, by Rover Thomas, did not attract a bid, other than from the auctioneer, but that was in 2005. How quickly appreciation or acquisitiveness changes.

Two months before Clifford Possum's painting was sold for more than $2 million, Emily Kame Kngwarreye's Earth's Creation was sold by Lawson-Menzies in Sydney for $1 million.

The Australian market was following the burgeoning international market.

But it was the most significant movement in a market that saw turnover leap by more than a third on last year.

Menzies Art Brands, which combines Deutscher-Menzies and Lawson-Menzies sales, outsold Sotheby's by $10 million.

The market can expect another year in which prices are unlikely to soften.

Records were broken for Brett Whiteley, John Brack, Fred Williams and Jeffrey Smart.

This column's WI, or Whiteley Indicator, swung truly. When the WI was down, so was the market, and when the WI was up, so too the market.

Whiteley's Opera House, which sold for more than $2 million, and The Olgas for Ernest Giles, which sold for nearly $3.5 million, finished ahead of the rest.

But my conversion in front of Clifford Possum's great painting brought a personal appreciation of a sometimes greater art.

Now that is something by which to remember 2007.


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