THE unveiling at Parliament House of an important painting by indigenous artist Mavis Ngallametta was the culmination of celebrations at the House for Reconciliation Week.
The painting, “Bushfire at Ngak-Pungarichan”, 2013 was unveiled by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Bronwyn Bishop, and Ken Wyatt, Member for Hasluck on the south wall of the mezzanine level of the marble foyer at Parliament House.
“A significant part of our commitment to reconciliation is to acquire major Indigenous artworks for the collection,” Ms Bishop said, “It is important to note that about 20 per cent of artworks in our contemporary collection are by indigenous artists”.
This is the first artwork from the Aurukun region to be acquired for the Parliament House Art Collection. Inspired by the spectacular landscape of her country, Ngallametta’s paintings depict the spectacular cliff formations, and ancient coastline near Aurukun on the Cape York Peninsula in Far North Queensland, where she lives and works. Mavis is a traditional elder of the country surrounding the Kendall River region.
Her weavings and paintings are held in major public and private collections in Australia and internationally. In 2013 she was the winner of the General Painting Prize in the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award.
Since collecting began in the 1980s, the Parliament House Art Collection has acquired more than 500 contemporary works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists from urban as well as regional and remote areas.
National Reconciliation Week is celebrated across Australia each year between May 27 and June 3 in commemoration of the anniversaries of the successful 1967 referendum and the High Court Mabo decision.
“Reconciliation Week is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements and to explore how each of us can join the national reconciliation effort,” the Speaker said.