APY Gallery Melbourne’s “thrilling and emotional” launch
APY Art Centre Collective (APYACC) celebrated the launch of its Docklands First Nations artist-owned gallery on June 30 with a sold out show.
The gallery is the third of the APY Galleries, with two already in Sydney and Adelaide, and APYACC general manager Skye Omeara said the success of the opening night meant they had to do a rehang of the show to get more works up.
“The opening night was thrilling and emotional. There were around 200 people from museums and other galleries who came and supported us,” Ms Omeara said.
“The gallery has been going very well [since the opening] and we have done a second instalment as a lot of the first instalment sold out.”
Going forward the APY Gallery Melbourne will be expanding its public program to provide more opportunities for people in Docklands and Melbourne, including children, to connect with First Nations artists.
The programs will be used as a way to educate, share and celebrate the culture of First Nations people and will include artist talks and workshops.
The gallery will also rotate exhibitions monthly to allow for each community they represent to be provided an opportunity to highlight their work.
“The next show is an exhibition called Ultul Kunpa and will be a show from the seven communities from the APY lands and will exhibit artwork about the Honey Grevillea plant and its healing properties,” Ms Omeara said.
“It’s a women’s show and is absolutely beautiful.”
As the first APYACC gallery in Melbourne, the Docklands space is a place for Melburnians to connect with First Nations people within regional and remote communities, something Ms Omeara said was a “rare and exciting opportunity”.
“It is also an exciting time in Australia where non-indigenous Australians can access these types of personal connections,” she added.
The new gallery provides an opportunity for talented First Nations of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands, Coober Pedy and Adelaide who are in the early stages of their careers to share their innovative work.
As well as making a contribution to the thriving art and culture sector of Melbourne, the APY Gallery team hopes to see an increase in jobs and income in their own community.
“Economic empowerment is what we talk about; we are determined to leave our young people with a better future,” APYACC director Nyunmiti Burton said.
“Our art making has always been culturally powerful, and we are proud that we have a business that matches our paintings in power and strength.”
APY Gallery Melbourne can be found at 34 Tom Thumb Lane in Docklands, right across from the Library at the Dock. •