Art Raises Money for Indigenous Health

Almost $750,000 of Aboriginal art has been sold in a major exhibition, which was staged to help support indigenous health.

The proceeds from the sales will go towards a residential scholarship program for indigenous medical students at Shalom College at the University of New South Wales (UNSW). The program allows the selected students to live at the college while they are enrolled in the undergraduate medicine program.

"We were overwhelmed by the support from the community," said the CEO of Shalom College, Dr Hilton Immerman.

"We offered the first place to a first year indigenous medical student this year. Due to the success of this exhibition, that position will be ongoing. We also plan to add another two residential scholarships. The next one will be for a year and a half and will commence at the end of this month and the third, which will be ongoing, will start at the beginning of next year."

The Shalom Gamarada Art Exhibition, which featured more than 120 works by some of AustraliaÒs most celebrated indigenous artists, was held recently (24-28 July). More than 80 works were sold.

"Our ultimate goal is to increase the number of Aboriginal doctors in indigenous communities and improve health outcomes," he said.

The NSW Governor, Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC, launched the exhibition at a gala opening.

Amongst the other special guests at the launch were Aboriginal artists Gloria Petyarre and Barbara Weir. Their work was part of $1.2 million worth of art on sale, including some that had never before been shown to the public. Some of the other artists included in the exhibition were Emily Kngwarreye, Minnie Pwerle, George Tjungurrayi, Ronnie Tjampitjinpa and Regina Wilson.

"This has been such a success that we are going to make it an annual event," said Dr Lisa Jackson Pulver, from the Muru Marri Indigenous Health Unit, in the School of Public Health and Community Medicine. 3There was a real sense of excitement about the art and about the possibility of helping make a real difference to the health of indigenous people.2

The initiative is the result of collaboration between the Muru Marri Indigenous Health Unit, Nura Gili Indigenous Programs and Shalom College.

Contact Details: Susi Hamilton, UNSW Media unit, tel. 9385 1583 or 0422 934 024, email