Thursday, July 20, 2017

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spends $50,000 on art

Tom McIlroy,

Australia's diplomatic missions in London, Rome and New York are showcasing $50,000 of newly purchased Australian art, bought by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade officials since mid-2015.
The paintings, etchings, and photography - including some by leading Aboriginal Australian artists - are on display in key entertainment and work areas within the diplomatic buildings including Australia House in London and the Australian Consulate-General in New York.

Invoices and consignment notices for the works purchased between April 2015 and August last year, released by the department under freedom of information rules this week, detail costs for specialist conservation services and framing for the new collection items.
Artists being displayed in London include senior Kuninjku painter and sculptor James Iyuna, West Kimberley artists Rosie Goodjie, Tommy May and Dolly Snell, and Tiwi Islanders Jean Baptiste Apuatimi and Maria Josette Orsto.

Works bound for the Australian Consulate-General in New York were purchased from a local Australian business and include a series photographs depicting iconic Australian landscapes such as the Kimberley and tropical North Queensland.
Renowned Kununurra artist Minnie Lumai and Melville Islander Timothy Cook are also among the artists being displayed for guests of government and diplomatic functions. 
The department said showcasing Australian arts and culture is a key tool in the country's diplomatic presence overseas and helps identify key industries and artistic talent. 
Many of the artists are displayed in leading public galleries in Australia, including Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art.
Guest lists for recent events and official receptions at the Australia government-owned properties include businessman-turned US President Donald Trump, media mogul Rupert Murdoch and model Jennifer Hawkins.
Among the spending are pieces depicting pomegranates and quinces, cleaning and installation for an antique patterned Flemish tapestry which hangs at Australia House, and framing and easels from the exclusive Green and Stone of Chelsea store, close to the High Commission.
Officials said the works purchased in the latest spending were exclusively Australian and had been hung in prominent public areas, including the Catherine Spence Dining Room at Australia House and the Bruce Room, used for high-level meetings at the High Commission.
In a statement, the department said Australia's overseas diplomats worked to promote a vibrant arts sector.
"Public diplomacy supports Australia's international policy priorities by strengthening Australia's influence, reputation and relationships.
"As part of this, the department seeks to strengthen Australia's reputation as a sophisticated and creative nation, with a confident arts sector."
The statement said displaying of the artworks included in the spending demonstrated Australia's respect for, and recognition of, cultural diversity and heritage and helped promoted greater international understanding and awareness of Australia's indigenous cultures.
"These purchases underscore the department's commitment to showcasing Australia overseas, through an active and creative public diplomacy program, and strengthens Australia's reputation as a creative and culturally innovative nation."

No comments: