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HomeIssue 5Indigenous art gallery, cultural centre: combined or separate?

Indigenous art gallery, cultural centre: combined or separate?

p2459 Lauren Moss (2411 ) presser 400Tourism and Culture Minister Lauren Moss is awaiting advice on whether the national Indigenous art gallery and the cultural centre in Alice Springs will be combined.
Right: Lauren Moss in February, flanked by Chansey Paech (left), Assistant Minister on the project, and Philip Watkins, Chief Executive of Desart and co-chair of the gallery project’s steering committee. 
She spoke to the Alice Springs News Online yesterday after Harold Furber, chair of the group pushing for the Nganampa Anwernekenhe cultural centre, announced that a project officer will now start organising consultations for “the entire project” – “an Aboriginal initiative”.
“We’re very very pleased to be working with Harold and his team around the cultural centre.
“We’ve got a $20m investment for the cultural centre and $50m on the table for the national Indigenous art gallery,” said Minister Moss, a position unchanged since the announcement of the art gallery steering committee in February.
However, she said the steering committee, chaired by Hetti Perkins and Philip Watkins, have just had their second meeting, “looking at the governance and the links between the two institutions”, and have been in touch with Nganampa Anwernekenhe on the matter.
This is an “an ongoing, evolving conversation”, said Minister Moss.
She said government will listen to the the steering committee’s recommendations. It is a not a decision-making body but “if you’ve got an advisory committee, then you allow them to give you advice” to allow you to make “informed decisions”.
At the end of day, she will take “full advice” not only from the steering committee and Nganampa Anwernekenhe  (in relation to which she also referred to the Combined Aboriginal Organisations) but also from the community, including tourism and educational stakeholders.
The $70m “on the table” is government expenditure, taxpayers’ money, so the ultimate decisions will be made for “the best benefit for Alice Springs”, she said.

– Erwin Chlanda and Kieran Finnane



  1. However the discussion goes, I strongly suggest that the old Melanka site is on the table.
    It would seem to me to be ideal on several grounds.
    The trees could be incorpoated in an innovative, but low (2 storey) design.
    It is central to the CBD, RFDS, Pioneer Women, OPBG etc.
    Sensitive parking could also be incorporated.
    I could envisage the Cultural Centre and Art Gallery as two parts of integrated whole.

  2. Unless there is funding to support the living culture, then this will become a stale museum.

  3. To the committee:
    If the rumour mill is true, you cannot call the centre ‘Nganampa’. It is to be built on Arrernte country and should have an Arrernte name.

  4. I always thought it was scheduled to be a cultural centre that incorporated an art gallery. A place that would have been similar to the hugely popular Panorama Guth. Such a centre could have incorporated Indigenous foods highlighted in a cafe where visitors could have had lunch, there could have been a weaving section, and a group of dancers performing daily. The idea of a national Indigenous centre to me seemed crazy, as we are constantly told that there are over 300 seperate language groups. It would be like creating a white person’s cultural centre and trying to incorporate all white cultures from around the world. Why not concentrate on all we have to offer here, and lead that into how we relate and differ from other Indigenous cultures from around the country.

  5. Long ago, I remember Harold sharing his inspiring vision of the Desert Knowledge Precinct and Desert People’s Centre.
    The ending of that story makes me quite cautious about another plan to combine organisations to form a bigger bureaucracy.
    There are many examples of smaller being better!


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