Invaluable work with remote Aboriginal communities by Department of Industry and Resources Project Officer Tim Acker was recognised with a double win at last night’s 2007 Community Services Industry Awards.
Mr Acker, who has been working with Aboriginal artists and communities for more than eight years, took out the top award for the category of Outstanding Commitment by an Individual. His project, the Western Desert Mob, was also recognised with the Strengthening Rural and Remote Communities Award.
Mr Acker said he was honoured to be the recipient of the two awards.
I am very grateful to receive this award and to be recognised for the work being conducted in the most remote and toughest areas of Australia, he said.
While it’s an individual award, the reality is that there are so many people that have contributed to the different projects, it’s really an acknowledgement of extraordinary collaboration.
The Western Desert Mob Project, facilitated by the Department’s Aboriginal Economic Development Division, involves a coalition of art centres based in one of the most remote areas of Western Australia called the Ngaanyatjarra Lands.
The alliance focuses on creating significant change in the Aboriginal art industry and aims to ensure the wealth of talent and economic returns are retained in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands communities.
Mr Acker accepted the award along with Clive Scollay and Roley Mintuba from Maruku Arts on behalf of other Western Desert Mob members.
The Western Desert Mob Project is an alliance between six remote area art centres and aims to give a strong voice to geographically isolated, but very successful, businesses.
It’s linking artists, art centres and the national markets in positive, beneficial ways.
Western Desert Mob is committed to showcasing to the wider public what authentic art is, the importance of painting in-country, the role of art centres in communities and most importantly Aboriginal culture and stories through art.
Another major project that contributed to Mr Acker’s individual award is the Canning Stock Route Project, which has brought together Aboriginal artists from across the Western Desert region to participate in an unprecedented cultural, creative, historical and land management project.
I recently conducted a four-week journey with more than 60 Indigenous artists across the 1700 kilometre Canning Stock Route.
During the journey, artists’ stories were recorded through oral histories, artworks and multimedia. These works will form the central part of an exhibition which will tour the country.
The Department’s Director General Jim Limerick said both awards were a tremendous recognition of the ongoing commitment by Tim and his team to develop and continue to maintain projects such as the Western Desert Mob, which helps to provide sustainable economic growth to many rural and remote Aboriginal communities.
The Community Services Industry Awards, which started in 1994 and include nine different categories, help to celebrate the positive difference groups and individuals make to the lives of all Western Australians.
The awards recognised Mr Acker’s contribution to remote areas of Australia and his positive impact on Aboriginal lives.
Media contact: Pina Compagnone, Department of Industry and Resources (08) 9222 3320
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