Date: 18 June 2010
A new book tracing the history of Indigenous art in Victoria has been launched by Arts Minister Peter Batchelor today.
Visiting the Koorie Heritage Trust in Melbourne, Mr Batchelor said the Government had been pleased to provide $100,000 towards the research and publication, Meerreeng-an Here is My Country:The Story of Aboriginal Victoria Told Through Art.
For 25 years, the Koorie Heritage Trust has played a key role in protecting, preserving and promoting the culture and history of Indigenous people in South-Eastern Australia, Mr Batchelor said.
This new publication, Meerreeng-an Here is My Country:The Story of Aboriginal Victoria Told Through Art, is a fitting way to mark the 25th anniversary of the Trust.
It also breaks new ground as it is the first time a comprehensive book focusing on the art, history and culture of Aboriginal Victoria has been published.
Mr Batchelor said the book showcased more than 340 artefacts and artworks dating back to the 1830s by more than 120 indigenous Victorian artists.
But this is more than just a reference book. It is a moving and inspirational portrait of Aboriginal life, past and present.
Mr Batchelor said the text throughout the book was provided entirely by the Victorian Aboriginal community.
More than 16 Victorian Aboriginal languages are represented in Meereeng-an.
Through a combination of artist statements, quotes and stories from Elders and other community members, the artworks come to life as we learn their cultural and historical context and the meaning they hold for Indigenous Victorians today.
Mr Batchelor congratulated the editors, Chris Keeler and Vicki Couzens, and the Koorie Heritage Trust for undertaking this ambitious and important project.
This publication will be an invaluable resource for the Koorie and wider community, and an ongoing source of inspiration for young Aboriginal artists, Mr Batchelor said.
The Brumby Labor Government is proud to have helped fund this publication, and to provide ongoing support for the Koorie Heritage Trust.
Meerreeng-an Here Is My Country: The Story of Aboriginal Victoria Told Through Art is now available for sale at the Koorie Heritage Trust.
For more information, visit the Koorie Heritage Trust website.