Building on a highly successful event in 2004, a special art and craft exhibition is planned for the Australia Day long weekend at Lismore City Hall to help build livelihoods for and improve the health of Indigenous communities.

The exhibition is again being convened by Dr Malcolm Tester and will be a joint venture between Gurgun Bulahnggelah (Lismore Aboriginal Health) and Norpa. The idea is to sell art, providing income to Aboriginal artists, as well as raising funds to further develop the art industry by providing the infrastructure and financial resources to mount further smaller exhibitions.

The connection with Gurgun Bulahnggelah has come about because of the perceived health benefits of creating works of art which can be therapeutic by encouraging self expression, storytelling and raising self esteem, Dr Tester said. When we first held an exhibition like this in 2004 we raised $18,000 for equipment to assist in diagnosis and management of diabetes in Indigenous communities. To raise that level of money shows there is a strong demand for Aboriginal art in the Northern Rivers. We sold 70 of the 200-odd artworks on opening night alone.

The hope is that the project will raise the prospects for some of the artists to produce more work and perhaps create sustainable employment opportunities for themselves.
Many local artists are now preparing their works with word of the exhibition spreading around the Bundjalung nation.

Sponsors are being sought as well as volunteers to assist with set up and to provide services for the exhibition. If you can help, phone Dr Malcolm Tester on 6687 4758 or 0402 271 937.

The opening event is on Friday, January 23, at 6pm and the exhibition will be open on January 24, 25 and 26 from 10am to 4pm.