On Tuesday (19th Oct), what’s being called a unique collection of contemporary Aboriginal Art will be auctioned at Sotheby¹s in Sydney in aid of the Aboriginal Employment Strategy (AES). The occasion will also be the official launch of the AES Fund, all proceeds from which will go towards providing the training, support and guidance needed to help Indigenous Australians secure careers.

The AES “ which was established by the legendary Dick Estens at Narrabri 15 years ago – tries to bring about significant social change on a national basis now by supporting Indigenous Australians to establish successful careers. They do this through the delivery of school-based training programs, group training, apprenticeships, recruitment services, mentorships and community based programs that provide career seekers with the necessary skills to go from workers to professionals.

Last year they achieved 1810 placements, and over the past three years, more than 5000 indigenous workers have found employment.

The collection of artworks has been hand selected by renowned collector and philanthropist, Ann Lewis AO working with Aboriginal art curator, Wally Caruana. They spent time travelling across Australia to meet artists and gallerists in order to identify exceptional pieces of art for the cause. As a result, much was donated by a benefactors and some by artists themselves, especially Angelina George. Working alongside gallerist Karen Brown in Darwin, Angelina is a keen supporter of the planned AES office in Darwin.

Also from the Karen Brown stable, Joan Stokes has donated one of her beautiful Barkly Tablelands landscapes.

Other galleries involved are Raft, now in Alice Springs, with a Sally Gabori and a Patrick Mung Mung, and Don Holt with a Kathleen Ngal. Private donors include Ros Packer “ with a couple including a gorgeous Anniebell Marrngmarrng crocodile woven from pandanus “ Ann Lewis herself with an Owen Yalandja Yawkyawk, and the Lavertys with a Seven Sisters Dreaming by Walangkura Reid Napurrula.

It’s hard to tell whether any art centres have come to this worthy party, apart from Papunya Tula Artists with a Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri. But there are fine pieces from Mangkaja (a Sonia Kurrara and a Wakartu Cory Suprise) and Yulkparija with a Jan Billycan. The AES has been overwhelmed with the level of support they have received for the Auction to date.

There’s also a silent auction with yet more works by Katjarra Butler, Katanari, Burton, Yinarapa Nangala, Rosie Lane, Shorty Jangala Robinson and Polly Ngal.

Enthusiasm for the cause has come from TV man Ray Martin: I promise you, the AES is an exceptional programme, that really does work. They deserve all the support we can give them.

To request an invitation to the Auction “ which commences at 6:00pm on Tuesday night with canapes and drinks, or for more information about the AES Fund, please contact Sally Biles on 02 8571 0999 or kirra.homer@aes.org.au