Principle 4: Engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and cultures

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures are an important part of Australian culture and they need to be celebrated, represented and embedded in what we do.

artsACT has a lot to learn and a long way to come in working with both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. We need to establish ways to build the capacity of, develop and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, organisations and community within the ACT. We will encourage relationships, advocate for and acknowledge the important cultural role that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have in the ACT.

Case study

This Acknowledgement of Country was funded by medical officers of the Canberra Region Cancer Centre (CRCC) from their personal incomes, to show their commitment to ‘closing the gap’ in their field. 

The key policy objective of the Arts in Health Program is to enhance the Canberra Hospital and Health Service’s delivery of health services to the Canberra community and catchment area. Following the endorsement of the National Arts and Health Framework in 2013 there is increasing awareness of the impressive national and international research that has repeatedly demonstrated that arts programs and activities make significant contributions to health outcomes.

In this work Natalie Bateman, a Yuin woman from the NSW South Coast, shows the Rainbow Serpent bringing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from the ACT and surrounding region in need of treatment to the CRCC with comfort, reassurance, guidance and spiritual strength.

In commissioning Natalie Bateman it was anticipated that her work would generate a sense of safety, a sense of validation and confidence in the CRCC as a place of excellence and supported learning.

Principle 4 

Natalie Bateman, Acknowledgement of Country 2013, acrylic on canvas

Canberra Region Cancer Centre (Arts and Health Program, ACT Health)