Melbourne Art Foundation is delighted to announce the appointment of Alira McKenzie Williams as Program Coordinator of the Melbourne Art Fair Indigenous Art Centre Program.
MAF IACP is an initiative of the Melbourne Art Foundation delivered in partnership with Agency Projects, and funded under the Australian Government’s Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support (IVAIS) and Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) programs.
The Indigenous Art Centre Program supports the participation of Indigenous-owned Art Centres at Melbourne Art Fair with the express aim to promote Indigenous contemporary artists, in addition to providing economic benefits, employment opportunities, access and capacity building support for communities.
Alira is a proud Bundjalung woman from New South Wales who resides in South Australia, seconded to the project from The Art Gallery of South Australia. She started her career as the first Aboriginal Trainee at the State Theatre Company of South Australia to study Stage Management, the Traineeship allowed Alira to study at Tafe SA in tandem with Assistant Stage Managing theatre productions. She has since worked on many theatre productions in various roles such as a Stage Manager, Assistant Stage Manager and Assistant Director. Alira also completed placements at the Sydney Theatre Company and Brink Productions.
Alira has developed a passion for working in the arts after volunteering for TARNANTHI in 2015, specifically for Bound & Unbound Sovereign Acts with the Unbound Collective. She has worked on every Tarnanthi since its inception and has been employed by The Art Gallery of South Australia as Public Programs Officer, Tarnanthi since 2019. While working at AGSA, Alira has worked across all departments to create engaging programs in collaboration with the current exhibitions.
“Artists, art centres and communities are at the heart of The Art Gallery of South Australia’s identity, with our Tarnanthi Festival exemplifying our commitment to First Nations”, says Dr. Lisa Slade, Assistant Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia.
“We are thrilled to be working with the Melbourne Art Foundation and Agency Projects to expand the professional development opportunities for members of the AGSA team. This is a great way for us to grow. This collaboration will extend the skills of our staff – specifically in this inaugural role those of Alira McKenzie, our Tarnanthi Public Programs Officer. It will also of course share Alira’s skillset with new audiences and introduce her to new artists, new practices and new possibilities.”
Indigenous-owned Art Centres participating in the inaugural program include Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre, Yirrkala; Jilamara Arts & Crafts Association, Milikapiti; Milingimbi Art, Milingimbi; Waringarri Aboriginal Arts, Kununurra; and Warlayirti Artists, Balgo.
Alira McKenzie Williams, Indigenous Art Centre Program Coordinator says, “I am honored to have been given this opportunity to take on the inaugural role as Indigenous Art Centre Programs Coordinator in collaboration with Melbourne Art Fair and Agency Projects. Supporting and learning from artists is what motivates me and this role will allow me to foster my skills in the commercial gallery space and build meaningful connections with Aboriginal Art Centres.”
The Melbourne Art Fair Indigenous Art Centre Program celebrates successful industry collaboration and teamwork, notes Kade McDonald, CEO Agency Projects.
“Agency Projects is committed to developing opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creative and cultural practitioners to build capacity and become leaders in the arts and cultural sector. Agency’s inaugural secondment program presents a unique opportunity for knowledge exchange and collaboration whilst simultaneously achieving an innovative approach to First Nations employment. We welcome Alira McKenzie in her role as Indigenous Art Centre Program Coordinator of the 2022 Indigenous Art Centre Program and thank the Melbourne Art Foundation and AGSA for their contribution in this inaugural appointment.”
Melbourne Art Fair returns in the Victorian summer 17-20 February 2022 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre in South Wharf, to present solo presentations and works of scale and significance from 63 of the region’s leading contemporary art galleries and Art Centres.
The Melbourne Art Fair Indigenous Art Centre Program is an initiative of Melbourne Art Foundation delivered in partnership with Agency Projects, funded under the Australian Government’s Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support (IVAIS) and Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) programs.