Culture, Art and Heritage

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Culture, Art and Heritage

Regional Goal

Protect, promote, revitalise and maintain Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal traditions and cultural heritage.

Programme Goal

The Culture, Art and Heritage programme goal is:

  • to recognise that Culture, Art and Heritage are central pillars of regional development, and will protect, promote, revitalise and maintain Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal traditions and cultural heritage

Programme Objectives

The Culture, Art and Heritage Programme component will:

  • protect culturally significant sites and artefacts to ensure longevity
  • revitalise and maintain traditional cultural practices (art, dance, language, storytelling and songs) among communities
  • ensure the protection of traditional knowledge, intellectual property and copyright
  • underpin services and management practices with cultural values, and protocols.

The Culture, Art and Heritage programme goal is to recognise that Culture, Art and Heritage are central pillars of regional development, and will protect, promote, revitalise and maintain Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal traditions and cultural heritage.

Programme Deliverables

  • An active and sustainable arts and craft industry in the region.
  • Cultural values and protocols are integrated into service planning and management practice.
  • The unique cultural heritage and histories of the region are preserved, maintained and promoted.
  • Strong, supported and respected Ailan Kastom.
  • The copyright, intellectual property and traditional knowledge of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people in the region are protected.

Programme Appropriation Expenditure 2014 - 2015

Table 2-14: Culture, Art and Heritage Programme Appropriation Expenditure, 2014 - 2015 (unaudited)

Budget
$’000
Actual
$’000
Variance
$’000
4,630 4,499 131

Programme External Funding Expenditure 2014 - 2015

Table 2-15: Culture, Art and Heritage Programme External Funding Expenditure, 2014 - 2015 (unaudited)

Budget
$’000
Actual
$’000
Variance
$’000
337 250 87

Torres Strait Development Plan Outcomes

  • An active and sustainable arts and craft industry.
  • Cultural values and protocols are integrated into service planning and management practices.
  • The unique cultural heritage and histories of the region are preserved, maintained and promoted.
  • A strong, supported and respected Ailan Kastom.
  • The copyright, intellectual property and traditional knowledge of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people in the region are protected.

Programme Performance

Activity Flag Status
Arts development programme a yellow circle Three art centres in the region are supported through this programme. Operational funding is provided as part of the TSRA’s partnership with the Australian Government Ministry for the Arts and Arts Queensland. Support in governance, leadership and arts administration is also provided to the art centres. Art skills development, artists’ forums and professional development workshops are also provided to support the development of a strong arts industry based on Torres Strait cultural product. In 2014 - 2015 art skills workshops covered painting and sculpture, project planning and grant writing. Artists’ forums covered copyright, professional arts network services and marketing.
Culture, art and heritage grants a yellow circle The grants programme supported 22 applications over two grant rounds in 2014 -2015. These grants support and encourage the development, promotion and maintenance of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal culture in the region.
Cultural maintenance programme a yellow circle The cultural maintenance programme covers the grants programme, the cultural maintenance exhibition programme in the Gab Titui Cultural Centre and the management of all relevant projects. In 2014 - 2015, the cultural maintenance exhibition ‘Evolution: Torres Strait Masks’ was held at the Gab Titui Cultural Centre. This exhibition has been recognised as being culturally significant by the National Museum of Australia and negotiations are in progress to tour the exhibition to Canberra and then nationally.
Cultural Policy implementation and Protocols a yellow circle The Culture, Art and Heritage (CAH) Programme delivers cultural orientation sessions for new staff to the TSRA and guides the use of the TSRA Cultural Policy and the accompanying Cultural Protocols: a guide for TSRA staff. In 2014 - 2015, the TSRA worked with other government departments in the region with the aim of incorporating cultural protocols into service delivery arrangements. The TSRA Cultural Policy will be reviewed, updated and expanded in 2015 -2016.
Dance strategy a yellow circle The Torres Strait dance strategy promotes and supports the performance of Torres Strait dance at high-profile national and international events. In 2014 - 2015, dance teams were selected through an application and assessment process to perform at the Darwin Festival in August 2014 and the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair in 2015.
The Gab Titui Indigenous Art Award a yellow circle This exhibition is an annual and major event in the Gab Titui calendar. The 2014 - 2015 event opened on 18 June with 50 entries from across the region. Over 400 people attended and prizes were awarded in a number of categories, including the ‘Overall Winner’; ‘Runner-up’; and ‘People’s Choice Award’.
Gab Titui Cultural Centre touring exhibitions a yellow circle The exhibition ‘Bipotaim: Torres Strait Islander culture before settlement’ returned home to the Gab Titui Cultural Centre in 2014 after an extended tour that included the Queensland State Library and the National Museum of Australia.
The Torres Strait language strategy a yellow circle ‘Empowering our language, in our culture, for our future’ was the theme of the inaugural Torres Strait Language Symposium, held at the Gab Titui Cultural Centre from 11 to 13 March 2015. The formation of the Torres Strait Language Reference Group, made up of representatives from each of the five island clusters of the Torres Strait, was one of the outcomes of the symposium. This group will act as a conduit for participation by communities in the development of a Torres Strait language charter and in the development of activities generated through the planned Torres Strait language centre, planned for 2015 - 2016.
Music strategy – Music and Dance Audit a gray circle The Music and Dance Audit has been progressively rolled out across the Torres Strait region since 2007. CD and DVD productions of Torres Strait dance and music have been completed for 14 communities. The Mer Island community launched their CD/DVD at the Mabo Day celebrations on 29 June 2015. Recordings for the communities of Masig and Kubin (Moa Island) are nearing completion. The Northern Peninsula Area communities’ project began in June 2015 and will be completed in 2015 - 2016.
Support to local artists a yellow circle The Gab Titui Cultural Centre supports between 70 and 120 local artists to promote and sell their work. In 2014 - 2015 Gab Titui returned a total of $142,000 in sales to local artists and suppliers. Additionally through the projects and strategies already mentioned, the CAH Programme continued to develop the professional abilities of artists across all disciplines.
Legend
an open circle
Not yet started
a yellow circle
Completed / On schedule
a gray circle
Behind schedule less than three months
a black circle
Behind schedule more than three months

Additional Programme Specific Performance Indicators

Indicator Flag Status
Increased income generated through retail sales via the Gab Titui Cultural Centre and established art centres in the region. a black circle Overall sales of product through the Gab Titui Cultural Centre (GTCC) did not achieve a 5% increase on the previous year’s sales as per development plan targets (See the financial statements in Section 5). This was primarily due to planned renovations of the GTCC Four Winds building. It is anticipated that sales will increase in 2015 - 2016 when renovations are complete. The three art centres have achieved an increase in sales this year.
Increased number of TSRA funded and supported activities that are based on Torres Strait Islander (Ailan Kastom) and Aboriginal cultural traditions in the Torres Strait region. a yellow circle In 2014 - 2015, the Culture, Art and Heritage (CAH) Programme supported 22 grant funded projects; held the Inaugural Torres Strait Language Symposium; secured a $150,000 grant from the Ministry for the Arts to develop a Torres Strait language centre plan; and launched two cultural projects at the GTCC.
Increase in cultural heritage material and information specific to each community in the region that is documented, registered and accessible. a yellow circle In 2014 - 2015 the CAH Programme continued with its key cultural maintenance initiative: the Music and Dance Audit project. This year Mer community launched their CD and DVD, the Masig community’s CD and DVD package was completed and the Kubin community’s music and dance recordings progressed, nearing completion.The CAH Programme works closely with the Environmental Management Programme in the traditional ecological knowledge database project. Community-driven cultural heritage projects were supported through the CAH grants programme.
Increase in the number of emerging and professionally active artists and cultural practitioners that have access to information and support to ensure copyright and intellectual property rights. a yellow circle The CAH Programme supported artists and cultural practitioners in the region through a range of activities. Support was provided through the coordination of Arts Law Centre workshops and individual meetings with artists; an artists’ forum; ongoing distribution of information on copyright and licensing laws to artists; and development of a two-day conference for artists and cultural practitioners covering intellectual property and copyrights, licensing agreements, wills, code of conduct within the arts industry and re-sale royalties.
Legend
an open circle
Not yet started
a yellow circle
KPI achieved
a gray circle
KPI partially achieved
a black circle
KPI not achieved

a photograph of attendees at Torres Strait Language Symposium

Attendees at Torres Strait Language Symposium.

PERFORMANCE MEASURES

  • Increased income generated through retail sales via the Gab Titui Cultural Centre and established art centres in the region.
  • Increase in profile of emerging and established artists and cultural practitioners in the region and the production and sale of regionally produced arts and crafts.
  • Increased number of TSRA funded and supported activities that are based on Torres Strait Islander (Ailan Kastom) and Aboriginal cultural traditions in the Torres Strait region.
  • Increase in cultural heritage material and information specific to each community in the region that is documented, registered and accessible.
  • Increase in the number of emerging and professionally active artists and cultural practitioners that have access to information and support to ensure copyright and Intellectual property rights.

Figure 2-2: Culture Art and Heritage Programme Map

Figure 2-2: Culture Art and Heritage Programme Map

Case Study: Cultural Maintenance

The Gab Titui Cultural Centre is the Torres Strait’s first keeping place for historical artefacts and contemporary Indigenous art. The focus of the centre is to contribute to the maintenance, revitalisation and preservation of Torres Strait culture and the development and promotion of local Indigenous art.

The Ephraim Bani Gallery annually showcases a cultural maintenance exhibition with themes and issues of importance to the cultural identity of the Torres Strait and its people, with the aim of preserving local culture, history and heritage.

The 2015 Cultural Maintenance Exhibition is a significant project. The purpose is to highlight the continuing importance of Torres Strait masks, their evolution from the past and influence on present day contemporary art forms. Masks are representational of ancestral, supernatural and / or totemic beings that form an important component in the traditional beliefs of Torres Strait Islanders.

The exhibition takes the viewer on a journey from time immemorial when masks were used in ceremonial rituals involving art, theatre and dance by the ancestors. It tells of how these historic artefacts, that are now kept in national and international institutions, have inspired new and innovative works.

Masks are artistically impressive and culturally significant for Torres Strait Islanders and the art of making highly decorative masks has been practised for centuries.

Masks are artistically impressive and culturally significant for Torres Strait Islanders and the art of making highly decorative masks has been practised for centuries. Irrespective of the impact of western culture on the Torres Strait, the art of creating masks and choreographing new dances are part of a continuing cultural tradition. The Gab Titui Cultural Centre has acknowledged the importance of showcasing and interpreting the storylines from the past to the present by commissioning contemporary works by identified local mask makers.

The exhibition was curated by the Culture, Art and Heritage Programme, with the invaluable support of award-winning Badu Island artist, Alick Tipoti.

Torres Strait islanders masks

Images left to right: Keris, Eddie Nona (Badu); Kuki Sagulaw Mawa, Vincent Babia (Saibai); Sor Kobir 1, Andrew Passi (Mer); Naga Mawa, Yessie Mosby (Masig). Photos: George Serras, National Museum of Australia