Launch of ‘Vital Signs’ – An Exhibition of the 2014 Queensland Regional Art Awards
Good afternoon and thank you for the warm welcome you have given me.
This is my first engagement with Flying Arts since becoming your Governor in July last year, and, shortly afterwards, Flying Arts’ new Patron. It is an honour to continue the unbroken run of vice-regal patronage that began when Sir Walter Campbell, Queensland’s 21st Governor, became the organisation’s inaugural patron in 1985.
Part of my duties, as Governor and Patron, is to promote the significant contribution this organisation makes, and will continue to make, to Queensland’s vibrant cultural scene.
Flying Arts, and the artists the organisation supports, diligently go about ensuring our regional and rural fellow Queenslanders reap the many manifest individual and community benefits that access to the arts brings.
Living in “the bush” can be a spiritually uplifting experience. But there is a corresponding spiritual burden brought about by isolation, exacerbated in Queensland’s sparsely dispersed population by vast distances.
This is the real value of Flying Arts’ work: the workshops, exhibitions and opportunities you deliver for regional Queenslanders provide outlets for meaningful creative collaboration, access to quality artistic output, and, importantly, foster increased connectedness.
Strengthening community connectedness goes some way to ameliorating the spiritual burden of isolation. Connectedness is one of the great ramparts of maintaining positive mental health during testing times. Alongside hope, this is what appears to sustain many Queenslanders as they confront the deleterious effects of this prolonged drought.
Your work will be the catalyst for people constellating at the Texas Regional Art Gallery, or the Tablelands Regional Gallery in Atherton, where this touring exhibition will visit. The culmination of your efforts, through this exhibition, provides an anchor from which community members can calibrate the vigour, and reflect upon, their communities’ Vital Signs.
Congratulations to all the artists who have contributed to this exhibition, and for their successes in last year’s Regional Art Awards. I thank Flying Arts staff, their board, exhibition curator, Dr Lisa Chandler, and the many supporters here today.
It is my absolute privilege and honour to support the remarkable outcomes you so enthusiastically achieve. Thank you.