QAGOMA Foundation 2015 Annual Dinner
Kaye and I are truly delighted to join you tonight for my first official engagement as Patron of the Foundation – and what a splendid welcome we have received. Thank you!
Here where GOMA stands, on Kurilpa Point, was one of the great traditional meeting places of the First Australians who lived in this region. I pay my respects to those original custodians, and to the elders of the Jagera and Turrbal people of today.
I am particularly conscious of this connection with Australia’s ancient cultures tonight when we will have the privilege of previewing the work of Brook Andrew. As you know, this proud Waradjuri man is one of Australia’s most exciting contemporary Indigenous artists, and Kaye and I are looking forward immensely both to hearing him in conversation with GOMA’s own Maud Page this evening, and to seeing more of his work when the eighth Asia Pacific Triennial opens next month.
This year’s dinner marks a very significant achievement by the Foundation – one hundred million dollars raised since nineteen seventy-nine when the original Board and members set out on their quest to raise significant funds to develop the Gallery’s collection. I feel a strong personal connection with the early days of the Foundation because I became a member myself seventeen years ago, and I know that back then, a decade after the Foundation began, philanthropy was something of a Quixotic pursuit in this State. However, after thirty-six years of tilting at windmills, the Board can point with justifiable pride to visible and tangible evidence of their success – more than seven thousand artworks (forty per cent of the collection!).
The latest work acquired as a result of the Foundation’s efforts is another reminder of the very long history of Indigenous peoples in the Pacific region. It is marvellous to see the Gallery acquire Lisa Reihana’s extraordinary video creation, thanks to the generosity of Paul and Susan Taylor and the many Foundation appeal donors. Kaye and I have promised ourselves we will find half an hour, as soon as we can, to slip anonymously into Gallery Six to quietly immerse ourselves in the wonderful experience she has created.
Members and donors, whatever the size of their gift, make an exceptional contribution to the gallery and to our State, and for that, on behalf of all Queenslanders, I thank them.
It is a privilege and pleasure to be with you all tonight and, like you, Kaye and I are looking forward to savouring the splendid creations of GOMA’s Executive Chef.
Bon appetit and enjoy your evening!