Legislative Council: Thursday, November 03, 2022


Purrumpa, First Nations Arts and Cultural National Gathering

The Hon. R.B. MARTIN (14:36): My question is to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. Will the minister please inform the council on the First Nations Arts and Cultural National Gathering, Purrumpa, currently being held in Adelaide?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:37): I thank the honourable member for his question in relation to an area within my portfolio of Aboriginal Affairs. First, I want to say that we have been exceptionally fortunate here in Adelaide in recent times to host significant First Nation events and Purrumpa is just another such event. In the Kaurna language the word Purrumpa translates roughly to blossom. I am informed that the use of the name and the suggestion was generously provided by Kaurna elder Lewis O'Brien. I know that Lewis O'Brien's son, Michael O'Brien, has been involved in the Purrumpa Festival during the course of this week.

The gathering is still underway. It is held over five days at the Adelaide Convention Centre, from 31 October to 1 November. This festival is the second national gathering of its type. The first one, a gathering of First Nations artists, was held in Canberra in 1973, and approximately 400 representatives attended from across the country. It was funded at the time by the then newly-formed Aboriginal Arts Board of the Australia Council, and met its guidelines for designing and supporting the activation of First Nations people around the country to participate in wideranging arts events.

To now have the Purrumpa festival and gathering of First Nations artists from around Australia held on the 50th anniversary in Adelaide is something I am particularly proud of. Purrumpa started on Monday morning with an address from Premier Peter Malinauskas and the federal minister, Linda Burney, after an official opening and a welcome to his country performed by Moogy Sumner. Over the five days of the festival there were many different activities that took place. I saw stations for things like weaving and different sorts of visual arts practices taking place with many, many talented Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists from across Australia, who came to Adelaide to share their art forms and share how they go about their art forms.

The arts for Aboriginal people is exceptionally important. It does a number of things. It is an ability to express culture, to express tens of thousands of years of Aboriginal cultural in an artistic form. It allows both Aboriginal people and non-Aboriginal people to take a shared pride in our history and our culture. Also, in many Aboriginal communities, particularly remote Aboriginal communities, it's a source of income and economic benefit that artists and arts centres provide.

Personally, I know that in the six arts centres across the APY lands, the arts centre in Ceduna and the soon-to-be established arts centre established at Umoona in the Aboriginal communities outside Davenport it is activating not just a sense of pride but opportunities and economic advancement for Aboriginal people.

So I want to congratulate all those from the Australia Council, the federal government and the state government who have contributed to the planning, organisation and funding of the Purrumpa festival in Adelaide over the course of the last week, including tomorrow. I also acknowledge the wide range of events that were put on outside of the formal festival, including the dinner that I attended last night and the welcome at Tandanya on Monday night that I wasn't able to attend, and the generous sponsorship of many organisations.