BENDIGO Art Gallery has welcomed the idea of an Indigenous art gallery in the city's arts precinct.
It comes after Bendigo Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Fair curator Janet Bromley shared her hope for a permanent space dedicated to showcasing the talents of the region's Indigenous artists all throughout the year, not just during NAIDOC Week.
Bendigo Art Gallery director Jessica Bridgfoot said it was timely in NAIDOC Week to be having discussions about the display of First Nations art in Bendigo.
"The gallery is proud to partner with local First Nations practitioners to share their culture through art but would also welcome and encourage a First Nations-led gallery space opening in the arts precinct," Ms Bridgfoot said.
A space dedicated to the display of Indigenous art is planned for the Bendigo Art Gallery.
Ms Bridgfoot said a First Nations policy was being developed in consultation with First Nations communities.
The policy would guide the future acquisition of First Nations art and help plan for the dedicated gallery space, which was expected to display a broad selection of Indigenous art from across Australia.
"This year we are also rolling out a First Nations engagement program that seeks to bring First Nations art practitioners and participants into the gallery and encourage sharing of culture," Ms Bridgfoot said.
Ms Bromley welcomed Ms Bridgfoot's comments and the gallery's recent efforts to celebrate and share Indigenous art and culture.
The gallery has employed a First Nations curator - one of the first regional galleries to do so.
"Last year we were pleased to participate in a repatriation project that returned 20 significant Dja Dja Wurrung cultural artefacts to Bendigo from Beechworth, which were then displayed publicly," Ms Bridgfoot said.
"The gallery is proud to now be a 'Place of Keeping' for this collection, which is specially housed in custom-made cases and overseen by the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation."
Upcoming exhibitions include Desert Lines, showcasing Batik artwork by women from the Central Desert area, and the inaugural Going Solo: First Nations exhibition.
The exhibition will feature the a new body of work by Gunditjamara and Yorta Yorta artist Josh Muir, which is focused on mental health.
Ms Bridgfoot said Muir's work had an interactive component and was targeted at young people.
"Bendigo Art Gallery strongly supports celebrating our First Nations people and sharing their culture through our collection, exhibitions and learning programs," she said.
Ms Bromley's said her vision for an Indigenous art gallery in Bendigo was for a space that would not just exhibit works, but be a place where people could go to buy pieces.
She, again, referenced Kaiela Arts Shepparton as an example of what could be achieved.
Bendigo's NAIDOC Week program consists of a number of art attractions.
The City of Greater Bendigo will mark the official start of festivities on Monday with a civic reception and flag-raising ceremony at the Bendigo Library Gardens.
For the full Bendigo NAIDOC Week program, click here.
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