To celebrate NAIDOC Week 2020 with a global audience, Pinterest Australia has partnered with Arnhem, Northern and Kimberley Artists Aboriginal Corporation (ANKA) to launch Northern Indigenous Renaissance, a digital art and photography exhibition connecting remote art centres to the virtual world.

The Corporation represents 47 Aboriginal-owned remote community art centres and an estimated 5,000 artists.  They consult with members to offer resources, marketing and promotion services, as well as advocacy and professional development training.

Carin Lee-Skelton, Country Manager Australia and New Zealand at Pinterest, said Northern Indigenous Renaissance is an opportunity to bring the inspiration of communities around Australia into a virtual space.

“There’ve been a lot of challenges this year with COVID-19, and it’s impacted NAIDOC Week. People aren’t able to travel to communities,” she said.

“We wanted to give people an opportunity to be inspired and discover the amazing work that’s happening around Australia.”

The exhibition is featured on the ANKA Pinterest profile, with a curated board for each participating artist or art centre.

“It was important for us to help people be inspired by and discover the artwork, the community, and the story behind the art,” Lee-Skelton said.

AKNA Operations Manager Belinda Foster said it was a great opportunity for artists to reach new audiences.

“Everyone’s having to think outside the square during these times, this partnership provides remote arts centres another way to connect with the wider world.”

“It’s great to be able to share their stories to a global audience, to talk about what they’re doing and they’re so proud to see their work show internationally.

“The artists want to share their story, and the more people that can learn about the art and communities the better.”

The NAIDOC 2020 theme ‘Always was, Always will be’ celebrates the continued care and occupation of First Nations people for over 60,000 years.

Foster said the launch of the exhibition honours both the theme and ANKA’s mission.

“The exhibition Northern Indigenous Renaissance acknowledges that we’re all standing on Indigenous land,” she said.

“ANKA’s tagline of keeping art, Country and culture strong , we felt tied in really well with the exhibition and the 2020 NAIDOC theme.

“The continuity of responsibility for Country makes a good pairing.”

Lee-Skelton added that this exhibition, the Pinterest shop and surrounding efforts will be an ongoing project.

“It was a great reflection to launch the exhibition during NAIDOC Week,” she said.

“NAIDOC Week [is] an opportunity to celebrate the history, culture and achievement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“This is something that will be an ongoing piece, we want to make sure people can continue to be inspired and discover the amazing art and the communities the art comes from.”

By Darby Ingram