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Queensland Indigenous Artist Ron Hurley Honoured

Media Release - Friday 27 May 2005

Key Queensland Indigenous Artist and founding chairperson of the Government's Indigenous art export agency, the late Ron Hurley, was honoured today when a website of his work was launched.

"The website is a dedication to the life of one of Australia's prominent contemporary Aboriginal artists", Queensland Premier Peter Beattie said.

"The site will provide an opportunity to learn about his art, his career and life. It will recognise and showcase the artist's work and his contribution to Australia's Indigenous arts industry.

"It will also serve as an important education tool for visitors to learn more about the history and cultures of Indigenous people and contemporary art, specifically Queensland's Indigenous visual arts industry.

"I encourage everyone to visit the site at www.ronhurley.com and witness his important legacy.'

Parliament Secretary to the Minister for Energy and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy, Mrs Linda Lavarch, said Ron Hurley was a great Indigenous artist.

"His talent was recognised nationally and internationally,' she said.

"He was a key figure in the Aboriginal art industry's development for almost 40 years, beginning in the 1960s.

"He was regarded with pride by all Queenslanders, and particularly by the Indigenous community.

"Throughout his career, he was not only an artist and teacher, he also advised state and national boards and committees on Indigenous and arts related issues."

Born in 1946 in Mount Gravatt, Ron's career in the arts began in the mid 1960s when he was manager of the first commercial Aboriginal arts and craft shop in Sydney, which established by the Foundation for Aboriginal Affairs.

He graduated from the Queensland College of Art in 1975, studied for a Diploma of Visual Arts at Queensland University of Technology, then went on to teach art.

In 1992 the Federal Government funding body for the arts, the Australia Council for the Arts, awarded him the artist's residency at the Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris.

In 1993, he travelled to Europe with the survey exhibition 'Aratjara, Art of the First Australians: Traditional and Contemporary Works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Artists.' The exhibition toured Germany, England and Denmark.

In later years, Ron returned to Brisbane where he continued his arts practice in the media of printmaking, painting, ceramics and sculpture. His art is on display in many of Brisbane's public buildings and parklands as part of the Queensland Government's Art Built In Project.

Throughout his career, Ron Hurley was engaged with various boards and committees at a state and national level, giving advice on Indigenous and arts-related issues.

During 1993-96, he served as Chairman of the Visual Arts Committee of the Aboriginal Arts Unit, Australia Council for the Arts. He was a Trustee of the Queensland Art Gallery during 1996-97.

Examples of his art held in the state and national collections including the Queensland Art Gallery and the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.

One of the artist's major projects involved working with the traditional carvers of the Aboriginal community of Aurukun in Cape York.

In 2001, in recognition of his vision and strong advocacy of Queensland Indigenous art, Premier Beattie appointed him Chair of the Queensland Government's Indigenous Art Promotion Project Reference Panel.

"Ron was instrumental in the establishment of the Queensland Indigenous Arts Marketing and Export Agency (QAIMEA),' Mr Beattie said.

"QIAMEA was set up by my Government in 2003 to carry on the important work begun by the Indigenous Art Promotion Reference Panel by raising awareness of Queensland Indigenous arts and practitioners both domestically and internationally."

Mrs Lavarch paid tribute to Ron's widow, Colleen, and children, Angelina and Simon: "On behalf of Queenslanders around the state, I want to thank you for keeping his legacy alive through this website."