In 2011, Rio Tinto received an ambitious proposal from the Art Gallery of Western Australia detailing an initiative to support Aboriginal artists and benefit communities across the Kimberley region.
It was a big idea. It required two years of research and consultation to finalise as a project, and for a partnership between the Art Gallery and Rio Tinto to be agreed.
The result is Desert River Sea – a six-year, $1.8 million, partnership.
The partnership will transform the way our state art gallery engages with and opens its doors to Indigenous art centres and artists in the furthest corners of Western Australia.
As the principal partner of Desert River Sea, it reaffirms for Rio Tinto the close relationship our business has built with Aboriginal communities over the past two decades.
We recognise the connection of Aboriginal people to their land and we actively collaborate to preserve the cultural heritage of traditional owners, as well as showcase their rich art and culture.
And our engagement extends across so many levels in our business, including through employment, training, cultural awareness, heritage and land use agreements.
We are thrilled to be a long-standing partner with one of the state’s major artistic institutions – with capacity to create new opportunities for emerging artists, and contribute to stronger, more vibrant and culturally engaged regional communities.
I have no doubt that Desert River Sea will be prominent in this regard.
Chris Salisbury, Chief executive – Iron Ore, Rio Tinto