Cultural ambassadors ready to take Victoria to the world
Published: 5 September 2022
Art can tell us so much about ourselves.
We pour our hopes, our fears, our dreams into art.
We use it to communicate with ech other, and to create a shared understanding of the world around us.
It makes sense then, that we can use art to share important stories with the rest of the world.
Think of it as cultural ambassadorship.
A cultural library
The award-winning building, which opened its doors in November 2021, is home to a stunning collection.
From the First Nations artworks donated by Carrillo and Ziyin Gantner, to the most significant collection of historic and contemporary Australian ceramics in regional Australia, SAM is well placed to guide visitors on a cultural journey.
"Shepparton sits on Yorta Yorta lands, within the largest First Nations community in Victoria," said Melinda Martin, CEO of SAM.
"So, we have a very proud heritage and history to build on, and important stories to tell," she added.
Belinda Briggs, SAM Curator - Indigenous, sees the potential for SAM to operate as a cultural library.
"I think it could be like the local library, you know, where you've got books on the shelves that are ready for you to select and engage with."
"Here, it will be the same with artworks," said Belinda.
Belinda, who is also a board member and vice-president of Kaiela Arts, an Aboriginal art centre co-located in the SAM building, is confident that the stories told there will resonate with all visitors.
“Kaiela Arts comes from a long line of continuing the practice of storytelling and keeping ourselves connected, in that way, to each other and to Country, and making sure future generations know where they come from,” she said.
"It is through the interpretation and sharing of the stories in our artworks that Kaiela Arts and SAM are able to generate programming that is centred around local places and people.”
“But, we can do it in a way that connects with universal themes that people from around the world can identify with," she added.
Melinda Martin also sees the potential for SAM to become a global destination.
"We know that international visitors have an incredible love of First Nations artwork," said Melinda.
"We are going to be well placed to help them, and visitors from around Australia, to engage with our First Nations culture."
"They are going to come away inspired," she added.
One of the ways in which Melinda Martin is planning to broaden SAM's appeal is by offering multi-lingual tours, so visitors can experience the museum in their preferred language.
"We want everyone to feel that they belong, and that their voices matter in our space," said Melinda.