Our History

Ku Arts (Aṉanguku Arts and Cultural Aboriginal Corporation) is the South Australian, Aboriginal owned and governed arts support organisation. It was formed by the artists of the Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in 1998.

We assist art centres, artists and arts workers with governance support, project development, human resource management, employment and training as well as facilitating creative and professional development workshops. Ku Arts provides information, forums and shared services on a regional and state-wide level.

Ku Arts was established in 1998 as a regional marketing vehicle for the three APY art centres operating at the time, in Pukatja (Ernabella Arts), Fregon (Kaltjiti Arts), Indulkana (Iwantja Arts) and the burgeoning centre in Amata (Minymaku Arts- now Tjala Arts). Artists and Art Centre Managers recognised the need to pool resources to promote the art being created in the three eastern APY communities and to help establish more art centres in other communities across the region. In 2002, Ku Arts was incorporated and over time took on the role of establishing locally owned and governed art centres in Nyapari (Tjungu Palya), Kalka (Ninuku Arts) and Mimili (Mimili Maku Arts). 

In the early 2000s it became clear that other Aboriginal artists in South Australia who worked in regions where there was no community owned art centre needed the support and advocacy of an Aboriginal arts organisation. In 2006, Ku Arts established the Statewide Indigenous Community Arts Development (SICAD) Project to assist artists in regional areas access professional and creative skills development opportunities, enterprise development and the creation of career pathways for artists across disciplines.

The organisation’s key achievement is its contribution to building the South Australian Aboriginal fine art movement through a strategic program of development opportunities since 2004, which has included:

  • Roving arts workshop projects for artists in Western APY Lands
  • Recruitment of art centre managers with specific fine art skills and teaching capacity
  • Regional art workshops focusing on bringing men into art centres
  • Start up and management of three art centres: Tjungu Palya [2004], Ninuku Arts [2004] and Mimili Maku Arts [2006, 2009]
  • Development of the Statewide Indigenous Community Artists’ Development (SICAD) project [2006]
  • Establishing the annual Our Mob exhibition [2006], with the Adelaide Festival Centre and Country Arts SA. Our Mob is a state-wide survey show of new work from South Australian artists
  • Development of the APY Art Workers program
  • Major survey exhibitions Tjukurpa Pulkatjara [2009] and Ngintaka [2014]
  • Construction and upgrades of infrastructure across the APY Lands

 

 
 Mr David Miller painting outside of Kalka community, APY Lands, 2018. Photo by Melanie Henderson, Ku Arts.

Mr David Miller painting outside of Kalka community, APY Lands, 2018. Photo by Melanie Henderson, Ku Arts.