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Bond launches major public Indigenous art display

Bond University has launched an on campus guided tour of Australia's largest private collection of indigenous art – the Corrigan Walk.

The outstanding collection of more than 400 pieces, features some of Australia’s most prestigious and emerging indigenous artists.

The collection has been assembled at the University over the past six years from the donations and efforts of one of Australia’s most prodigious art collectors and patrons, Dr Patrick Corrigan AM.

The Corrigan Walk showcases the pieces in three locations across the campus, including the Gregor Heiner Foyer in the Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine, The Loggia in the Chancellery and the University Club Restaurant. The script for the Corrigan Walk was created by Indigenous art expert, Adam Knight.

Bond’s very own Indigenous students will provide the guided tours, sharing the stories of the artists and the paintings, and the University’s Indigenous commitments.

Artists featured in the collection include renowned central western desert artist Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, one of Australia's most significant female Australian Aboriginal Artists Gloria Petyarre, master of paint and colour Tommy Watson and internationally popular contemporary Aboriginal artist Sally Gabori.

The Corrigan Walk was launched today (2 August 2013) by Bond University Vice-Chancellor Professor Tim Brailsford commemorated with an aboriginal smoke and dance ceremony and special guest appearance by Dr Corrigan AM.

Professor Brailsford said the Corrigan Walk was part of an astonishing collection that formed the largest private collection of indigenous art on public display anywhere in the country.

"As well as the Corrigan Walk, there are many artworks displayed throughout the campus, where they are – quite literally – part of the scenery for our students as they pass by on their way to the library, lectures and tutorials," he said.

"It is very much a ‘living display’ to be seen and enjoyed every day by everyone who works, studies, lives on and visits the campus.

"We are proud to be able to share this wealth of indigenous art thanks to the generosity of our major benefactor and friend of the University, Dr Patrick Corrigan AM who has almost single-handedly created the Bond University Indigenous Art Collection through personal donations, loans and procurement."

The Bond Collection also sits well with the Gold Coast's reputation as an art and cultural centre, with the city boasting one of the most prestigious regional art galleries in Australia.

"The Gold Coast is rapidly developing a strong cultural ethos as it implements a new cultural strategy to develop a precinct relevant to modern forms of cultural expression and learning," said Professor Brailsford.

"Bond University's indigenous art collection is a valuable contribution to the effort to ‘make visible’ the Gold Coast’s cultural and creative life."

Professor Brailsford said Dr Corrigan had been instrumental in encouraging various colleagues to donate individual pieces and collections to the University through his business and art world networks.

As well as the collection, Dr Corrigan had enabled the University to raise money to fund Bond scholarships for promising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

"Currently, indigenous students make up just 1.4 per cent of all enrolments at Australian universities and they have lower retention and completion rates when compared to non-indigenous students," he said.

"Bond University is determined to help address this disadvantage.We are committed to playing our part in raising the health, education and economic outcomes for indigenous people by making sure they have the education and leadership skills they need to drive change within their communities.

"We currently have 43 indigenous students studying on campus, eight of whom are on scholarships.

“Our efforts are already making a difference as Bond’s indigenous student retention and completion rates are among the best in the country."

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