Saturday, 2 April 2022

I am very pleased to be with you for the opening of the ‘Remember When’ exhibition, here in the Black Diamond gallery.

In my first six months as Governor I’ve been getting to know our visual arts community, through gallery visits, attendance at festivals and even some events at Government House.

It’s lovely to see John, your Chair, again after his investiture at Government House in November, when I presented him with his Medal in the Order of Australia as part of the Queen’s Birthday honours.

Of course, Port Adelaide is known for being home to a large number of creative artists, and I’m very pleased to make my first visit to this centre today and to have the opportunity to speak with artists and members.

I have heard Port Adelaide described as being almost like a “large country town”, due to its strong sense of community spirit and activity that extends beyond locals to embrace visitors.

I commend the Port Community Arts Centre for its role as a hub for local artists, as well as for art lovers from right across Adelaide and even country areas.

For 30 years, this Centre has been run entirely by volunteers, and has a very healthy membership of 230 on the books.

Undoubtedly many of the members today have dedicated countless hours to the Centre, organising events and workshops, doing publicity, administration, and a myriad of other tasks.

I sincerely thank you all for your commitment to the Centre, to the Port and to the arts in South Australia.

Volunteers are the lifeblood of so many endeavours in our state, and without you all initiatives like this exhibition would not be possible.

The pandemic has posed considerable challenges to community organisations in the past few years and I am very pleased that the Centre, with its long history, strong membership and volunteer base, has weathered this storm extremely well.

I also thank the Centre for, on occasion, using its exhibitions to raise funds for the broader community.

Today the fortunate recipient is Military and Emergency Services Health Australia, known as ‘MESHA’.

The veterans’ art programme through MESHA supports returned servicemen and women with art therapy, a practice gaining increasing recognition in the field of mental health.

I am looking forward to hearing more from Kaz Pedersen, Board member and MESHA art tutor, who is speaking shortly.

To all the artists present today, congratulations on your contributions to this exhibition.

The quality of work and diverse range of responses to the theme ‘Remember When’ will give visitors much to think about as they peruse the exhibition.

In particular I note the presence of works from several veterans, who came into contact with the Centre via their involvement with the MESHA art therapy programmes.

I hope this is just the beginning of an ongoing relationship with the Port Community Arts Centre community!

It is now my great pleasure to declare the exhibition officially open.