16 February 2022

It is Rod’s and I’s great pleasure to be with you all this evening, for this special vernissage of the Helpmann Academy’s graduate exhibition.

This is our first event with the Academy since I became Governor and your patron, and we look forward to exploring the exhibition and getting to know you all.

South Australia’s reputation for artistic excellence is one of the great strengths of our state.

This is driven not only by the outstanding work of our flagship institutions and our world-renowned festivals, but also by the abundant talent we have in South Australia, and the ways in which we nurture it.

The only organisation of its kind in the nation, the Helpmann Academy, formed in honour of Sir Robert, has spent almost three decades supporting early career creatives to establish themselves both locally and overseas.

Its unique collaboration between the public and private sectors, and individual philanthropy, allows for grants, awards, fellowships, advisory services to help our young artists to fulfil their creative potential.

With the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, this support is more about important than ever before.

I commend the Helpmann Academy board, staff, and supporters for their vision, commitment and generous financial input.

Together, you make such an important contribution to promoting South Australia as a centre for excellence in creative education, and strengthening our state’s artistic community.

In addition, I congratulate all of the artists represented in this exhibition, with works ranging across multiple media.

Your work reflects clearly the talent I mentioned before, both in technical skill and emotional impact.

I wish you all the very best for the exciting and challenging careers ahead of you, as well as the awards which will be announced on opening night.

This evening I am also very pleased to announce the winners of a landmark public art commission for the Goolwa Wharf Precinct redevelopment – Ms Amber Cronin and Ms Annika Gardner.

These two young artists receive $150,000 to bring their artwork to life, with thanks to the Helpmann Academy, Alexandrina Council and the K & S Langley Fund.

Congratulations to you both, and it is my pleasure to now present you with a gift.