American Australian Association (AAA)

Indigenous Art in 2020

Event Description


‘COVID-19 has shown the good, the bad and the ugly’ | In a recent interview with the Adelaide Review, Sally Scales discussed the impact of the pandemic on the Indigenous communities of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in remote South Australia.


Sally, a Pitjantjatjara woman, Chairs the APY Council and works closely with Skye O’Meara, Manager of the APY Art Centre Collective: a group of 11 Indigenous owned and governed organizations that work with a united vision and voice on strategic business initiatives and  collaborative artistic projects.


Indigenous art centres are powerful places and vital to their communities. In a year marked by a global health crisis, protests for racial justice, economic instability and overall uncertainty, Sally and Skye have creatively navigated each challenge with honesty, gravity, and an incredible sense of humor. The remote APY communities remain COVID-free – while their artists continue to earn widespread recognition.


Join Sally, Skye, and Margo Smith, Director of the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection in Charlottesville, Virginia, for a conversation on Indigenous art, international collaboration and keeping culture strong in the midst of a global pandemic.


This webinar will include a Q&A with our speakers. Please submit your questions in advance to [email protected].



Sally Scales is a Pitjantjatjara woman from Pipalyatjara in the far west of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in remote South Australia. Sally is the daughter of Josephine Mick, a cultural leader and senior artist from Ninuku Arts and the late Ushma Scales, one of the founders of Maruku Arts and the APY cultural archive Ara Irititja. Sally was a Project Officer with Tjanpi Desert Weavers from 2008 -2010 and worked in the education sector from 2014-2018 on the remote schools strategy. Sally has worked with the APY Art Centre Collective since 2013 in Cultural Liaison, Elder Support and Spokesperson roles.In addition to working with the Collective, Sally is the Chair of the APY Council. Sally also undertakes consultancy work for the Art Gallery of South Australia and the South Australian Government and is a member of the Uluru Statement education committee, having been involved in the Referendum Council’s Constitution regional dialogues and national convention in 2017.On top of all of these commitments, Sally is foster mum to 3 year old Walter.


Skye O’Meara has worked passionately in the Indigenous Art Industry for the past 13 years. During 9 years as manager of Tjala Arts, Skye supported the Directors along with senior artists across the region to drive renowned projects like Kulata Tjuta and the APY Young Photographers program. Another important project undertaken was the publication of the Tjala Arts Book (Nganampa Kampatjangka Unngu: Beneath the Canvas) –the vision of APY elder and ‘boss’, Hector Burton. Skye also managed the enormously successful APY Gallery Pop Up gallery piloting the viability of the current APYACC endeavour. As the General Manager of the APY Art Centre Collective, Skye has coordinated and delivered an expansive range of prestigious regional outcomes.


Margo Smith (PhD, Virginia) has served as the Director and Curator of the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia since 1998. From 1995-97, she worked as the curator for John W. Kluge’s private collection of Australian Aboriginal art. As a graduate student, Smith conducted anthropological fieldwork in central Australian Aboriginal community of Finke, Northern Territory.

Smith has organized many exhibitions at the Kluge-Ruhe Collection and other venues in the US and abroad. She served as consulting curator on Dreaming Their Way: Australian Aboriginal Women Artists at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC in 2006 and Lignes de Vie (Lifelines) at the Musee de la Civilisation in Quebec, Canada in 2015. She co-edited Art from the Land: Dialogues with the Kluge-Ruhe Collection of Australian Aboriginal Art with Dr. Howard Morphy.


Smith was named an honorary Member of the Order of Australia in 2015.




USA: Thursday, Oct 15

6pm EDT | 3pm PDT

AUS: Friday, Oct 16

9am AEST | 8:30am ACST