Indigenous art assists Indigenous psychologists of the future

An exhibition of Indigenous art will be opened in Melbourne today to raise funds to assist Indigenous Australian students with their postgraduate studies in psychology.

The Australian Psychological Society's Bendi Lango Foundation has already contributed to three bursaries, each worth $30,000, to help to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage in Australia.

With only 39 Indigenous psychologists in Australia (0.1 per cent of the psychology profession) providing psychological care for Indigenous people (who make up 2.5 per cent of the population), more are required to achieve equitable participation of Indigenous people within psychology. The Bendi Lango bursaries are a positive step towards graduating an additional 589 Indigenous psychologists, which would see parity within the profession.

The 2010 Bendi Lango art exhibition will be opened at 3.30pm today in the main foyer of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre by Dr Tom Calma, National Coordinator for Tackling Indigenous Smoking. Dr Calma was most recently the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner and has been Chair of the Close the Gap Steering Committee for Indigenous Health Equality since its inception in 2006. Joining him will be the chair of the Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association, Associate Professor, Pat Dudgeon.

Quality investment works from the Yuendume, Utopia, Peppimenarti and Mangkaja communities will be featured in the exhibition. Some works are on sale online at www.bendilango.org.au and will be on display.

The exhibition is to be held as part of the 27th International Congress of Applied Psychology (ICAP) and will be open to the public from Monday July 12 to Friday July 16 between 8.30am and 6pm.

Indigenous psychologists play an important role in promoting cultural resilience, cultural revitalisation and healing programs. They see evidence-based practices and approaches to healing and therapeutic change as working alongside traditional approaches, giving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as many options as possible to improve their health and wellbeing.

-Ends-

Photo and interview opportunities are available for media at the launch, including past recipient of the Bendi Lango bursary Graham Gee; founder and chair of the Bendi Lango Foundation and former APS president, Amanda Gordon; Associate Professor Pat Dudgeon and members of the Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association steering committee.

When: Sunday 11 July at 3.30pm

Where: Main foyer of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre

For media enquiries or to RSVP to the launch, please contact:

  • Ellise McLoughlan
    Public Relations and Marketing Coordinator
    Australian Psychological Society
    T: 03 8662 3301 | M: 0435 896 444 or 0428 445 097

The APS is the largest professional association for psychologists in Australia, representing more than 19,000 members. The APS is committed to advancing psychology as a discipline and profession. It spreads the message that psychologists make a difference to peoples' lives, through improving psychological knowledge and community wellbeing.