Siganto Foundation Research Fellow Dr Doug Spowart, reports on the Queensland Library Foundation morning tea to acknowledge the contribution of Dr Marie Siganto AM and the Siganto Foundation to the Australian Library of Art.
The Siganto Foundation has been a supporter of the State Library of Queensland’s Australian Library of Art since 2011. During this time international artists including Keith A. Smith, Scott McCarney, Susan King and Amir Brito Cadôr, supported by the Foundation’s donations, have presented workshops and lectures that have brought world leaders of the artists’ book to our region. The Siganto Foundation support has also contributed to seminars which have contributed to discussion and dialogue about the artists’ book with some of the country’s key commentators and critics.
In recent years the Foundation has provided funding for seven Fellowships which has brought an academic and creative focus to the Australian Library of Art’s artists’ book collection as well as other State Library collections. Presentations at this year’s Siganto Foundation’s Artists’ Book Seminar included those by Jan Davis, Julie Barratt, Clyde McGill and Doug Spowart.
Chair of the Siganto Foundation until recently was Dr Marie Siganto AM and the Queensland Library Foundation recently held an event to celebrate the achievements and successes of the Foundation’s sponsorship. The morning tea was attended by Dr Marie Siganto AM, Bill Siganto Jnr, Lisa Siganto and Jack Coghlan, Sonia Cooper –Acting Chief Executive Officer and State Librarian and, from the Queensland Library Foundation Max Walters OAM and Mal Grierson. Also in attendance were the current Siganto Foundation Fellows Ana Paula Estrada, Julie Barratt, Clyde McGill and Dr Victoria Cooper.
Especially curated for the event by the Australian Library of Art Librarian Christene Drewe, was a selection of artists’ books created by the Siganto Foundation’s Fellows and books from the Siganto Foundation International Artists’ Book Collection. Attendees spent time engaging with the books and their special forms and narratives in the early part of the event.
The formalities for the morning tea included a speech by QLF President Max Walters in which he discussed the significant achievements of the QLF program which had been made possible through the financial support of the Siganto Foundation. Walters presented Dr Siganto with a special book that had been prepared as a record of the Siganto Foundation’s supported projects, seminars and Fellowships. Dr Siganto responded commenting on her connection with the artists’ book as a special form of communication and the artists and researchers that she had met as a result of the connection that she had with the Library.
Current Creative Research Fellow, Julie Barratt shared with Dr Siganto and those present, a preview of her research project product – an artists’ book entitled Blair Athol Re-Cut. The book has been created by Barratt to record a personal story of displacement relating to the relocation/dispersal of the town of Blair Athol in the 1960s. Julie’s life with her siblings and parents on the Blair Athol Station was transformed by the mine’s encroachment on the town and surrounds. The book deals with the solastalgia that such an experience has. It is a profoundly moving book and a fine example of the expressive and emotive power of the artists’ book.
Morning tea was partaken with members of the Siganto Foundation & Family who mingled with artists and SLQ representatives for the remainder of the event. It was felt by all attendees that the Siganto Foundation’s sponsorship of the Australian Library of Art has provided a significant opportunity for recognition of the artists’ book, as an expression of creativity, storytelling and culture in Queensland, and for that matter Australia.
Christene Drewe – Australian Library of Art Librarian