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Local artist to take Quandamooka Country to the world

05 July 2021

Proud Nunukul, Ngugi and Goenpul woman Delvene Cockatoo-Collins is taking stories from Quandamooka Country to the world, with support from the Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport (DTIS).

Living on Country with family, on the picturesque Minjerribah Island (North Stradbroke Island), Delvene is an independent, First Nations artist and the owner-operator of Delvene Cockatoo-Collins Art.

Located just a stone’s throw from Goompi (Dunwich) ferry port, the studio is brimming with exquisite artwork and hand-made creations that share the stories passed down from Ms Cockatoo-Collins’ mother and grandmother.

From October 2021 to March 2022, these local stories and creations will be showcased on a global stage as part of The Australian Pavilion for Expo 2020* in Dubai.

Expo 2020 is a world expo that’s been hosted every five years, since 1851. The event connects countries with innovative and collaborative partnership programs that accelerate and promote solutions that improve lives, while protecting the planet.

Trade and Investment Queensland invited Delvene Cockatoo-Collins Art to create seven of the 300 Australian products being featured and sold on The Australian Pavilion for the event.

With 25 million visits expected during the six-month event, this is an invaluable opportunity for the local Indigenous business to gain international exposure and tap into new global markets. It also means Cockatoo-Collins Art needs to scale quickly to produce up to 250 000 items for sale at the pavilion.

Through the Advance Queensland Deadly Innovation Strategy, DTIS is providing $25,000 in funding to help the business scale. The funding will help purchase new equipment to produce high volumes of artworks and homewares and will contribute to a new website and collateral, to help the business connect with international markets.

Scaling will also help employ two additional staff in the next 12 months and up to an additional four staff within four years.

Prior to Expo 2020, Delvene Cockatoo-Collins Art has significantly contributed to Queensland through a range of DTIS programs and initiatives, including:

  • Contributing to the department’s Minjerribah Futures program as a respected and trusted community leader on Minjeerribah Island.
  • Designing the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Medals and presenter’s outfits.
  • Creating a commissioned public artwork ‘Eugaries’ for Mulumba Point Lookout on North Stradbroke Island.
  • Participating in the Creating Tracks Pilot Program.
  • Hosting a market stall at the Meeanjin Markets.

Expo 2020 is yet another admirable achievement that will not only help the business scale and grow but provide an opportunity to share cultural knowledge and understanding of Queensland’s First Nations’ people and their businesses.

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*Footnote: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Expo 2020 was postponed to 2021.