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17 November 2003

The power of indigenous art as cultural evidence will be explored in a landmark forum being held at the National Museum of Australia next month.

The free two-day forum coincides with the Canberra launch of the Native Title Business exhibition, a collection of 50 contemporary indigenous works which promote understanding and reconciliation on native title.

'We're exploring the notion of artistic expression art, dance and song as an important part of the native title process and an expression of connection to country,' says the National Museum's Dr James Warden.

The Australian National University's Chair of Indigenous Studies, Professor Mick Dodson, will launch the forum and Native Title Business exhibition at 10.45am on Thursday, 11 December in the National Museum's Hall.

Speakers at the forum include artist Fiona Foley, historians Ann McGrath and Frances Peters-Little, National Native Title Tribunal member Gaye Sculthorpe, Yorta Yorta community member Monica Morgan, lawyers Larissa Behrendt and David Ritter, museum professionals and sociologists.

Over two days participants will examine the meaning of native title; the role of indigenous histories, art and museums in the native title process; and the benefits and problems arising from Aboriginal efforts to retrieve lost histories and culture.

'By exploring different ways of looking at native title, the National Museum continues to be a place for the discussion and debate of contemporary issues,' says Dr Warden.

The Power of Cultural Evidence forum is being held in conjunction with the Australian National University and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. Bookings are being taken on 02 6208 5021.

The Native Title Business exhibition is presented by Bundaberg's Gurang Land Council and toured by the Regional Galleries Association of Queensland. The exhibition is on show in the National Museum's Lower First Australians Gallery until 1 February 2004.

For more information, please contact Leanda Coleman on 02 6208 5338, 0438 620 710 or

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