Linda Burney MP is the Member for Barton in the federal parliament and is currently Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians. She has been a patron of the Aboriginal Benefits Foundation since 2015. Ms Burney is the first Aboriginal woman to serve in the House of Representatives. She was also the first Aboriginal person to serve in the New South Wales
She obtained a Diploma of Teaching and was the first Aboriginal graduate from the then Mitchell College of Advanced Education (now Charles Sturt University). She began her career teaching at a public school in western Sydney in 1979. She was involved in the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group as President and was also an executive member of the National Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, and an active Director-General of the NSW Department of Aboriginal Affairs.
In 2016 Ms Burney resigned from the Deputy Leadership of the NSW Labor Party and from the NSW Parliament and was elected to the House of Representatives in Canberra.
Djon Mundine (OAM) has been a patron of the Aboriginal Benefits Foundation since 2016. A member of the Bandjalung people of northern New South Wales, he has been a pivotal figure in the discourse on Contemporary Aboriginal art as an eminent curator, writer, artist and activist. He has held prominent curatorial positions in many national and
Between 1979 and 1995 he was the Art Advisor at Ramingining in the Northern Territory, where his close mentorship and support of the great artists of the 1970s enabled the collection and acquisition of bark paintings by the Power Institute, University of Sydney in 1985, and in 1988 the making of a most significant Australian Indigenous art installation at the National Gallery of Australia. This Aboriginal Memorial group of 200 painted wooden poles was conceived and developed with Djon’s encouragement and was made by many of Central Arnhem Land’s key artists.In 1994 he co-curated (with Fiona Foley) ‘Tyerabowbarwarryaou — I Shall never Become a Whiteman’-Contemporary Aboriginal Art , and was a curator for ‘Aratjara’ exhibition (Dusseldorf, London, and Denmark, 1993–94). Other major exhibitions include ‘They are Meditating: Bark Paintings from the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Arnott’s Collection’ (2008) and ‘The Native Born (1996, MCA). Recent exhibitions include the highly regarded Bungaree: The First Australian, an exhibition and catalogue of commissioned artworks by sixteen NSW Aboriginal artists,toured by Mosman Art Gallery (2015–16).
In 1993, he received the Medal of the Order of Australia for service to the promotion and development of Aboriginal arts, crafts and culture.
Imants Tillers has been a patron of the Aboriginal Benefits Foundation since 2016. He is an artist, writer and curator. Since 1981, he has used his signature canvas boards to explore themes relevant to contemporary culture, from the centre/periphery debates of the 1980s to the effects of migration, displacement and diaspora. Most recently, his paintings have been
His work is about “belonging” and “not belonging” – about relationships between a “fatherland” and its diaspora. Much of the contemporary world, at least what is called “the new world” is populated by the descendants of refugees and immigrants, most notably Australia. He has also been a pivotal figure in the discussions raging about appropriation and Aboriginal dislocation having referenced their temporal and spiritual journeys in his work from the 1980s to the present day dialogue.
Imants has exhibited widely since the late 1960s, and has represented Australia at important international exhibitions, such as the São Paulo Bienal in 1975, Documenta 7 in 1982, and the 42nd Venice Biennale in 1986. Tillers will present a major solo exhibition titled Journey to Nowhere at the Latvian National Museum of Art, Riga, Latvia in 2018.
Major solo surveys of Tillers’ work include Meeting Place: Imants Tillers and Michael Nelson Jagamarra, Parliament House, Canberra (2017); Dreamings: Australian Aboriginal Art meets De Chirico, Museo Carlo Bilotti, Rome (2014); The Long Poem, Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, University of Western Australia, Perth (2009)
Regarded as one of Australia’s greatest artists, he in turn explores the greatness of Australia’s indigenous artists including Clifford Possum and Michael Nelson Jagamara in a telling and historic interplay between cultures, advancing towards each other. The shimmering veils of pattern and imagery celebrate these ‘mephistos’ of Australian art from the desert.
Imants served as a trustee on the Board of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney from 2001-2009.
In 2005, the University of New South Wales awarded a Doctor of Letters Honoris Causa to Imants Tillers for his long and distinguished contribution to the field of arts.
Ah Xian is a self-taught artist, originally from Beijing who has lived in Sydney since 1990. He has been a patron of the Aboriginal Benefits Foundation since 2015. He first visited Australia in 1989 as an artist-in-residence at the Tasmanian School of Art. He became a permanent resident in 1995 and four years later was awarded an Australia Council grant
He has held retrospective exhibitions at Hamilton Gallery, Victoria (2016) and Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (2003) and numerous solo exhibitions at prestigious art museums in Australia and internationally. His works have been acquired for important state, national and private collections in Australia, North America, East Asia and Europe. In 2004, he was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery to create a porcelain bust of paediatrician and 1996 Australian of the Year Dr John Yu, his only portrait commission.