Valerie Boll sat down with Brian Arnold, General Manager of ADBT, to talk about Ancient Journeys, a Cairns based art gallery dedicated to promoting authentic Indigenous art.
Based on the Cairns Esplanade in the heart of the Cairns art precinct, Ancient Journeys is one of the businesses owned and operating under the umbrella of ADBT (Aboriginal Benefits Development Trust).
Established 20 years ago, ADBT is one of the largest social enterprises in Australia whose primary aim is for business development and indigenous ownership/investment in business.
It is touted as the biggest and most successful 100% Aboriginal owned and Aboriginal operated social enterprise running a number of businesses driving tourism and arts in the Daintree Rainforest and Gulf of Carpentaria regions.
Among all ADBT businesses Ancient Journeys is the one that Brian Arnold says he is the proudest. It has grown from strength to strength since it was acquired by ADBT about 2 years ago.
Ancient Journeys offers specialist information about Indigenous cultural tourism products and services and specialises in the Gulf region of Queensland and the Daintree Rainforest.
“It’s a venue for art, authentic art. It follows Indigenous codes with a focus on local communities. Every effort is made to find new artists, develop those that already exist and support them to live off their art,” Brian Arnold told Valerie Boll in their conversation.
Brian Arnold says he gets goose bumps when speaking about the success of Ancient Journeys’ work with schools.
Mornington Island State School, is one of the initial participating schools. Their partnership has been so successful that Brian hopes to bring many more schools on board.
Through this partnership ADBT aims to help raise funds from the sale of students' artwork and provide them with opportunities to attend exhibitions and fairs in Queensland, other states and around the world.