12 June 2024

UMI Arts artistic director celebrates 10 years promoting Cape and Torres artists

| Chisa Hasegawa
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Lisa Michl Ko-manggén

Lisa Michl Ko-manggén is celebrating 10 years in a leadership role at UMI Arts. Photo: Supplied.

The creative mind behind UMI Arts in Cairns is celebrating 10 years of leadership in showcasing the talents of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists across Queensland.

As a proud Kokoberrin woman, Lisa Michl Ko-manggén has had a hand in celebrating many Cape York artists at all levels in their art journey and, in 2019, she was honoured with an Order of the Medal (OAM) for her service to Aboriginal visual arts.

Ms Michl Ko-manggén’s involvement with UMI Arts predates her employment to its early beginnings in 2005, when she served on the board of directors in a voluntary capacity.

In 2014, she took her first position as an executive services officer, before being promoted to artistic director in 2021.

“Spending time on Country with my Elders allowed me to immerse myself in the stories passed down to me since childhood, igniting a deep sense of passion to promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art on a global scale,” she said.

“I was determined to provide opportunities and collaborate with fellow regional and remote artists and cultural practitioners, and to advocate for government support in establishing a First Nations-owned and operated cultural organisation in Cairns.”

READ ALSO Young artistic talent on show at second UMI Arts exhibition of the year

Passionate about providing opportunities to all artists in different stages of their careers, the artistic director started the Culture Through Our Eyes exhibition in her first year in the role, dedicated to young First Nations artists.

“I believe that my experience as an artist, along with the time I have spent with my elders on Country, has helped shape my vision and memory of our purpose,” Ms Michl Ko-manggén said.

“The programs offered by UMI Arts are constantly evolving to meet the needs of artists at all skill levels, promoting continuous career growth.

“These programs provide various entry points, helping artists develop a range of professional creative industry skills.”

UMI Arts board director Connie Ravina applauded Ms Michl Ko-manggén for her service and leadership and for generously sharing her skills, stories, and guidance with fellow artists and workers.

“Creating exhibitions such as Culture Through Our Eyes has given Lisa the satisfaction of knowing that UMI supports future generations of practising artists,” Ms Ravina said.

“Time and again, stakeholders and employees sing Lisa’s praises for her leadership approach, and the organisation feels so lucky to have her.”

Lisa and young artists at Culture Through Our Eyes 2024

Lisa Michl Ko-manggén (right) with young First Nations artists at the 2024 Culture Through Our Eyes exhibition. Photo: Chisa Hasegawa.

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