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Top silk appointed Chair of arts board

By Patrick Nelson

Michael Abbott AO QC … new Chair of CDU’s Cultural Collections Advisory Board Michael Abbott AO QC … new Chair of CDU’s Cultural Collections Advisory Board

A philanthropist with a lifelong passion for Southeast Asian art has been appointed Chair of Charles Darwin University’s Cultural Collections Advisory Board.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Simon Maddocks said he was delighted that prominent South Australian barrister Michael Abbott AO QC had accepted an invitation to chair the board.

“Mr Abbott has been an internationally renowned collector of Southeast Asian art for more than 30 years and brings passion, connections and strong leadership to an already talented board,” Professor Maddocks said.

Mr Abbott has had a close association with the Northern Territory for the past three decades and has a deep interest in Indigenous art.

His donations to the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory have significantly enhanced their collections of Timor Textiles, Indian Trade Cloths and Southeast Asian Ceramics.

“He has also contributed substantially to the establishment of the Asian and Indian ceramic and textile collections of the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria and particularly the Art Gallery of South Australia.”

Mr Abbott is recognised for improving Australia-Asia relations, having served as inaugural chair of the Australia-Malaysian Institute and chair of the Australia-India Council, and remains committed to improving Australians’ cultural understanding of Southeast Asia.

Professor Maddocks said the Cultural Collections Advisory Board provided strategic advice to the university in relation to its cultural collections, including the CDU Art Collection, which contains more than 2500 items from Northern Australia and Southeast Asia.

The members of the board are Michael Abbott AO QC, Franchesca Cubillo, Anna Malgorzewicz, Tom Pauling AO QC, and Professor Giselle Byrnes and Robyn McDougall, of CDU.