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This NAIDOC Week, Dan Sultan, Fender and First Nations non-for-profit, Children’s Ground, announced their third annual Art Guitar Auction, featuring First Nations multidisciplinary artist David Cragg and their commitment to raise funds in support of the Ampe-kenhe Ahelhe, Arrernte musician-led program operating in Central Australia.

The program’s mission is to engage children, young people and adults in music, to create learning resources through new First Language songs and to protect and increase the visibility and accessibility of First Nations languages. In 2022, with the support of Australian musicians Emily Lubitz and Harry Angus, community members wrote, recorded and released their first singles, Tyerrtye Atyinhe (My Body)/ Akaperte Pwerlepe (Heads Shoulders) and Werte!, a guitar-lead educational, children’s song teaching greetings and hand signals, sung in the Eastern/Central Arrernte language. These are the first songs of an album Ampe-mape Alyelheme (Kids Sing), to be released later this year.

Sultan, an ARIA award-winning musician and activist for First Nations people, said, “I’m so proud to be working alongside my Uncle William Tilmouth and the team at Children’s Ground on the third edition of this project. Working with such an important organisation as Children’s Ground, alongside the iconic Fender® brand, is something very special to me. “This campaign helps raise essential funds and, just as importantly, awareness of Children’s Ground and the outstanding work they do. It also highlights brilliant and talented First Nations Artists who donate their time and effort. The whole project is all about creativity and positivity, and for it to be going strong in its third year is a beautiful thing.”

Children’s Ground is working towards a status quo that sees First Nations people having self-determination and enjoying social, cultural, political and economic justice. Their approach centres arts education, health and employment to build strong communities to be safe, vibrant, alive, yet peaceful places for children and families to live. In 2022, the non-profit engaged over 2500 children & community members in learning activities in their First Language and workshops exploring music, health, economic well-being & community development.

Hand-picked by Art Guitar Auction alumni Kirli Saunders, this year, David Cragg is creating a one-of-a-kind piece of art on an American Professional II Stratocaster® guitar. David Cragg is a self-taught artist and mentor of Irish, Scottish, Bundjalung and Biripai ancestry, living and working in Dharawal Country (Illawarra Region of NSW, Australia). He is renowned for his work in public spaces painting large-scale murals reflective of the lands they are on, and has held exhibitions at galleries such as Blackwood & aMBUSH.

The auction is now live and will close at 11:59, Monday, July 24. Bid on the guitar via Air Auctioneer.

David Cragg –– Eclipse, art created on American Professional II Stratocaster® guitar valued at $3,099 RRP. Influenced by the natural world, this piece is an ode to First Nations people’s infinite pulse of life, love, music, and art. Made in quality acrylic aerosol, with a sanding, taping, and varnishing layering, it depicts an abstracted nighttime landscape with rainbow gradient trees representing David’s heritage and his people’s continued connection to the Land and Dreaming.

William Tilmouth, Chair of Children’s Ground says “I am proud of Dan and what he has achieved. He is giving back to his people, sharing his talent and has created a great partnership with Fender and Children’s Ground . This is changing the lives of children. They can hear their language, there is joy and hope, and I want to thank everyone involved. I thank David and the previous artists who share their culture and bring to life these guitars into amazing works of art. This brings us all together as Aboriginal people and I feel very proud.’

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