First Nations voices to deepen national cultural identity

The Albanese Labor Government is committed to amplifying the voices of experienced and diverse First Nations peoples at all levels of our arts, entertainment and cultural sectors.

That’s why the Government is pleased to announce the appointment of Ms Sally Scales as member of the National Gallery of Australia Council, and Mr Tom Mosby as member of the National Portrait Gallery Board, each for three-year terms.

Minister for the Arts, Tony Burke, said it’s essential the boards of our cultural institutions reflect the skills and experience that are essential for them to do their job.

“These boards are the custodians of much of the collection of Australia’s stories,” Minister Burke said.

“On coming to Government I was publicly critical of some yawning gaps in some of our boards.

“We had galleries without any First Nations representatives and we had a museum without an historian on its board.

“I’ve been determined to upgrade representation of these boards so they can better fulfil their responsibilities. Today is the next step in that process.

“I’m honoured that Sally Scales, a First Nations artist and spokesperson, and Mr Tom Mosby, an author, art conservator and lawyer have both agreed to take board positions on two of the most important galleries in the nation.”

Ms Sally Scales brings a wealth of experience to the National Gallery of Australia as a First Nations artist, cultural consultant and spokesperson from far remote South Australian community, Pipalyatjara in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands. Ms Scales has worked for the APY Art Centre Collective since 2013 and during her time has been instrumental in the opening of APY Galleries across Australia. 

Ms Scales has previously served as the youngest elected Chairperson of the APY Executive Board Council and has been part of the youth leadership team for the Uluru Statement reform. Ms Scales has played an active role as Partnership Manager of the Uluru Statement From the Heart since 2017 and is currently a member of the Government’s Referendum Working Group and Referendum Engagement Group. 

Recognition for Ms Scales’ contribution is evident through her accolades from the artistic community. Ms Scales won the People’s Choice Award at the 2021 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA) at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. In 2022, Ms Scales was a finalist for the Roberts Family Award, part of the Wynne Landscape prize for her work ‘Wati Tjakura’, and was a finalist again for the NATSIAA’s.

Mr Tom Mosby brings to the National Portrait Gallery of Australia over 20 years’ experience as an author, art conservator and lawyer. Mr Mosby is a Torres Strait Islander from the Kulkalgal and Meriam Nations of the Central and Eastern Zenadth Kes (Torres Strait). Mr Mosby has a wealth of understanding of leadership and knowledge for the arts and culture in not-for-profit sectors.

Mr Mosby is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the First Nations owned and managed arts and cultural organisation, the Koorie Heritage Trust. He is also current Chair of the Board of Directors of the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair as well as a member of the Victorian 2026 Commonwealth Games First Peoples Leadership Group. Mr Mosby has held a number of board positions across the arts portfolio including Bangarra Dance Theatre and the Public Galleries Association of Victoria.

Mr Mosby has been recognised both nationally and internationally in arts journals and celebrated for his focus on the culture of Torres Strait Island communities, conservation and the moral and legal rights of First Nation’s peoples and stories.