Maria Vyalkova’s mission of understanding
As a philanthropist and avid supporter of Indigenous culture, Maria Vyalkova’s donations to leading charities and galleries are testament to her passion for the Indigenous arts in Australia.
Currently completing a Master of Applied Finance at Macquarie University and working with institutional clients at UBS Asset Management, Russian-born Maria also has a mission to broaden the knowledge, understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal art in the community. She actively supports Macquarie University Art Gallery’s education program, and has donated important collections of Indigenous art for students and visitors to the University to view, study and explore. She collects pieces from Aboriginal communities of the Western and Central Desert areas, as well as carefully selecting and commissioning rare artworks by leading artists from these regions. “What attracted me to Indigenous art was that it’s unique, bright and erratic,” Maria says. “Being brought up in Russia, my family often visited art galleries and I used to get bored looking at traditional art. A lot of it was predictable. I craved to see something that wasn’t easily explained.”
On her first trip to Canberra after moving to Australia in 2003, she saw a dot-painting by Emily Kame Kngwarreye on a wall in Parliament House. “I thought, ‘Wow! That’s amazing’. It was both hypnotic and full of energy.” She has since channeled the inspiration she gained that day into collecting an impressive variety of work that she donates to small galleries where they can be truly appreciated. “Smaller art galleries like Macquarie University’s are thrilled to get something that might be classified as minor by the National Gallery of Australia, London’s British Museum or the Musée du quai Branly in Paris,” says Maria. “These larger museums will mostly put their donations in the basement, never to see the light of day.” For Maria, the benefits of such donations are clear. “Collections of significant works by major artists have brought rewards which, over time, have lured the attention of the broader community.”
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Content owner: Advancement Last updated: 11 Jun 2019 1:56pm