UMI Arts

at 335 Sheridan Street, Cairns, 4870

UMI Arts is the peak Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander arts and cultural organisation for Far North Queensland. UMI Arts is the peak Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander arts and cultural organisation for Far North Queensland, an area that includes the Federal Electorates of Leichhardt and Kennedy. UMI Arts is a not-for-profit company managed by an all-Indigenous Board of Directors and is based in Cairns. UMI Arts was established in 2005 and its mission is to operate an Indigenous organisation that assists Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to participate in the maintenance, preservation and protection of cultural identity. At the broadest level, UMI Arts' goal is to strengthen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural practices, including visual arts and crafts, dance, ceremony, story telling and music. UMI is a Creole word that means You and Me – for UMI Arts this is significant as we believe that we need to work together to keep our culture strong.

UMI Arts
335 Sheridan Street
Cairns , QLD 4870
Contact Phone
P: 07 4041 6152


UMI Arts is committed to bringing people together, sharing stories, respecting culture and doing things proper way. Our annual program of events and activities is about YOU and ME strengthening Indigenous cultural practices in Far North Queensland. UMI Arts programs operate in Cairns and in-community and are about capacity building and developing artists and performers as both professional practitioners and active participants in community cultural development and revitalisation. UMI Arts programs all aim to engage, motivate, occupy and inspire and to promote a sense of relevance, confidence and interest through learning, doing and performing.

General Info

Board of Directors One of the greatest strengths of UMI Arts is its all-Indigenous Board of Directors. Each UMI Arts Director actively participates in their respective communities, whether as a cultural practitioner, in the social justice system, local government, or as a Traditional Owner. UMI Arts Directors: Leo B Akee - Chairperson Leo (Beizam - Shark) is a proud Meriam of the Geuram tribe, one of the Eight Tribes of Mer. His totems include Beizam (Shark), Tabor (Snake), Bid (Dolphin), Waumer (Frigate bird), Deumer (Torres Strait Pigeon) and Galbol (Whale). Leo has held positions with Education Queensland/DETA, a Councillor of the Torres Shire Council (1997-2000) and Deputy Mayor of the Torres Strait (2000-2004). Leo is a composer and entertainer, cultural and music festival co-ordinator, cultural dancer, musician, artist and wood carver with 30 years experience in the arts. Leo also sits on the Board of the Cairns Indigenous Arts Fair (CIAF). Noel Zaro OAM - Deputy Chairperson/Director Noel's Totem is Nam (Green sea turtle), and the Womer (Man-of-war hawk). He is a descendant of the Dowareb tribe, part of the Murray Island group. His language is Meriam Mir, the Murray Island language that is spoken in the Eastern Torres Strait. Noel has a vast experience in the arts and his art forms of choice include teaching and performing traditional Murray Island Dances. His dance group has toured and performed both nationally and internationally. He was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in 2010 for service to the promotion and teaching of Torres Strait Islander Culture through Gerib Sik Dancers. Priscilla Major - Director Ma Cheltrulalie Priscilla Major is a Traditional woman from the Kokoberra peoples on the west coast of Cape York Peninsula. The Kokoberra are the Traditional Owners for the Mitchell River area including the Aboriginal community of Kowanyama. Some of her major life achievements include when she attended the Story Place Exhibition in Brisbane, the Dreaming Festival on the Sunshine Coast and UMI Arts Big Talk One Fire in Cairns along with the Cairns Indigenous Arts Fair. Priscilla is a fluent speaker in her own and several neighbouring languages and she is knowledgeable in traditional customs and ceremonies. She retains a wealth of knowledge around connection to country. Robert Tommy Pau- Director Tommy is a descendent of the Eastern Torres Strait Islands, Australian Aboriginal, Papua New Guinea, Pacific Islander and Asia. He speaks Torres Strait Creole and Australian English. He was taught about the need to keep culture strong through cultural practice by his father. He has a strong commitment to keeping old traditions alive and believes that culture must remain true to the past and move with time to exist in the future. Tommy has vast experience in the arts and his art forms of choice include printmaking, painting and three dimensional sculptures. Some of his major life achievements include completing a Bachelor of Education and becoming a semi-finalist in the Telstra Art Award. Marilyn Miller- Director Marilyn is of the Kukuyalanji and Waanyi Language / Clan Groups. She has worked in the arts industry in a variety of capacities, ranging from actor, dancer, dance teacher, choreographer, artistic director, and arts administrator. Marilyn has been Chair of the NSW Ministry for the Arts Dance Committee, as well as peer assessor for Arts Qld, Australia Council-Dance Board, and Brisbane City Council. Recently Marilyn was Artistic Director and curatorial panel member for the Festival of Pacific Arts 2012 – Australian Delegation. She was also recently appointed Co-Deputy Chair of Ausdance National. Desmond Tayley- Director As a former Mayor of Wujal Wujal and after working with Bana Mindilji Aboriginal Corporation and Cape York NRM I Desmond Tayley has many years’ experience in community engagement and public speaking. Desmond is from the lower Cape York East Coast region, Wujal- Wujal and Laura. Desmond has previously been a Director of UMI Arts and hopes to assist where possible to continue the good work that UMI Arts is doing for our people. Larissa Simpson- Director Larissa is a descendant from the Erub, Ugar and the Birri-Gubba peoples. She was born and raised in Cairns with the support of a strong, extensive family network throughout the Far North. She is a proud mother of three young children who through encouragement, guidance and participation strives to help them achieve the best education possible and explore their rich cultural heritage. Larissa has always been surrounded by long-time political, social, economic, educational and cultural campaigners and has held positions herself with Child Safety and the Families Responsibilities Commission. Her personal aspirations are to complete an Advanced Diploma in Events Management and to one day own/operate an Indigenous Sports Physiology Health and Wellbeing Clinic with her partner. Each Director brings to the Board a wealth of cultural knowledge and a shared commitment to supporting the staff in the delivery of UMI Arts annual program of activities. Darrell Harris - Executive Officer Darrell has been a Finance Officer for over 15 years with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations. He has experience in all aspects of financial management, including financial reporting, budgeting and forecasting, liaison with auditors and facilitation of financial audits, compliance with ATO and ASIC requirements, and monitoring performance against budget. He has 15 years experience in Branch Banking, leasing, and securities/mortgage documentation. In addition, Darryl has Company Secretary, Treasurer/Secretary and Board Director experience of over 25 years.

Company Rating

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