BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The UMI Arts Board meets regularly throughout the year and Directors play an active role in developing programs that support the organisation’s vision and mission.As a public company,
The role of the Directors is to govern the operations of the company within the bounds of the Constitution and shape the organisation and led us in to the future. As we renew, adapt and adjust to the challenges we face and as we abandon and replace the old with the new, the Board of Directors stay strong and positive while they guide and lead us to achieve strategic objectives.
UMI Arts’ Directors are respected business and community leaders, Artists and Cultural Practitioners and hold a wide range of skills that they contribute to the organisation and membership and come from strong and diverse backgrounds.
Leo B Akee - Chairperson
Leo's traditional name is Beizam and he is of the Geuram & Zagareb tribes; two of the eight tribes of Mer. His peoples are the traditional owners of Mer (Murray Island) in the Torres Strait. His Totems are; Beizam (Shark); Galbol (Whale); Bid (Dolphin); Tabo (Snake); Serar (Tern); Deumer (Torres Strait Pigeon) and Waumer (Red chested Frigate Bird).
With 30 years' experience in the arts, his art forms of choice include; artefacts, wood carving, cultural dance, singing, song writing, music composition, and on stage entertainment. Leo was formerly the District Manager of Education Queensland/DETA, a Councillor of the Torres Shire Council (1997-2000) and Deputy Mayor of the Torres Strait (2000-2004).
He has sat on many national committees and Boards, including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board of the Australia Council for the Arts, The National Indigenous Advisory Reference Group for the Australia Council for the Arts, JCU Vice Chancellors Business Advisory, National Indigenous Training Advisory Council and joined the Board of UMI Arts in 2008 to share his knowledge and skills of Board governance with young directors and to strategically develop Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island cultural programming across the region.
Noel Zaro OAM - Deputy Chairperson
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. Noel first became a member of UMI Arts in 2010 to share and represent the views of his people in the region and to share his skills and knowledge in the areas of performance and dancers.
Priscilla Major - Director
Priscilla's bush name is Ma Cheltrulalie. She is of the Kokoberra – Kokomeranda language group. Her peoples are the traditional owners of the Mitchell River area, including the Aboriginal community of Kowanyama. Priscilla is of the Lightening, Sour Yam and Shark clan group. She was born on Danbar Station via Normanton and has a blood-line connection to the country of Kowanyama and Normanton. 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.
Priscilla first became a Director of UMI Arts in 2005, to share her traditional knowledge and stories so that our people / communities can work together and engage our younger generations, teaching them and encouraging them to learn the old ways.
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. Tommy first Joined UMI Arts in 2012 to learn Board governance skills and actively participate in the strategic vision of UMI Arts.
Desmond Tayley - Director
Desmond Tayley is a descendant of Eastern Kuku Yalanji/Kuku Nyungkul (on his mother's side) and Kuku Nyungkul/MagarrMagarr Warr clan (on his father's side). Desmond is a former Mayor of Wujal Wujal and has previously worked with Bana Mindilji Aboriginal Corporation and Cape York NRM.
Desmond has many years of experience in community engagement and public speaking, and has previously been a Director of the UMI Arts Board.