Award-winning centre a triumph for Martumili artists
Newman’s East Pilbara Arts Centre may have just won a national architecture award, but what it gives back to local indigenous artists is the true triumph.
Developers of the art centre set out to make a building with Newman’s Martu people at the heart of the design process.
Martu people were consulted throughout, contributed their ideas and gave the ultimate approval for the design brief.
Trent Woods of Officer Woods Architects, which was chosen unanimously by developers to design the centre, said the design brief had been well formulated through an extensive consultation process before they came along.
“It was an accurate brief, but wasn’t derived from a standard; instead it was aspirational and seemed to us to be about important principles rather than a formulaic scope,” he said.
“This invited us to also work from first principles and not be constrained by pre-conceived notions of what the building might be.”
The arts centre is now home to the Martumili Artists and, since opening in April last year, the centre has acted as a catalyst for the group’s growth.
Martumili Artists welcomed 51 new members and almost 1200 artworks have been produced in just 12 months.
Martumili artists and arts worker Ignatius Taylor said having the Martu working and painting at Martumili makes the centre special. “Martu people from communities from the Pilbara can visit Martumili and learn what we do here, lots of tourists come and have a look and people from Newman,” he said.
“It is helping to learn two ways, white fella way and Martu way.”