Award-win­ning cen­tre a tri­umph for Mar­tu­mili artists

North West Telegraph - - North West Property - Louise Alling­ham The East Pil­bara Arts Cen­tre is home to the Mar­tu­mili Artists. Pic­ture: Robert Firth/Acorn Photo

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.”

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