City’s art process ‘bun­gled’

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Tom Zaun­mayr

A prom­i­nent Pil­bara art group has blasted the City of Kar­ratha over what it claims was a bun­gled ten­der process for the in­stal­la­tion of art­work at the Red Earth Arts Precinct.

Zen Fine Iron­work’s sub­mis­sion was cho­sen for the in­te­rior fea­ture work but ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est were put out again for the ex­te­rior piece after the coun­cil de­cided none of the sub­mis­sions were suit­able.

Zen’s two sub­mis­sions for the in­te­rior piece received the fewest votes of ap­proval from the pub­lic among the five con­cepts put for­ward.

Roe­bourne Art Group received the most pub­lic sup­port for both the in­te­rior and ex­te­rior works.

RAG chief ex­ec­u­tive Rex Wider­strom said thou­sands of dol­lars had been spent on de­sign­ing free­stand­ing poles for the ex­te­rior work, only to be told two weeks into the process the City did not want any free­stand­ing in­stal­la­tions.

City of Kar­ratha Mayor Peter Long said the pub­lic art ad­vi­sory group had to en­sure works contributed to the sense of place of the build­ing, were di­verse, and rep­re­sented the City, com­mu­nity and en­vi­ron­ment.

“The City of Kar­ratha re­quires that all our pub­lic build­ings have 2 per cent of their cap­i­tal cost ded­i­cated to pub­lic art projects to en­sure we are cre­at­ing vi­brant and unique pub­lic spa­ces,” he said.

“The City wel­comes new sub­mis­sions from the Roe­bourne Art

We’re ask­ing for real, last­ing, com­mit­ment to let­ting lo­cal in­dige­nous artists tell their sto­ries. Rex Wider­strom

Group and other lo­cal Abo­rig­i­nal artists for the re-ten­dered project and we look for­ward to se­lect­ing a fan­tas­tic piece that will com­ple­ment the strik­ing ar­chi­tec­ture of the precinct.”

At the City’s Novem­ber coun­cil meet­ing Coun­cil­lor Evette Smeathers said the op­tions pre­sented were “stock stan­dard”.

Mr Wider­strom has now called for an in­dige­nous art quota for all fu­ture projects in the Pil­bara to be in­tro­duced.

“It’s all very well wheel­ing out the el­ders to do the oblig­a­tory Wel­come to Coun­try ev­ery time you open an en­ve­lope but what we’re ask­ing for is real, last­ing, com­mit­ment to let­ting lo­cal in­dige­nous artists tell the sto­ries of their peo­ple through en­dur­ing pub­lic art pieces,” he said.

RAG in­dige­nous man­ager Loreen Sam­son said in­dige­nous art would help ed­u­cate the pub­lic about how their an­ces­tors walked this land

“I travel to Dar­win and Alice Springs and I see beau­ti­ful art works as far as the eyes could see, telling their sto­ries,” she said. “Our towns should help the fu­ture chil­dren un­der­stand their Dreaming places as well as be­ing a teach­ing place we share to­gether.”

Ms Sam­son said in­dige­nous art helped close the gap and gain re­spect for cul­ture from the pub­lic.

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