Abo­rig­i­nal art call for hub

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Tom Zaun­mayr

Prom­i­nent art groups have called on the City of Kar­ratha to put Abo­rig­i­nal works front and cen­tre as its land­mark arts hub takes shape with no per­ma­nent gallery.

Port Hed­land has the Court­house Gallery and New­man the Mar­tu­milli Gallery, but the City’s Red Earth Arts Precinct will have no such fa­cil­ity, in­stead re­ly­ing on tem­po­rary dis­play spa­ces.

City of Kar­ratha Mayor Peter Long said hav­ing no per­ma­nent dis­play al­lowed more flex­i­bil­ity.

“There are a num­ber of ar­eas through­out the fa­cil­ity that have been specif­i­cally de­signed to be used as gallery spa­ces when re­quired such as the main en­try, in­door the­atre/con­fer­ence space and ground floor foyer,” he said.

“The in­tent is to utilise these spa­ces to dis­play some of the City’s ex­ten­sive art col­lec­tion as well as vis­it­ing and other lo­cal ex­hi­bi­tions.” Yin­jaa-Barni Art Group man­ager Pa­tri­cia Floyd said dis­play­ing art in gal­leries of­ten re­sulted in fi­nan­cial losses for the artists.

“The City has a lot of in­dige­nous art from Cos­sack Art Awards . . . by some ma­jor artists there they could dis­play,” she said.

“I think that would be good be­cause peo­ple don’t see them in the Shire build­ing.

“If there was an ex­hi­bi­tion that popped up ev­ery now and then . . . things like that could be pos­si­ble but it comes down to what it will

cost us to use the space.” The City and Roe­bourne Art Group fell out last year when RAG’s sub­mis­sions for the Red Earth Arts Precinct’s in­te­rior and ex­te­rior sculp­tures were knocked back de­spite be­ing the most pop­u­lar in pub­lic opin­ion polls.

RAG chief ex­ec­u­tive Rex Wider­strom said com­ments from the coun­cil at the time sug­gest­ing the group’s work was “stock­stan­dard” was in­sult­ing.

Both sculp­tures were awarded to Perth-based groups, with the City cit­ing de­sign com­pli­ance is­sues with RAG’s ex­ter­nal wall sub­mis­sion as rea­son to put the ten­der out again.

Mr Long said the City had worked with RAG to de­sign the shade struc­ture in the precinct’s am­phithe­atre.

“The City’s pub­lic art pol­icy strives to en­sure coun­cil pro­cures the high­est qual­ity and most be­fit­ting pub­lic art­works for in­di­vid­ual projects re­gard­less of where artists are based,” he said.

“Coun­cil has a re­quire­ment of all artists com­mis­sioned un­der this pol­icy to au­then­ti­cally en­gage with our com­mu­nity dur­ing the com­mis­sion process, to en­able a skills de­vel­op­ment op­por­tu­nity and ca­pac­ity build­ing for our com­mu­nity such as when an artist vis­its the area from out of the re­gion.”

Mr Long said Perth artist Brad Jack­son was work­ing with the Ngar­luma peo­ple to de­velop the au­dio sound­scape ac­com­pa­ny­ing his in­te­rior sculp­ture.

Jack­son’s two in­te­rior sub­mis­sions were the least pop­u­lar choices in the 2016 pub­lic opin­ion poll.

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