SIX independent Australian artists and six rural Aboriginal art centres have joined forces to create In Cahoots.
The art exhibition is an unofficial follow-up to We don’t need a map: a Martu experience of the Western Desert, which became a conduit for Aboriginal artists to come together in 2012 and explore their country and identity.
Co-ordinator Erin Coates says each centre selected a leading artist, some non-Aboriginal, who spent the next two years creating a significant body of work.
Curtis Taylor, a celebrated short filmmaker from the Pilbara, collaborated with the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Arts Centre in the Northern Territory to create pieces that explore Martu and Yolngu Country.
Taylor says the project forced him out of his comfort zone as he worked with new ideas, materials and techniques.
“In my experience the act of collaborative work tends to loosen up barriers and develop rich bonds between people and ways for working,” he says.
Taylor and Ishmael Marika, one of the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka artists, undertook several trips to both homelands to learn about each other’s cultures.
“We speak different languages and even though we are from different cultures we have similar ideas about the world,” Marika says.
“We want to teach our audiences about our cultures, and for our cultures to be recognised, respected and celebrated.”
Meanwhile, Perth artist Neil Aldum travelled to Baluk Arts in the Mornington Peninsula and says he had to review his working methods, by reconsidering “pace, dialogue, and development”, to successfully collaborate with the Baluk Artists.
The Baluk Artists are an eclectic mob from all over Australia, who employ kelp, clay, rubber, wood and metal in their works. In Cahoots is at the Fremantle Arts Centre from November 25-28.
Coates says the opening will be an ‘incredible celebration’ of each centre’s work, and will include artists from across the country, workshops and special guest Gavin Wanganeen, a former Essenden player and artist, who will inaugurate the event.
bY JAYDEN O’NEIL