New Works


Martumili Artists hosts AACHWA’s Our Future: Aboriginal Arts Worker Training Program

AACHWA, a peak body organisation that has been connecting, advocating for, promoting, and providing professional and business development training for its member WA Aboriginal art centres for more than a decade, has been running the Our Future: Aboriginal Arts Worker Training Program since 2020. This program recognises the vital role that Aboriginal arts workers and officers play in art centres and enhances the already rich and varied skills and knowledge in their possession by going ‘behind the scenes’ at major cultural institutions to assist with art handling, installation, and conservation. 

In August last year two of our arts workers, Corban Clause Williams and Robina Clause, visited Waringarri Art Centre as participants in the Our Future program. There they gained invaluable knowledge and skills in the incredible textile screen-printing for which Waringarri is known. For the seventh iteration of the program, last week we were delighted to welcome five new participants- Leonie Bennett and Jade Butler representing @tjarliliart, Angelina Karadads representing #karakiro @ waringarri_arts, Marrika Gilla representing @kuarlumangga (Good Nest) and Dylan Kerley representing @yamajiart– to our very own state-of-the-art gallery. Here, alongside our arts workers Sylvia Wilson, Alysha Taylor and Corban Clause Williams, content from previous sessions was both consolidated and expanded upon. Comprising a holistic and Tafe accredited structure, the practical side of the program was facilitated by professional arts management team Pam Perth @pam_perth, while the theoretical component of the workshop was delivered by Jacky Cheng @jackychengart. In addition, of course, the arts workers organically learned from each other as they discussed the ways in which things were done at their own art centre. 

To make things extra exciting for our visiting arts worker participants, we made sure the exhibition lined up for install, Ngapikaja (Thingymabob), would present a fun, exciting, and unconventional challenge. With traditional paintings on canvas displayed alongside a gob smacking array of three-dimensional artworks and mediums, every aspect of art handling, installation, gallery protocol, and even curation was put into practice. As Martumili Artists Art Production Coordinator Anna Spencer noted, “the unusual shapes and materials of the works made for a unique exhibition, but also the perfect challenge for the Our Futures team.” She continues, “It was a really fun week, and our team were super excited for ‘outside people’ to come here. Being on their own turf was really special and confidence building.” Martumili artist and Gallery Assistant, Sylvia Wilson, agrees wholeheartedly; “It’s been a really good learning curve and opportunity to get this experience from exhibition planning to install. Everyone’s contributed. I feel like there’s a lot that I can do better now for the next exhibition!”

Ngapikaja (Thingymabob) is a joyous exhibition that celebrates the wonderful, organic, and exceptionally unique nature of remote community life with the combination of dynamic arrangements, found object art, and colourful paintings portraying everyday scenes within the community environment. Many of the artworks in Ngapikaja are created from items that are readily at hand within, or representative of, the remote communities and art sheds in which Martumili art is created. Car doors, wheel rims, enamel teapots and teacups, painting cushions, and even ‘Frey Bentos’ pie tins have been transformed into colourful, playful and often striking artworks, while painted scenes depict the motorcars that traverse long unsealed tracks to reach their far flung destinations, fires around which community members gather to cook hunted foods, buildings comprising typical community institutions, and of course the landscapes themselves in which the communities are embedded. Check out the exhibition here.

Thank you so much to AACHWA and all Our Futures participants for coming to work alongside us at Martumili! 

Words by Ruth Leigh.
Feature image by Jess Russell | Article images by Anna Spencer.

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Martumili Artists warns visitors that our website includes images and artworks of Artists who have passed away which may cause distress to some Indigenous people.

Martumili Artists acknowledges the Nyiyaparli and Martu people as the Traditional Owners of the land we live and work on. We also acknowledge the Traditional Owners throughout our country and our Elders; past, present and emerging.