Perth artist trip to Canada in the balance

Nyungar artist Janine McAullay Bott at home with some of her pieces.
Nyungar artist Janine McAullay Bott at home with some of her pieces.

NYUNGAR bush sculptor and weaver Janine McAullay Bott is the only West Australian artist to be invited to an exhibition in Quebec, Canada. But there is a problem.

The Thornlie resident’s funding application to get her from WA to Canada has been turned down.

Her work is currently displayed in Quebec at Lifelines: Contemporary Indigenous Art from Australia – an international exhibition presenting the contemporary art of Australia’s first peoples opening at the prestigious Musees de la Civilisation.

With the funding being turned down, she is trying to raise the $3000 from the community and with the help of Artitja Fine Art in Fremantle to get her over to see her work at the exhibition.

The sculptural work on display in Canada titled My Brother’s Keeper is unlike most of McAullay Bott’s creations, which are generally woven animals and objects from palm fronds, local grasses, reeds and other plant materials.

She said My Brother’s Keeper represented the stolen generation.

“The priest represents the mistreatment of my brothers in Clontarf so it would bring me full circle on the story as my brothers have passed away now,” she said.

Normally her weaves embody the essence and humour of her Nyungar culture.

McAullay Bott said she started weaving when she moved to Hawaii 30 years ago.

“I lived in Hawaii for many years and started weaving baskets with the Hawaiians,” she said.

“It was only a pastime but I started selling them there.”

When she returned to WA, she started weaving sculptures and totems from stories her mother used to tell her. She has created thousands, including a full-size dugong that hangs in the Cannington Library.

McAullay Bott uses only bush materials and there is no wire as it is all held together by the weave.

To donate, go to https://ozcrowd.com/campaigns/project-janine-to-quebec/.