In Cahoots: Artists Collaborate Across Country with curator Erin Coates


In Cahoots: Artists Collaborate Across Country.
In Cahoots: Artists Collaborate Across Country.

WASHED out roads, flat tyres and extreme weather did not put the brakes on Erin Coates’ latest project.

She navigated some of the most remote indigenous communities and curly cultural protocols in the name of art.

Her mission was to pair six independent artists with six Aboriginal art centres around Australia to produce new works and uncover the fascinating things that happen when creative minds from vastly different backgrounds merge.

“I was worried and wondered: ‘How is this all going to pan out?” – it was a great experiment in a way and I was blown away by the outcome,” Coates said.

The exhibition, two years in the making, showcases serious pieces that pack a punch and joyous installations that raise a smile.

Artist Tony Albert, from Queensland, travelled to Warakurna in WA and worked with 45 artists in the community, from children to those in their 90s.

“Tony is really interested in exploring the way in which Aboriginal culture has been imaged, from fine art right down to this kind of knick-knack, tacky and quite patronising imagery: cutesy bush baby stuff, which he is obsessed with collecting and has used in installations before,” Coates said.

“He went out there and said: ‘What do you want to do – how can I help you make what you want to make?’.

“They wanted to work with reclaimed tin and found objects around the community and make things from that, so the resulting work is this incredible installation of an entire community of helicopters, animals, people and houses, all made from these materials, and images of kids making these ad-hoc superhero costumes.”

THE ESSENTIALS

What: In Cahoots: Artists Collaborate Across Country

Where: Fremantle Arts Centre

When: showing until January 28