Identity expressed in art


Anne Walmsley’s Rocks.
Anne Walmsley’s Rocks.

That was the essence of a brief put to five contemporary artists from Albany: Kate Campbell-Pope, Elizabeth Riley, Anna Sabadini, Kati Thamo and Anne Walmsley.

The result is Over Here, an exhibition running from April 2 to May 1 at Nyisztor Studio in Melville.

“As women, we were asked to respond to a male modernist artist, artwork, or movement, using domestic craft media and/or techniques – but not in an adversarial way,” Dr Sabadini said.

“Each artist imagined her work as a bridge. We also responded to the physical place in which we live – the Great Southern region of WA.

“The contemporary textiles we’ve made consider how being a self ‘in place’ is more than a relationship with physical place, it also involves cultural placements.

“These cultural placements are important to identity and belonging.”

Dr Sabadini said that for non-indigenous Australians belonging often meant identifying with places elsewhere to where they lived, for example modernist New York or a parent’s homeland overseas.

“Sometimes, these cultural placements feel separated from each other – and from the place where we physically live,” Dr Sabadini said.

“Being a woman, a daughter, an artist with a modernist education, as well as contemporary and regional at the same time is often tricky – how do you get a conversation going between people who come from different worlds and speak different languages?

“Could our mothers and Jackson Pollock talk to – and understand – each other? We’ve explored how the language of craft might enable conversation and integrate these places.”

The exhibition opens from 6pm on Saturday, April 2 with visual artist Nalda Searles in attendance as a guest speaker.

The artists will also conduct a free floor talk on Saturday, April 16 from 6pm to 7.30pm. Entry is free and the gallery is open 11am to 5pm Wednesday to Saturday and 2pm to 5pm on Sundays.