The Our Future: Aboriginal Arts Worker Program aims to support professional growth and enhance skills/knowledge for Aboriginal Arts Workers who work in regional or remote Art Centres across WA.
It is designed to support emerging arts professionals to develop their knowledge and skills across a broad spectrum of arts and cultural specialisations. The traineeship allows real-world, on the job experience which broadens participants perspective on the arts and provides practical training that can be applied when participants return to an art centre context. The Our Future program is run as an accredited training program in partnership with North Metropolitan and North Regional TAFE.
The program is delivered in two parts and offers participants an opportunity to learn from Perth’s larger art institutes as well as an opportunity to develop new skills through connection and learnings from a regional WA Aboriginal art centre.
Aboriginal arts workers who participated gained experience under the guidance of some of WA’s top curatorial, installation and conservation professionals, with the installation of objects and art works in preparation for the Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters exhibition at the Boola Bardip Western Australian Museum (WAM) and curatorial and art educational conversations with the Art Gallery of Western Australia (AGWA).
Coinciding with this experience the Aboriginal arts workers had a hands-on curatorial and installation experience at Midland Junction Arts Centre (MJAC). this involved preparing its exciting exhibition, Yoowalkoorl – Come On, Come Here. This exhibition showcased Aboriginal artists from across the State. The Our Future participants co-curated the exhibition, as well as presented curatorial talks.
The two-way learning process of the program allowed staff at these institutions to gain a greater understanding of Aboriginal culture and the communities that are the source of many artworks held in their collections. The program acknowledges the expertise and knowledge that Aboriginal arts workers hold, and values the fact that without their contribution to the arts in their communities, we would not have a thriving Indigenous arts sector.
Cynthia Burke representing Tjanpi Desert Weavers, Delilah Shepherd representing Warakurna Artists and Tjanpi Desert Weavers, Ignatius Taylor representing Martumili Artists, Patricia Corlett representing Tjukurba Gallery/ Birriliburu Artists and Lily-mae Kerley representing Yamaji Art.
The Aboriginal arts workers were immersed in a series of arts workshops and professional development opportunities with the skilled arts workers of Waringarri Aboriginal Arts in Kununurra. Waringarri arts workers, board members and artists shared their talents and stories of country with Aboriginal arts workers from across the state. The participants were able to learn new skills, such as block printing on textiles, boab nut carving and slip casting, as well as learning about administration, tourism, packing artworks and stretching canvases.
Cynthia Burke representing Tjanpi Desert Weavers, Delilah Shepherd representing Warakurna Artists and Tjanpi Desert Weavers, Lily-Mae Kerley representing Yamaji Art, Sharona Walker representing Juluwarlu Art Group and Joylene Warrie representing Juluwarlu Art Group.
AACHWA would like to give special thanks the contributions from the organisations and people who have generously given their time, shared their expertise and offered their support to the program.
WA Museum, Boola Bardip (WAM), Art Gallery of WA (AGWA), PICA (Perth Institute of Contemporary Art), Holmes a’ Court Gallery, Berndt Museum of Anthropology, Waringarri Aboriginal Arts, Tjanpi Desert Weavers, Warakurna Artists, Yamaji Arts, Juluwarlu Group Aboriginal Corporation, Martumili Artists, Papulankutja Artists, Nagula Jarndu Designs, Esther McDowell, Fiona Gavino, Melissa McGrath, Kerri-Ann Winmar, North Regional TAFE, North Metropolitan TAFE, Foundation for Indigenous Sustainable Health (FISH), Midland Junction Arts Centre, Waringarri Media and Balthazaar Media.
AACHWA would also like to thank the Mentors and workshop facilitators involved in this program. You are leaders in your art centres and communities, and your involvement in the program provides Arts Workers with a sense of pride. You welcomed us all to Country, gave Arts Workers the opportunity to connect with you, and to speak with you about your leadership journey and life experiences that drive you to be cultural and creative leaders. Your valuable contribution to the program is very much appreciated.