Artwork captivates community

Louise AllinghamNorth West Telegraph
Shire of East Pilbara Art at the Heart 2015 artist in residence Yasuaki Onishi hangs works created by participants at his workshops.
Camera IconShire of East Pilbara Art at the Heart 2015 artist in residence Yasuaki Onishi hangs works created by participants at his workshops. Credit: Shire of East Pilbara, SEP

A trio of artists will return to Newman for the fourth and final year of the Art at the Heart artist- in-residency program.

Art at the Heart brought internationally renowned artists Hannah Quinlivan, Yasuaki Onishi and Akirash to the East Pilbara in 2014, 2015 and 2016 to complete a six-week residency, creating works inspired by the land.

This year, the three artists will return to Newman to complete a short residency and create a group exhibition, which will open on Friday, September 22 at East Pilbara Arts Centre and run for two weeks.

Art at the Heart curator Damian Smith said the exhibition would display new works and pieces from the artists’ previous residencies. “The works are quite large, experimental works that will be in the void space down at the East Pilbara Arts Centre and each of the artists, (have) very different personalities and different backgrounds,” he said.

“They’re all very contemporary artists and use unusual mediums in their work but they’re all responding to different aspects of the natural environment — land, the light, water.”

Quinlivan was the first artist to complete the Art at the Heart residency in 2014 and was particularly inspired by the jasper rock in Marble Bar.

Onishi is a Japanese artist who created a large sculpture installation piece simulating rain during his 2015 residency.

“(Onishi) uses this material in space and creates kind of these runny, drippy sculptures, which are quite difficult to describe — it’s something that you have to see to get a real sense of,” Smith said.

“He was interested in the wet season, the aquatic environment, how you could depict rain and he devised a very unusual system where he had strings stretched across the gallery space with the hot glue running down it so when you walk into the gallery you are walking through curtains of rain.”

Last year’s Art at the Heart resident, Nigerian artist Akirash, captivated audiences with his unique performance and art installations.

Shire of East Pilbara community wellbeing manager Pip Parsonson said Akirash gained a huge response from the community when he opened Newman’s Outback Fusion Festival last year.

“Akirash’s artwork was phenomenal in terms of both the installation and the performance, particularly the performance,” he said.

“It really turned a line for the crowd that was there and I dare say that none of them had seen anything quite like what he delivered that night and he just had the crowd completely mesmerised for what must have been about 20 minutes.”

Since it’s beginnings four years ago, the Art at the Heart program has grown in popularity and is one of the country’s richest artist regional residencies.

Mr Parsonson said last year’s program attracted almost 70 application from artist across 22 different countries.

Shire of East Pilbara chief executive Allen Cooper said the concept brought something wonderful and arty to the area that the community could participate in and appreciate.

“It meant we weren’t missing out on at least one thing we would have had access to in metropolitan or city Australia,” he said.

Mr Parsonson said shire chief executive Mr Cooper has been a huge supporter of the Art at the Heart program since its inception four years ago.

“Allen Cooper has very much been the driving force behind Art at the Heart – he's been a very strong advocate for its creation and its maintenance,” he said.

There will also be a series of art events and activities for the community to get involved in.

For more information, visit eastpilbara.wa.gov.au.

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