Tales from the Desert showcases fibre art
More than 300 local art lovers flocked to the Port Hedland Courthouse Gallery on Friday evening, to attend the official opening of its latest exhibition, Tales from the Desert.
The exhibition features the sculptures of the renowned Tjanpi Desert Weavers, an indigenous social enterprise which brings together more than 400 female artists from 26 remote communities in the western and central deserts to create beautiful and whimsical fibre art.
Tales from the Desert was introduced by FORM curator Mollie Hewitt and Pilbara Development Commission’s Trish Barron and officially opened by Member for Kalgoorlie Wendy Duncan MLA.
Ms Duncan said in her electorate, Tjanpi weaving was firmly embedded in contemporary central and western desert culture as a movement that celebrated self-sustainability, creativity and country.
“They create their Tjanpi artwork by weaving natural grasses... a practice that has been embedded in their culture for thousands of years,” she said.
“I see the difference that artwork makes to their communities... it enables people on the land to earn a regular income from selling their art.”
Ms Barron said the gallery expected national interest in the exhibition, as the Tjanpi Desert Weavers enjoyed ongoing national and international success.
She said alongside the weavers were two outstanding solo exhibitions from two Port Hedland artists, Helen Komene and Janelle McCaffrey.
“We are very lucky to receive these works in Port Hedland and such prestigious and accomplished artists hanging alongside our own local talents,” she said.
“Helen Komene and Janelle McCaffrey have delivered inspiring debut solo exhibitions, paying homage to our beloved Pilbara and its natural beauty.
“Today we have seen two fully developed bodies of work demonstrating commitment to artistic growth, creating excellence and the individual artists’ passion to their respective mediums.
“These exhibitions truly prove the importance of a regional gallery’s role in the redevelopment and growth of local practising artists and demonstrate FORM’s commitment to fostering creativity in Port Hedland.”
Local artist Ms McCaffrey thanked FORM and the staff at the Courthouse Gallery for helping her “rekindle her love affair with art”.
“This fantastic journey started in Queensland over four years ago with me saying I needed some more adventure in my life; little did I know then those words would lead me here,” she said.
“Before i had arrived in Port Hedland I had not touched any of my art for at least 15 years, but since living here I have embraced the wonderful opportunities presented to me at the gallery.
“By attending the fantastic workshops that have been made available, this has helped me gain more skills and given me more confidence for my art practice.
“I would like to thank the team at FORM for believing in me and giving me this wonderful opportunity to create a collection of art work for my very first exhibition.”
After the exhibition opening on Friday evening, Komene and McCaffrey will lead artist development workshops at the Courthouse Gallery on Saturday, May 14.
Tales from the Desert, Textures and The Pilgrim will be exhibiting at the gallery until June.
For more information on events at the Port Hedland Courthouse Gallery, please visit their page on Facebook.
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