Recycled materials, fresh ideas

Will YeomanThe West Australian
Abraham Wheeler painting up the wheels of his mutaka, with girlfriend Regina Watson looking on.
Camera IconAbraham Wheeler painting up the wheels of his mutaka, with girlfriend Regina Watson looking on. Credit: Minyma Kutjara Arts Project/Supplied

The readymade, the objet trouve, the repurposed, the recycled: in art and craft as in life, they’ve been with us in one form or another for centuries.

But arguably there’s never been a greater need to reduce and reuse than now. Which is one of the reasons the exhibition MADE | FOUND | REPURPOSED, presented as part of the Indian Ocean Craft Triennial (IOTA21), is so important.

Opening on Friday October 29 at South Fremantle’s Earlywork gallery, MADE | FOUND | REPURPOSED is an exhibition of found objects reshaped, painted and repurposed by Australian Aboriginal artists primarily from five remote community art centres and presented by Artitja Fine Art Gallery.

The exhibition is a celebration of the exceptional creative minds and hands that can shape discarded oil sumps into cars and old tin cans into handbags; pandanus reeds into mats and fish traps; adorn a bullock skull with a Kimberley landscape; and weave animals from found grasses.

Wire Piti by Stacia Lewis, modelled by Anna Leo.
Camera IconWire Piti by Stacia Lewis, modelled by Anna Leo. Credit: Claire Freer/Supplied

“We began planning the exhibition mid-2020 and in seeking out artisan craft had recently partnered with a relatively new art centre, the Minyma Kutjara Arts Project at Wingellina, where discarded car sumps were being turned into miniature cars,” gallery director Anna Kanaris says.

The artists also made shoulder bags from rusted metal and piti (carrying bowls) from old wire, on which stories were painted.

More items were sourced from Mangkaja Arts in Fitzroy Crossing, including bush-dyed silk textiles and an intricately painted bullock skull; small weaves and paintings from the Spinifex Hill Art Studio in South Hedland; and work from Irrunytju (Wingellina) a small, remote Aboriginal community located 10km from the tri-state border of WA, NT and SA.

MADE | FOUND | REPURPOSEDwill also feature small bark paintings, woven pandanus mats, fishtraps, dilly bags and baskets from Maningrida Arts in Arnhemland, as well as a display of ceramic sculptures from Ernabella Arts in the APY Lands.

Phillip Munda with bullock skull.
Camera IconPhillip Munda with bullock skull. Credit: Mangkaja Arts/Supplied

“Closer to home we are delighted to have included a special selection of woven objects by award-winning Noongar Bush Sculptor Janine McAullay Bott who is known for her range of multifaceted and at times whimsical creations,” Anna says.

Janine will be in the gallery on Saturday November 20 discussing her craft while demonstrating her artistic skills. This will be a ticketed event, details of which can be found on the gallery’s website: earlywork.gallery

MADE | FOUND | REPURPOSEDis a selling exhibition and is free to the public. Earlywork is at 330 South Terrace, South Fremantle. The exhibition opens 6.00pm Friday October 29 and continues until November 21, Wednesdays to Sundays 10am to 4pm.

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