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We Hold You Close

Katie West

We Hold You Close
  • Australia

Presented in association with PICA – Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts

Drawing together textiles, sound, video and community practice, York-based Yindjibarndi artist Katie West has teamed up with Perth-born Rotterdam-based curator Eloise Sweetman to present her most ambitious project to date. We Hold You Close is a song for material intimacy that invites us to interact and engage in a sensory experience.

Gathering and learning from materials and one another is fundamental to Katie’s practice. In developing the exhibition, she invited friends and family to a natural dyeing workshop at her home on Noongar Ballardong boodja in York. Over two days, the group walked along the bilya collecting plant material. They made dye bundles and immersed them into pots of water on an open fire, to bubble away and become infused with the colour and scent of Country. The group shared time around the fire, ate lunch and drank cups of tea, waiting for the dye pot to do its work. This collective and collaborative process results in a vibrant installation of textile works and soft furnishings that carry the colours and scents of earth, plant, and smoke.

Central to the exhibition is a meeting space in which the visitors can make hand-twisted string from repurposed fabric. Throughout the course of the exhibition, visitors add their handiwork to the gallery walls, creating an ever-expanding supportive structure.

Two new video works complement the installation and enveloping the entire exhibition is a soundscape of ambient sounds made in collaboration with composer York-based Simon Charles and featuring string musicians Djuna Lee and Jameson Feakes.

Katie describes We Hold You Close as ‘acknowledging and honouring the influence and nourishment of the collective – our families, friends, ancestors and country, the others for whom we would not exist without and who need our presence too’.

Eloise Sweetman
Simon Charles
Djuna Lee & Jameson Feakes

Katie West – Artist

Katie West belongs to the Yindjibarndi people of the Pilbara tablelands in Western Australia. The process and notion of naturally dyeing fabric underpin her practice – the rhythm of walking, gathering, bundling, boiling up water and infusing materials with plant matter. In 2017 Katie completed a Master of Contemporary Art at the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne, graduating as the Dominik Mersch Gallery Award recipient and the Falls Creek Resort Indigenous Award. Her exhibitions and commissions include Decolonist (Next Wave Festival, Melbourne), Radical Ecologies (PICA, Perth), Roll on, Roll on, Phenomena (until you are no more) curated by Eloise Sweetman (Jan van Eyck Academy, The Netherlands), Warna (ground) (Caves Gallery, Melbourne), wilayi bangarrii, wanyaarri (go for a walk, listen) (Dominik Mersch Gallery, Sydney), Installation Contemporary, Sydney Contemporary 2019 (Carriageworks, Sydney), Clearing (TarraWarra Museum of Art, Healesville). Katie also shares a collaborative project with artist and writer Fayen d’Evie entitled Museum Incognita.

Eloise Sweetman – Curator

Eloise Sweetman investigates systems and degrees of exchange where ideas, methodologies, discussion and materials are made active, radiate out and extend beyond the exhibition walls. These exchanges result in exhibitions, publications and event-based programs. Projects and collaborations have been with Akwa Ibom, Athens; Spazio Orr, Brescia; Kunstlicht Journal of Visual Art and Culture, Amsterdam; Cookies, Amsterdam; Treignac Projet, Treignac; The Community, Paris; Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo; PUBLICS, Helsinki; MADA Gallery, Monash University Melbourne; A Tale of A Tub, Rotterdam; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Turning A Blind Eye, Sao Paulo Biennial; De Appel, Amsterdam; Political Arts Initiative, Leiden; Casco - Institute for Art, Utrecht; Thai Pavilion, Venice Biennale, Venice; and Gallery VER, Bangkok. Eloise is co-director of Shimmer, an exhibition, events and online platform in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Since 2016, she has been a theory lecturer at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam.

PICA – Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts

Housed in a large and striking heritage building in the heart of Perth, Western Australia, PICA is the city’s focal point for those wishing to experience the best of Australian and international visual, performance and interdisciplinary art.

Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA) is both a producing and presenting institution that runs a year-round program of changing exhibitions, seasons in contemporary dance, theatre and performance, artistic residencies and interdisciplinary projects. It boasts one of the largest and most breath-taking exhibition spaces in Australia and has become known for the leading role it plays in the presentation of significant new work.


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Time & Location


  • Tactile tour of the exhibition available on Sat 26 Feb
  • Audio described tours of the exhibition are available Sat 19 - Thur 24 Feb
Gallery Opening Times

Tue – Sun 10am – 5pm

Exhibition Opening
Sat 19 Feb 4pm

Stay COVID Safe

Perth Festival will be implementing all government orders relating to COVID-19 and we have updated our ticketing Terms & Conditions accordingly. It is a condition of entry at all Perth Festival 2022 events and venues that patrons 16 years and over must demonstrate proof of a double dose COVID-19 vaccination or a medical exemption sufficient to meet WA State Government requirements.

Please visit our COVID safe page for the most up-to-date information.

Thank you


  • Susie Blatchford of Pixel Poetry
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