Bold Statements & Intimate Revelations
From uncertainty might come something beautiful and different
Perth Festival's Visual Arts program is one that is notoriously filled with bold statements and intimate revelations.
Living on past the length of the theatre and dance program, we thought it would be worth reveling in the curatorial note from this year's Visual Arts Progam Associate, Gemma Weston, about how this year's creation came to be.
Truly unmissable, head along to Art Gallery of Western Australia // Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts // John Curtin Gallery // Fremantle Arts Centre // DADAA // Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery and witness these extraordinary exhibits before they disappear.
Image: Fremantle Arts Centre Perth Festival Visual Arts Opening, cr. Pixel Poetry
Image: Gemma Weston, cr. Ilkka K Photography
A NOTE FROM GEMMA
The Perth Festival Visual Arts Program for 2020 is united by two ideas: transformation and conversation, drawing from the Noongar word Karla that underscores the Festival as a whole. This word means ‘fire’ but also home, signifying places of belonging where people can come together as well as acknowledging the role fire has traditionally played in management of Country. As the Festival has approached, the significance of this word has grown, shifted, become more urgent.
Karla manifests in many ways across the Visual Arts program. The sacrificial ashes of an artist’s visual diaries become a suite of rings, jewelry to guard against mental anguish. New technologies create virtual incandescence and lab-engineered heart cells animated with the sparks of life. Paintings made in Fitzroy Crossing with an eye on the bushfire crisis unfolding across Australia carry a deeply political warning – ignore indigenous knowledge at your peril.
Many galleries present multiple exhibitions ‘in conversation’, or projects that involve collaboration, knowledge-sharing or storytelling. Artists work with musicians and scientists and writers, or they mentor other artists.
An Amazonian tribe reaches out to an acclaimed director to tell their urgent story in Virtual Reality. The ever-expanding suburban landscape is explored from perspectives that span cultures and generations – wadjela; millennial and Noongar; stolen.
This year a pilot program offers focused opportunity for dialogue. The inaugural Visual Arts Writing Group brings together seven artists, writers and thinkers to respond to the program through text. Some texts will be published in the Festival’s program guides and blog, and others will unfold with the Festival in magazines, podcasts, readings, discussion groups and more.
In my first year as Festival Visual Arts Program Associate I’ve been challenged to reflect on what role art can play in an uncertain and rapidly changing world. What I hope these artists, brought together, might demonstrate are ways in which uncertainty can be untangled from fear. From uncertainty might come something beautiful and different: curiosity, generosity, surprise, new knowledge, new communities. A way of learning to live together on Noongar boodjar.
PERTH FESTIVAL VISUAL ARTS PROGRAM ASSOCIATE