Advocacy, policy and action for an Australian arts sector that's ambitious and fair

Focus on WA

Ted Snell on key upcoming exhibitions in Western Australia over the Summer.

Image: Graham Miller, Ira, 2013, Pigment print, 90x 90 cm. Courtesy the artist and the Art Gallery of Western Australia.

WA Focus at the Art Gallery of Western Australia

In a space dedicated to displaying the work of Western Australian artists, WA Focus features projects that showcase and celebrate the diverse voices (contemporary, historic, Indigenous and non-Indigenous) that comprise this State’s vibrant arts scene. This new initiative, curated by Robert Cook AGWA Curator of Contemporary International Art, aims to redress the absence of contemporary practitioners on view at the State’s leading cultural venue.

The new WA Focus series of exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Western Australia has so far featured the Abdullah Brothers (Abdul-Rahman and Abdul), Helen Smith and currently Graham Miller. As one of the state’s most significant photographers Graham Miller has been focusing on Western Australia for years and a selection of his works culled from the past fifteen years captures the human drama and the natural beauty of the State. WA Focus at Art Gallery of WA until 28 February 2016.

Perth International Arts Festival (PIAF) preview

Each year the Perth International Arts Festival offers a smorgasbord of local, national and international art events that activate the city and bring summer days and evenings alive with the beautiful, the challenging and the downright amazing. This year the visual arts program curated by Margaret Moore is constructed around three themes that together create a diverse and fascinating program. The first is an interest in the material properties of art, and the love of making that is manifest in a use of surface technique and texture to underpin the relevant content these artists address. This steam includes solo exhibitions by Bharti Kher at the Lawrence Wilson Gallery, Dani Marti at the Fremantle Arts Centre, Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg at PICA, and Ryan Trecartin at the Art Gallery of Western Australia.

Moore’s second thread is the way in which physical performance can be integral to the process of creating art, which is at the core of the practice of Shaun Gladwell, Carsten Höller and Western Australian artist Jon Tarry. All three are showing at the John Curtin Gallery. Finally, Moore has included works that showcase new local initiatives, such as Success, a vast space in the basement of the old Myer building in Fremantle converted into a gallery of contemporary art from around the world and FORM’s project in the Pilbara with Fiona Foley. At Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, John Curtin Gallery, AGWA, PICA, FAC, from February 2016 - March 2016. Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, John Curtin Gallery, AGWA, PICA, FAC.

SHAKESPEARE400: Andrew Nicholls

One of the most compelling of many memorials that will be launched in 2016 to commemorate Shakespeare’s legacy on the 400th anniversary of his death is the public artwork that caps the new City of Perth Library on Hay Street. Designed by Kerry Hill, Andrew Nicholls has transformed the dome of the circular building into a vast mural interpretation of the closing scene of The Tempest, translated into a Western Australian setting. Featuring local artists and friends portrayed as the central characters of the play, including Abdul Abdullah as Caliban, it is a re-visioning in which Prospero hands his magical book to Caliban, rather than throwing it into the ocean as he sails away from the island. Some of the ideas for the mural were previewed in a recent exhibition fair is foul & foul is fair at Turner Galleries in Northbridge where Nicholls, Abdul Abdullah and David Collins re-examined Shakespeare from their experience as artists working in the twenty-first century.


The vibrancy of any art scene in Australia is measured by the vitality of its artist-run-initiatives. The latest addition to the expanding Perth scene is ANOTHER, which has recently opened in Ashfield. ANOTHER seeks to promote dialogue between artists and audiences around the processes of art making by inviting artists to work in the space over a period of four weeks. The first residency was undertaken by Jessica Tan, who encouraged visitors to visit her studio and return to see the work finally installed. ANOTHER ARI is located at 174 Railway Parade, Bassendean, WA. Visit their Facebook page for updates.

Ted Snell is Director, Cultural Precinct, University of Western Australia

Andrew Nicholls Ariel

Andrew Nicholls, Ariel, archival ink pen on watercolour paper, 25.5 x 20cm, 2013.

Jessica Tan

Jessica Tan at ANOTHER ARI opening.