On this International Women’s Day, we’re profiling a few of our favourite current female collaborators.
Pilar Mata Dupont
by Mollie Hewitt, Regional Manager and Curator
Pilar Mata Dupont is a Perth original, now working out of Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Pilar has a remarkable ability to explore the complexities of national and personal narratives through her theatrical and moody aesthetics.
Over the past eighteen months I have had the true pleasure of working with Pilar on the development of Undesirable Bodies. During this process I have been privy to her incisive thinking, sensitive consideration, astute instincts, tireless hard work, and artistic rigour.
The exceptional work that she has made for Undesirable Bodies is a dark and gentle exploration of the complexities inherent in the Pilbara’s desert oasis at Jirndawurrunha, and the broader tension inherent in contemporary Australian identity. You can see her exhibition at FORM Gallery, 357 Murray Street, Perth until 6 April.
by Greg Taylor, Spinifex Hill Manager
Gloria makes powerful paintings. I see her as part of the lineage of boss women who pulled money into their communities by sharing their culture, knowledge of Country and life experiences. She has the same sort of relaxed brushwork of some bush-born painters like the late Nora Nungabar and Nora Wompi and probably saw them paint in Jigalong. Gloria is distinct from them too, of course. She’s not mapping, but her colour and mark making are something out of the ordinary. The paint doesn’t look like paint anymore: it transcends the medium. I think for a viewer they’re easy to imbue with something of your own experience, an emotion or a memory. That’s what I like about them anyway, that I can sort of plunge into them and imagine what life is like for her. Her reality is so different to mine.
by Andrew Nicholls, Curator
Through my curatorial role at FORM I’ve been privileged to work with members of the iconic Tjanpi Desert Weavers initiative numerous times since 2002. One of Tjanpi’s current rising stars is Dallas Smythe who though still an early-career artist, has earned growing national recognition for her assertive sculptural works and basketry. Dallas was born in Wiluna, raised in Warburton, and now lives in Warakurna, all remote communities in Western Australia’s central desert. Learning weaving from her grandmother, renowned painter and Tjanpi artist Nora Holland, Dallas has quickly become known for her innovative woven sculptures. She was selected for the inaugural Bankwest Prize for Sculpture in 2014, and in 2015 won the prestigious $30,000 major prize in the Hedland Art Awards, at the Courthouse Gallery for My Country, an exquisite grass rendering of a goanna.
Dallas is one of four inspiring Tjanpi artists who have been working with FORM and Polyglot Theatre since 2016 to develop a new experimental collaborative work for children. Combining Tjanpi sculptural techniques with Polyglot’s flair for interactive performance, the project, with the working title Manguri Wiltja, is scheduled to premiere in late 2018.
by Katie Evans, Port Hedland Courthouse Gallery and Programs Coordinator
More often than not, the Pilbara-based artists I engage through the Courthouse Gallery produce landscape orientated artwork to showcase the visually striking and harsh environment. However, it was with great pleasure to observe former colleague, friend and artist Ruth Leigh develop a body of work which encapsulated the true essence of the Pilbara… The people that call the Pilbara their land and their Country. Primarily a figurative painter, Ruth Leigh was inspired by her various social encounters while living and working for FORM’s Spinifex Hill Studios and Martumili Artists, to develop deliberate, restrained yet confident portraits of Aboriginal artists she had formed significant relationships with.
Currently exhibiting at the Courthouse Gallery, Learn Me not only reflects the powerful characters Ruth engages with, but is testament to her approach to life: thoughtful, respectful and passionate.
by Amy Plant, Project Manager
Heralded as one of the central movers and shakers of the new wave of muralism, Sheryo is a street art powerhouse. Sheryo has been painting murals for over a decade and I’ve had the pleasure of working with her in Port Hedland and Perth for FORM’s multi-year PUBLIC festival. Watching Sheryo at work is truly a delight. As she nonchalantly wields cans of spray paint, with equal parts abandon and precision, she transports us into a world of fantastical creatures. I admire her imagination, skills, attitude, and her sense of humour.
by Tahmina Maskinyar, Project Manager
Having heard Felicity Groom’s beautiful sultry voice and layered music back in 2015 during an exhibition opening at Fremantle Art Centre I was a bit star struck finding myself sitting next to her during a recent Creative Learning artist workshop at The Goods Shed. Felicity is one of the artists involved in our Scribblers Festival launching on 9th May this year, delivering school programs over the Festival focussed on the language of music. Felicity has a quiet confidence and a general can do attitude with her approach to music, experimenting, imagining and taking risks. We are very privileged to be working with Felicity and I personally am looking forward to seeing the outcomes of her workshops during our Scribblers Festival.
For more information on the Scribblers Festival please see: https://www.scribblersfestival.com.au/
Felicity also has a Spotify channel https://open.spotify.com/artist/2tboBlk0iAkHQOWfzo3APe for your listening pleasure.