On this International Women’s Day, we’re profiling some of the female collaborators who continue to inspire and influence our work at FORM.
By Mags Webster, Writer
I first met Carol Coletta when FORM brought her to Perth in 2007 to talk about city-making and urban strategy (Carol would be an expert in residence for FORM a few more times, most recently in 2015). Back in 2007, Coletta was the CEO for CEOs for Cities, a pan-US organisation which operated as a think-tank for urban development and the creative cities agenda. The last time I met her in 2015, she was the vice-president for Community and National Initiatives at the Miami-based philanthropic organisation, The Knight Foundation.
These days, Coletta is Senior Fellow at the Kresge Foundation’s American Cities Program, and she is, according to its website, leading a proposed $40million collaboration of foundations, nonprofits and governments in a bid to show how shared civic assets can operate as a multiplier effect for the prosperity and functionality of cities and neighbourhoods.
Coletta made such an impression on me. In business and civic settings largely dominated (at the time, and maybe still) by men, Coletta shone because of her professionalism, intellect, diplomacy, experience, and emotional intelligence. I witnessed her ability to cut through, analyse and distil information; to discern what would actually be useful and advance a productive agenda. It was an object lesson not only in strategic thinking, but also in grace, and in holding the attention and respect of diverse audiences.
I imagine and hope she is doing all of this still, and through her example, inspiring countless women and men to follow her example.
Penny Coss & Conseulo Cavaniglia
By Sophia Constantine, Regional Communications Coordinator
Working at FORM means we get to meet some very special people.
I had the pleasure of being introduced to artists Penny Coss and Consuelo Cavaniglia in February when they returned to the Pilbara for the second time to install their works for the Visitants exhibition, now showing at the Port Hedland Courthouse Gallery.
Consuelo is a multidisciplinary artist whose work focuses on how we see and understand space. Her work employs technically simple visual effects to distort perception and unsettle the relationship between the viewer and space. Informed by the abstract expressionist tradition, Sydney-born Penny’s work interprets her encounters with Western Australia’s natural environment through colour and gesture.
Both artists share a desire to capture moments of experience, particularly in the natural world, that inspire wonder, or a sense of personal revelation. They also share an admirable sense of humor, are inspiring, hardworking, and incredibly easy to be around.
Penny and Consuelo are two of many artists who have been involved in FORM’s residency program, which places national and international artists in areas across Western Australia. The outcome? Stunning artworks resulting from experiences in the remotest of places.
It was a pleasure to watch Penny and Conseulo transform the gallery’s blank walls with light and colour, creating optical illusions and evoking sensual and transformative experiences for viewers. See Consuelo Cavaniglia and Penny Coss’ exhibition Visitants at the Port Hedland Courthouse Gallery until May.
Sue Giles AM
By Amy Plant, Project Manager
Sue Giles needs no introduction in the arts sector. Under her artistic stewardship, Polyglot Theatre continues to deliver innovative children’s theatre experiences that push the boundaries of community engagement, placemaking, and participatory performance. This year, Giles was recognised for her significant contribution to the performing arts sector on the national stage, being appointed Member of the Order of Australia (AM).
I first heard Sue Giles speak at the ArtsHub conference in 2016. Her keynote address was about being open to risk in the face of adversity, and the role of collaboration in creating sustainable and resilient arts organisations.
Fast-forward to 2019, and I feel lucky, through FORM, to be collaborating with Polyglot Theatre and Tjanpi Desert Weavers on Manguri Wiltja, a new participatory visual arts and theatre experience designed and developed with communities from Warakurna, Perth, and Melbourne. Manguri Wiltja will debut at Revealed this April at the Fremantle Arts Centre.
By Andrew Nicholls, Regional Curator
Bugai Whyoutler is a living legend, unquestionably one of Western Australia’s most significant contemporary artists, and a powerful matriarch of the Martu peoples of the East Pilbara.
A member of the Pujiman generation (who experienced first contact with non-Indigenous Australians), Bugai spent most of her youth living nomadically along the Canning Stock Route, first encountering white stockmen as a child. Eventually settling with relatives at Jigalong Mission, and then moving to Kunawarritji (Well 33), she was taught to paint by her equally-iconic relatives Nora Nungabar and Nora Wompi.
Much of Bugai’s work depicts Wantili a large jurnu (soak) and lyinji (clay pan) near Well 25, close to her birthplace. It is one of the many sites featured in the epic Minyipuru (Seven Sisters) jukurrpa (dreaming narrative). In recent years she has embarked on a dynamic partnership with her grandson, emerging Martu painter Cyril Whyoulter. Collaboration between artists of such different ages, sexes and levels of professional experience are rare, both within and without the context of Aboriginal art practice, and the partnership has resulted in a fascinating body of works including one that was – unsurprisingly – shorltisted for last year’s NATSIAA. Bugai’s solo works meanwhile are represented in major collections including those of the Gallery of Modern Art, Queensland Art Gallery, the National Gallery of Victoria, and the National Museum of Australia.
Bugai has had a strong relationship with FORM during the past decade. In addition to many Hedland Art Awards, she was a participant in the iconic Canning Stock Route Project and our more recent Pujiman collaboration between Spinifex Hill Artists and Martumili, currently touring Western Australia.
A long-time fan of Bugai’s work, I have recently written on her collaboration with Cyril for Art Collector and Art Edit Magazines and am privileged to now be co-curating her first Perth solo show with the incredible team at Martumili Artists. Her self-titled exhibition will open at The Goods Shed in July and will be an unmissable collection of works.
Image Gallery: Carol Coletta at PUBLIC Symposium 2015. Photograph by Jarrad Seng. Penny Coss and Consuelo Cavaniglia in Karijini National Park in 2016. Photograph by Bewley Shaylor. Sue Giles AM at The Goods Shed in 2017. Photograph by Bewley Shaylor. Bugai Whyoulter in Parnngurr art shed, 2016. Photograph by Sita McAlpine, National Museum of Australia, provided courtesy of Martumili Artists.
Read our 2018 International Women’s Day post here.