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Artist-in-Residence Central Craft

The Self Reconciliation Project

 
The Self Reconciliation Project investigates our history of conflict abuse and racism between First Nation people and coloniser/settlers.
 
At the Fremantle Art Centre residency I researched my own family history in relation to politics, racial issues, community attitudes and the laws of the times (an internal lens). At Central Craft I investigated connection to ‘place’ through the Australian landscape (an external lens).

Why Mparntwe?  My aim for the residency was to immerse myself in the landscape with the expectation I would gain an understanding of the deep spiritual connection between ‘place’ and people. As the spiritual and physical heart of Australia I found Mparntwe ideal.

Tjoritja (the MacDonnell Ranges) and the surrounding country was a landscape like no other. The visual, sensory immensity of the country and the aroused emotions for the earth was palpable – the colours, the rock formations, the eco-systems, plants, animals, the visible timeline of millions of years.

 

In 2022 I had attended The Australian Ceramics Triennale in Mparntwe and heard Arrernte Elder Doris Stuart Kngwarreye’s opening acknowledgment. It changed my approach to collecting found clay to use in my work and as part of the residency it was important I gained permission to collect the clay from the region.

 

I was fortunate to meet with Doris, to hear her storytelling as a senior Arrernte custodian, to talk to her about my own project and surprisingly, our mutual connection to Canberra. I was also extremely fortunate to gain permission to work with the clay from the mudflats.
 

I met the wonderful Vanessa Sim, studio manager at Hermannsburg Potters, who was so welcoming and generous. Spending the day with the potters, talking and hearing their stories was very special. They were making pots for the Desert Mob exhibition at Araluen Art Centre.

 

Vanessa introduced me to Hayley Panangka Coulthard, who was exploring the use of local Ntaria clay. Vanessa, Hayley and I spent a day together in the Central Craft ceramics studio preparing tests for Hayley, exploring processes for the use of the Ntjaria clay in her work. Hayley generously gave me some of her clay and permission to use it in my work.

I had an exhibition in the Central Craft Gallery showcasing research and new ideas from the residency, presented an artist talk and facilitated a masterclass in porcelain techniques. I attended many events – art exhibitions, the writers festival, a locally produced documentary – Audrey Napanangka (2022), the beanie festival and had access to an incredible collection of Aboriginal art, art centres, sacred sites and story telling, and I had the time to immerse myself in the ancient landscape.

 

The team at Central Craft and the Araluen Art Centre gave me such a warm welcome and were instrumental in connecting me to the many and varied events, people and networks that made my residency such a success.

While at Central Craft I did test clay and explore ideas for The Self Reconciliation Project exhibition. However it is now time to go into the studio in earnest and make new work that articulates the project’s two lines of inquiry and perspectives – family history and connection to place – to tell stories that hopefully imparts a deeper understanding of cultural histories and differences.


 

Read: The Self Reconciliation Project AiR Central Craft

Read: The Self Reconciliation Project AiR Fremantle Art Centre

                  

            

WHAT

Artist-in-Residence

WHERE

Central Craft, Mparntwe (Alice Springs)

WHEN

May and June 2023

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