‘BlakLight’ – First Nations art takes over AGWA

Every gallery space at the Art Gallery of Western Australia will be dedicated to First Nations art for ‘BlakLight’ a special presentation on view until 18 April 2022.

This is an Australian State Gallery first and the whole-gallery program will be accompanied by a series of events from visual art, to music, talks and more which are intended to spark conversations about cultural identities. In addition to this the institution has launched a professional development workshops for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists based in Perth.

AGWA Curator and Head of Indigenous Programs, Clothilde Bullen said, “Colonised countries have been reckoning with their histories for centuries, and art is a powerful way to spark conversations about some of the issues that affect First Nations people and communities who were and continue to be impacted...” she continued;

BlakLight also offers a different lens on viewing the world, and provides an opportunity to invite all Australian community members to come together, acknowledge our shared histories, and engage in truth-telling around national and cultural identity.

There will be several exhibitions as well as engaging art projects including Tyrown Waigana’s ‘Overgrown’ the first artwork developed for AGWA’s mural wall, which refers to ‘the idea of new things covering old things or old things becoming new things.’ In ‘Rooftop Rewritten’ six Aboriginal writers and curators respond to the sculptural works by non-Indigenous artists atop the gallery.

Coming up on Sunday 27th of March, a lively panel conversation will take place with poet and digital producer Jazz Money, writer and curator Charmaine Papertalk Green and curator Glenn Iseger-Pilkington; get your tickets to the afternoon here. Some fun parallel events include music, after-hours drinks, ‘meet the maker’ opportunities and yoga on the rooftop of AGWA.

Image: Mother Marls x Agapantha

Exciting exhibitions to experience at BlakLight

Ever Present: First Peoples Art of Australia – Until 18 April
A show which promises to reveal the contemporary views and lived experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, bridging time and place, and connecting through the perspectives of identity, resilience and cultural legacy.

Image: Daniel Walbidi Mangala/Yulparija peoples, Winpa 2011 (detail). The Wesfarmers Collection of Australian Art, Whadjuk Boodja Country/Perth.

Michael Jalaru Torrres – Jurru – Until 3 July
Michael Jalaru Torres shares pieces from over six-years of his artistic practice in Jurru that touches on the meaning, pleasure and darkness of life in the Kimberly. The gallery shares that it will be ‘a window into the joy and challenges of being from, belonging to and living in one of the most remote and beautiful places in the world.’

Michael Jalaru Torres Wirriya (happy) from the series Native 2019 (detail). Photographic print, 59.4 x 84.1 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

Bábbarra Designs: Material stories by women of Arnhem Land – Until 17 July
Will display and celebrate hand-printed textiles that tell the ancestral stories of Bábbarra’s Arnhem Land country and cultures. Initially established as a women’s refuge in 1983, it is now an established art centre with a focus on professional development and providing opportunities for artists.

Tracks We Share: Contemporary Art of the Pilbara – Until 28 August
Celebrating the Aboriginal artists and artwork of Western Australia’s Pilbara region, this unique exhibition brings together more than 70 artists and over 190 artworks across four gallery spaces.

Boorongur (Totem) – Until 4 December
Is a quiet space for conversation, rest, creativity and opportunity to engage in Noongar culture. in collaboration with Sharyn Egan, in this shared space we consider a personal plant or animal totem, and contribute to the accumulation of families of small raffia and wool creatures.

Balancing Act: Our story is not one story but many stories to share – Ongoing
This show reflects the depth of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and culture with radical observations about the ups and downs of life and stories about Country.