28. 12. 2014

A little bit about Temporary Art Gallery – Waikerie

Temporary Art Gallery – Waikerie was a commissioned project by Country Arts SA to begin a dialogue within the community of Waikerie and show that art and culture can contribute to the energy of the main streets.  It served also as an initial point of exchange and research for the artists, Nadia Cusimano and Paul Gazzola to begin dialogues with locals for a future project in 2015 as part of the This Is A River initiative.

Unlike a traditional gallery where the art works (ie paintings, sculpture etc) are made by individual artists for sale, an invitation was made to local residents asking them to bring in various objects that they recognised as having a strong connection to the local surroundings. Personal memorabilia, photos, films, hand made objects, farm machinery, glass work, found objects, newspaper clippings, a custom made bicycle, tractor and an 1920’s firetruck. Designated art works by local artists, including a site specific painting done on one wall, made up a selection of the objects and were redisplayed as art works and cultural objects.

See http://temporaryartgallery-waikerie.blogspot.com.au/
for a comprehensive view of all the works

Whilst broad in the possibility of what can be displayed, Temporary Art Gallery – Waikerie is not organised as a junk or 2nd hand shop, but a carefully curated space, displaying a series of works as one would in a normal gallery.  All the objects were hung, placed on stands and on the floor with accompanying tags that stated the title of the work, year, materials, value and name of the participant – and in this context they are named as the artist. The collection of works grew over the duration of the project to total 111 objects. Alongside the art works, a series of video interviews was made with each of the contributors, collecting the stories that accompanied the objects and shown on a video screen within the gallery space.

There was an option for the participants to either loan or donate their objects. The 33 objects donated were auctioned on the 15th November after a midday sausage sizzle with Paul acting as the auctioneer. A total of $971.50 was made with all proceeds going to the Murraylands Domestic Violence Service. A viewing night with drinks was held on Friday November 14 from 5pm- 9pm. Speeches were made by Anthony Peluso, the Director, Community Engagement at Country Arts SA as well as by the two artists. Karen Richardson from The Rain Moth Gallery also spoke on the project and its connection to the community.

By generating a unique place of engagement and exchange within the community, Temporary Art Gallery – Waikerie linked the past and contemporary histories of the objects, to the history of the people and the surrounding areas revealing a series of unique values, interests and personal cultural perspectives.

Local resident Matt Stansfield was also engaged over the period to assist with discussing the project with people coming into the shop, assisting with local connections in the area, organising and maintaining the face book page, assisting with layout of objects in shop and compiling documentation. The participation of a local resident was also a primary objective of the project as a way to assist in supporting a deeper connection with the community.

Matthew Bennett

Country Arts SA recognises and respects that we are living and creating on Aboriginal Lands and we are committed to working together to honour their living cultures.