The Indian Ocean Craft Triennial (IOTA) is a new festival that celebrates the traditions and rituals of contemporary craft, bringing together makers, artists and crafted works from countries around the Indian Ocean Rim.

Opening on 17 September, IOTA’s inaugural exhibition Curiosity & Rituals of the Everyday, presents the work of more than 30 artists from seven countries across two venues: Fremantle Arts Centre and John Curtin Gallery.

From the exquisitely detailed textiles and embroidery works of Jakkai Siributr (Thailand) to the painted carpentry of Ishan Khosla (India) and his team of artisans, the exhibition presents strikingly modern installations and stories of our time that are firmly planted in craft traditions.

Fremantle Arts Centre Director Anna Reece said, “Both ancient and contemporary, craft is a universal language capable of bringing people together, of creating intimate moments for reflection and speaking to the myriad of experiences that make up daily life across the Indian Ocean Rim.

“We are so proud to host IOTA’s principle exhibition Curiosity & Rituals of the Everyday, which calls out across the oceans with rich and evocative stories of culture, life and times from countries including India, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Kenya, South Africa, and indeed Australia. A celebration of how deeply embedded cultural practice has and will always be in craft making.”


The official opening of IOTA21 on 17 September will see cultures come together, as Fremantle Arts Centre is transformed into a joyous celebration of dance, song and music. With performances by Noongar artists, classical Indian musicians and dancers from Saraswati Mahavidhyalaya, Tamil drummers, contemporary African performances, and much more. There will be delicious food from the unique cultures of countries represented in the triennial including Kenya, Singapore and Thailand.

Among the highlights of Curiosity & Rituals of the Everyday, Sharyn Egan, a Noongar painter, weaver and sculptor from Western Australia will present What’s in a Noongar woman’s bag? Naatj Noongar yoka kooda, a collaborative project developed with a group of Noongar women who are recreating bags made and carried by their ancestors. The starting point for the project was explorer George Grey’s comprehensive list of 23 objects typically found in a woman’s bag, written in 1839.

Ishan Khosla, an Indian designer and artist has worked with a whole community of artisans for his painted carpentry works. Khosla’s works blend contemporary Indian advertising with the traditional kaavad — a portable shrine and storytelling device — to explore concepts concerning contemporary Indian life.

Kenyan artist Cyrus Kabiru will present his spectacular wearable masks, made from scrap metal sourced from Nairobi, and Fremantle-based textile and embroidery artist Susie Vickery will present an immersive installation that will take audiences on a journey through the ocean with five curious women, past and present.

Jude van der Merwe, Co-Curator and Project Leader of IOTA, commented, “Showcasing artists from more than seven countries, the exhibition is a cross-cultural exploration of craft and the handmade across our region, offering a new, contemporary lens on this ancient practice.

“From ceramics to metalwork, embroidered and woven textiles, woodwork and pearl shell carving, the works demonstrate the incredible skill of the artists while shining a light on the importance of craft as a vital livelihood and a vehicle for community resilience.”

Taking place from September through to November, the broader IOTA21 festival program includes exhibitions, a conference, talks, workshops and a fashion event.

Curiosity & Rituals of the Everyday runs from Sat 18 Sep 2021 — Sun 07 Nov. For the full IOTA program visit

Exhibiting Artists – Fremantle Arts Centre

Sharyn Egan (WA)
Sarah Elson (WA)
Audrey Fernandes-Satar & Arif Satar (WA)
Cyrus Kabiru (Kenya)
Ishan Khosla (India)
Darrell Sibosado and Darrell Jade Kyle (WA)
Garry Sibosado (WA)
Uday Singh (India)
Jakkai Siributr (Thailand)
Wuthigrai Siriphon (Thailand)
Thania Petersen (South Africa)
Susie Vickery (WA)
Liz Williamson (NSW)

Exhibiting Artists – John Curtin Gallery

Melissa Cameron (WA)
Tjanpi Desert Weavers – Judith Yinyika Chambers and Nancy Nyanyana Jackson (WA)
Kaaru – Sanjib Chatterjee and Anjalee Wakankar (India)
Kirit Dave (India)
Sunny Dolat (Kenya)
Andile Dyalvane (South Africa)
Pierre Fouché (South Africa)
Gaurav Jai Gupta (India)
Jan Griffiths (WA)
Yee I-Lann (Malaysia)
Shakuntala Kulkarni (India)
Desmond Lazaro (VIC)
Anniketyni Madian (Malaysia)
Athi-Patra Ruga (South Africa)
Garry Sibosado (WA)
Uday Singh (India)
Madhvi Subrahmanian (India)
Zizipho Poswa (South Africa)
Monique Tippett (WA)

Artwork details (from top)
Cyrus Kabiru Macho Nne, Amboseli Mask, 2017, C-type Print on Diasec Mount, 70 x 60 cm

Ishan Khosla with Anoop Sharma and Tasleem Ahmed, Formerly known as the king of the jungle, 2021, acrylic and digital print on wood, 35.5 x 24.3 x 12cm

Susie Vickery with Bappaditya Biswas, Kolkata, India; Janakpur Women’s Development Center, Janakpur, Nepal; Mark Binns, Fremantle, The Curious Five Go Surfing (detail), 2021, cotton thread, cotton, found objects, 50 x 35cm

Media contact
Rosamund Brennan, [email protected], 08 9432 9565