Walyalup (Fremantle): As the Earth’s axis begins its cyclical tilt, ushering in the seasons of Kambarang, Birak and Bunuru, the southern half of the Western Australian coast is struck by cooling winds off the Indian ocean, tracing the topography of the land, carrying with it the many stories that connect us and catching the sails of those who leave, and those who anchor here.

It is this poetic seasonal marker which gave rise to Marawar-ak | From the West: Contemporary Art from Western Australia — a celebration of Western Australian art, our place in the world and the stories borne from this vast state.

Bringing together practitioners working across design, animation, sculpture, drawing and installation, Marawar-ak comprises four independent exhibitions including Still Watching by Anna Louise Richardson & Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, A Gift and a Shadow by Sally Bower, Backtrack by Katie Breckon and The Rin DinDai by Tyrown Waigana.

The exhibitions feature works of art that survey the lands we live upon, explore the ways we make meaning of the world and others that transport us to imaginary worlds. They present stories of regional and remote life, love, family, grief, choice, sacrifice, alongside works that map geography and memory.

According to Glenn Iseger-Pilkington, Curator Visual Arts, “While Fremantle Arts Centre always has our eyes on the national and international art stages, it’s crucial to us as an organisation that we celebrate Western Australian practice; that we nurture, support and amplify the voices of local artists, make meaningful investments in their careers and celebrate our unique histories and realities.”

Marawar-ak|From the West is testament to this commitment, bringing together a diverse group of emerging and established artists, each with differing connections to Western Australia, to offer rich stories and experiences using their own unique visual languages and creative approaches.”

A collaborative exhibition by Anna Louise Richardson and Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Still Watching will immerse Fremantle Arts Centre’s main gallery in a darkly psychological landscape that posits the questions who is watching and who is being watched?

Featuring Richardson’s finely detailed charcoal drawings and Abdullah’s striking sculptural installations, both depicting various domestic and wild animals, the exhibition embodies different experiences and perceptions of mutual observation in the natural world. Embracing the magical thinking of childhood, the artists articulate a personal lore, voicing their relationships with other creatures and the mythic qualities of the worlds we occupy.

A Gift and a Shadow by designer Sally Bower transforms the gallery into “an exhibition-come-agility-course, come-game show”, with soft sculpture, drawing, painting and provocation. Curated by FAC Exhibitions and Engagement Coordinator Emma Buswell, A Gift and A Shadow explores choice and consequence, the road less travelled and the absurdity of life, creating space to consider alternate understandings and interpretations of the world around us.

“Western Australia has a thriving community of designers and makers, but design often flies under the radar of major galleries and institutions,” says Emma Buswell. “A Gift and A Shadow sees the talents of Sally Bower celebrated in her first solo exhibition, a significant career milestone for this skilled designer and artist.”

Katie Breckon is an Aotearoa-born artist, educator and remote community arts worker whose practice explores the transient and transformative notion of home and questions one’s place in the natural world. In Backtrack, Breckon explores expanded drawing and mark-making practices through the lens of mapping personal and physical geographies.

Having lived, worked and travelled, as a visitor on Nyikina, Ngarinyin, and Worrorra Country in the West Kimberley region of Western Australia for a decade, Backtrack acts as an abstracted record of that time, retracing landmarks and mapping journeys in the creation of an archive that renders memory as an act of reflective catharsis.

Walyalup-based artist Tyrown Waigana explores sacrifice and reward and notions of the unexpected in The RinDin Dai a newly commissioned exhibition which plunges audiences into the world of the Hongels, an other-worldly species on their ceremonial day of the RinDin Dai.

Featuring animation, painting and sculpture, The RinDin Dai is Waigana’s first solo presentation at Fremantle Arts Centre, following his inclusion in group exhibitions at FAC including Hundreds & Thousands, A Forest of Hooks and Nails and Revealed: New and Emerging WA Aboriginal Artists.

A series of public programs and events will accompany the exhibition, including Artist Talks on Sat 5 Nov, Curator Tours on 26 Nov and 13 Jan, and a special panel discussion on Western Australian arts practice in Disclosure: Art Today in WA on 13 Dec.

Marawar-ak | From the West: Contemporary Art from Western Australia opens at 6:30pm on Fri 4 Nov and runs daily till Sun 22 Jan 2023. Entry is free.

For interviews or further information please contact Media Officer Rosamund Brennan via [email protected] or +61 (8) 9432 9565