Arts OutWest’s Central West Creative Lab was a series of artform development workshops for Aboriginal artists across the region. These workshops allowed regional Aboriginal artists time and space to try something different.
Workshops were held throughout May 2014 in four locations. The project was funded through Arts NSW and their Aboriginal Regional Arts Fund.
High level Aboriginal arts practitioners were engaged to spend time in the region explaining their selected medium, various artfoms and sharing their knowledge, expertise and advice. The focus was on professional skills development for the regional practitioners.
Local artists were given the opportunity to engage in high level participatory workshops using different artforms and exploring the history, development and current state of Aboriginal arts in their various forms – from the traditional to the contemporary.
An important component of the workshops was the introduction of traditional design elements, working with Wiradjuri elders to identify and present appropriate examples of work from the region to use as an impetus and inspiration for artists to create their own contemporary work.
Creative Labs workshops
Aboriginal artist Adam Hill ran a busy week of experiences for local artists, working across graphic design, photography, plein air, presentation, performance, writing an exhibition proposal, planning and development. Adam worked with four artists across the first four days of the week and then on the Friday went into local schools in the Bathurst area where more than 700 students participated.
Respected Aboriginal artist Djon Mudine ran sessions in the Bathurst area on the history and development of Aboriginal art, development of community projects, looking at potential future directions and individual artist feedback as well as artist’s exhibition proposals and development of exhibitions.
Uncle Ralph Naden
The Dubbo based performer and teacher ran sessions in Forbes on traditional dance,
cultural protocols and performance development. The workshops concluded with storytelling and performance for 800 school students in Forbes.
Aunty Gloria Rogers
The Bathurst-based elder and artist was brought in for her expertise on traditional symbolism, cultural protocols, storytelling through art and design elements. Gloria’s Kelso workshop focussed on traditional mark making and at Blackfella’s Cave near Lithgow she introduced participants to cultural protocols
The Blayney-based Aboriginal artist shared her experience in design elements and materials experimentation. Nyree worked with artists in Kelso.
Aleshia, a visual artist and Arts OutWest Aboriginal Arts Development Officer, worked with artists on exhibition concepts and development, potential Bathurst 200 artistic activities and looking at future artistic vision. Aleshia worked in Cowra and Bathurst. In Cowra Aleshia followed up with the Breakaway girls group in digital storytelling, basket weaving, which is ongoing.
As a targeted program, outcomes of the Creative Lab sessions have included:
• In Forbes, the dance workshops led to the development of new performances followed by a public presentation at the Forbes NAIDOC performance to an audience of 2000.
• Djon Mundine had success in gaining an exhibition for local artists Nyree and Irene Ridgeway at the Rocks in Sydney in November 2014-Feb2015.
• In Bathurst the workshops provided inspiration for the Windradyne project and exhibition, a in development with Bathurst Regional Art Gallery.
• Participants in workshops with Nyree and Gloria produced artworks for competitions using traditional symbols and modern design elements and materials.