Regional WA is opening its borders to new ideas and experiences through a series of interconnected art exhibitions, performances and a short film developed by artists living across twelve diverse communities scattered across the State.
The Open Borders regional events series is a unique initiative of The Creative Grid - a collective of like-minded arts organisations that collaborate on projects seeding, sharing and promoting regional creativity.
Commencing in Geraldton in July this year, the series of activities unfolds each month until May 2023. Participating communities include: Geraldton, Broome, Dwellingup, Denmark, Esperance, Carnamah, Kununurra, Port Hedland, Ravensthorpe, Kalgoorlie, Northcliffe, Narrogin, Margaret River and Gascoyne Junction.
A selection of work from each region will be showcased in a proposed survey exhibition at the prestigious John Curtin Gallery in Perth in August-October.
Open Borders is part of the Creative Grid's 'Mycelium' project.
Participating communities & organisations
- Goolari Media (Broome)
- Waringarri Aboriginal Arts (Kununurra)
- The Junction Co (Port Hedland)
- Creality (Carnarvon)
- North Midlands Project (Carnamah)
- Geraldton Regional Art Gallery (Geraldton)
- Tjuma Pulka Media (Kalgoorlie)
- Artgold (Kalgoorlie)
- Cannery Arts Centre (Esperance)
- Rave About Arts (Ravensthorpe)
- Lake Grace Artists (Lace Grace)
- Arts Narrogin (Narrogin)
- Great Southern
- Denmark Arts (Denmark)
- South West
- Creative Corner (Margaret River)
- Southern Forest Arts (Northcliffe)
- Lost Eden Creative (Dwellingup)
Inclusion priority has been given to organisations within RAWA’s Regional Arts Network.
9th July - 4th September
Open Borders [Geraldton Regional Arts Gallery]
Open Borders as part of 'Taste of Broome' [Gimme Amphitheatre Broome]
10th September - October 9th
Arboretum [Lost Eden Creative, Dwellingup]
25th September - Sunday 9th October
Open Borders [The Butter Factory, Denmark]
29th September - October 30th
IN[SITE] [Cannery Arts Centre, Esperance]
1st - 23rd October
Open Borders [The Bank Gallery, Carnamah]
2nd - 30th October
Open Borders [Waringarri Aboriginal Arts, Kunnunurra]
25th November - 8th January
The 26th Parallel and Beyond [Courthouse gallery, Port Hedland]
21st November - 5th December
Remote [Ravensthorpe Town Hall, Ravensthorpe]
1st - 31st December
Open Borders [Artgold Gallery, Kalgoorlie-Boulder]
4th December - 22nd January
Fluorescent Yellow // Electric Lime [Painted Tree Gallery, Northcliffe]
28th January - 18th February
Open Borders [Nexus Gallery, Narrogin]
30th January- 24th February
EMERGENCES [Creative Corner Venue TBC, Margaret River]
May Dates TBC - Gascoyne in May travelling festival[Events and dates TBC]
Tjuma Pulka Film release[Dates and venue TBC]
The project’s central provocation is encapsulated in a Curatorial Brief written by regionally based Lead Curator, Annette Davis. An extract from the brief is below:
- A border is a barrier which can be tangible or intangible.
- Borders are used to keep things in and to keep things out. They can be protective and they can prohibitive.
- Borders within the mind direct thought, assumptions and conclusions.
- Borders manage behaviour.
- Borders are often managed by regulations which require evidence of authorized movement across a border.
- Borders can be contravened, overturned and broken down.
- Borders can be the site of protest.
- Borders can be permeable and impermeable.
- A border might be a clear red line on a map but it can also be shifting and nebulous, with grey areas subject to change.
- Over the past twelve months as the COVID-19 pandemic has spread, the presence of borders, and the fact that they can be closed and opened, has had innumerable impacts on our physical and psychological lives.
- International borders have been closed, not only to people arriving but during some periods, to Australian citizens leaving the country.
- State borders are closed and re-opened as State governments choose how to manage the risk of the spread of COVID-19.
- Regional borders within WA used to be accepted as a way of describing the different geographic areas of this huge state or of delineating government jurisdictions, but since 2020 they have at times become an enforceable barrier, restricting our daily lives in innumerable ways. Within regions, Indigenous communities have been protected by borders, and some towns have sought the protection of borders to keep COVID-19 out of their community.
The Curatorial Brief can be downloaded here:
The project's Lead Curator is Annette Davis. Visit her website for more info about her practice. https://www.annettedavisart.com/
Developing capacity for the art sector
14 mentorships have been offered to 28 artworkers, to undertake 14 inter-connected Creative Developments in 13 regional communities across all 9 regions of WA.
These mentorships consist of:
- 3 producer mentorships to support the development and delivery of 3 original short performance-based pieces
- 11 curatorial mentorships to develop 11 group exhibitions.
Lead Curator, Annette Davis, will offer expertise as required.
The Mentorship Program provides the core support and PD structure for the Regional Arts Triennial. It delivers consistency and connectivity across all 14 creative developments.
Insight garnered throughout the project will be shared through the network, where learning from one mentorship can be applied to others, multiplying impact.
Open Borders mentorships provide professional development that's personalised and relevant to the community in which the exhibition/performance is presented, benefitting not just the mentees but the mentees’ community.
Where possible (and appropriate) Open Borders mentors will have previously been mentees in the Connect to The Creative Grid project. In this way the Regional Art Triennial model will build upon previous iterations, each reinforcing the skill gained as a mentee that becomes the confidence when imparted as a mentor.
Zoom sessions will allow project participants to share insights, resources and expertise to empower others.
REGIONAL ARTS TRIENNIAL
By working in conjunction with metro-based peak organisations that service the regions (including Regional Arts WA, GalleriesWest and Art on the Move) Open Borders offers the opportunity to road-test ideas alongside other investigative tools as part of the process to build a business case for designated future funding for an ongoing 'Regional Arts Triennial'. A written Triennial framework that is scalable, replicable and sustainable will be drafted by SFA in 2023/24. If secured, ongoing funding would support regular commissioning of high quality artworks, presented to expanded audiences that enrich regional communities with unique and regionally-relevant arts and culture experiences.