A View to Asia
Art is the means by which we communicate what it feels like to be alive: These are the words of Antony Gormley, a sculptor who transforms local economies through public art. Great art tells a story and during Shinju Matsuri, the sculptural exhibition “A View to Asia” had a very important story to tell. It was the story told on a beach named after a communication link to Asia in a town built on Asian labour, culture and history. It was a story about a place inhabited for thousands of years by the Yawuru people and a place that carries great significance to them.
The exhibition was made up of 12 pieces of work from local artists and Perth based artists with international acclaim. The pieces stood alone as they were crafted in isolation of each other. However as a collective they created the narrative of Broome. Mark Norval’s contemplation stood hauntingly as a reminder of the continuing occupation of Indigenous people that stretches back a millennium. Then there were pieces that reflected on our early pearling days with Ryan Cant's Ego Diver and Ji Pelgraves The Last Time we Met. The quirky Singapore Laundry, surprised many when they discovered it was a comment, not on backpackers, but rather on the unusual habit of pearling masters sending their whites to Singapore for laundering. Georgia Morgan's Manta Pearlers and Glenn Tormey's Waves Hello reminded us that we share an ocean with Asia and the creatures that live in it. The value of conservation running from the earliest occupation of the Yawuru was reflected upon by Marilyn Tabatznik's What About their Future and Brian Saunders’ Good to See You. Then Joe Fox dragged us into contemporary politics with his small but challenging sculpture, Death Cult Sunbathing.
Finally Elija Prewett’s majestic Rearing Horse, a symbol of strength, victory and power, stood testament to the strength of works from local artists that stood their ground next to the internationally acclaimed Melanie MacLou's Open. The sculptures can be viewed online here.
Originally published as Local Aesthetic in the Broome Advertiser Wednesday 16 September 2015.