Tracks We Share: Contemporary Art of the Pilbara

 Tracks We Share is an incredible exhibition celebrating Aboriginal artists and contemporary art from Western Australia’s Pilbara region. Held at the Art Gallery of Western Australia (AGWA), the show is a collaboration between the non-for-profit arts and cultural organisation FORM and a number of art centres and independent artists from across the Pilbara. This landmark exhibition is the culmination of a five year project that has documented the development of art and artmaking practices within Pilbara’s Indigenous communities (Form, 2022).

Tracks We ShareArtists and organisers gathered at the Tracks We Share exhibition. Courtesy of FORM, 2022.

The exhibition brings together more than 70 artists and over 190 artworks by artists from Cheeditha Art Group, Juluwarlu Art Group, Martumili Artists, Spinifex Hill Studio, Yinjaa-Barni Art and independent artists Katie West, Curtis Taylor, and Jill Churnside. This incredible body of work features the most exciting contemporary art coming out of the Pilbara. In an interview with the National Tribune (2022), Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman talks about the wonderful opportunity this exhibition provides for the public to engage in the arts and culture of this special region:

“As we start to welcome visitors back to Western Australia, I’m delighted this extraordinary showcase of the world-class artistic talent in WA’s regions is on display in the heart of the city…I encourage all Western Australians to view this remarkable selection of Aboriginal art from the Pilbara and to celebrate the immense cultural value that is within our State.”

Bugai Whyoulter at Martumili Artists, 2021. Photography by Duncan Wright. Courtesy of Art Guide, 2022.

The exhibition features a spectacular selection of acrylic paintings, full of vibrant colours, and the incredible patterns of Country. These works are accompanied by works on paper, installations, film, animation, photographs, sculptures, and carvings. These beautiful works reflect the artist's unique connections to the Pilbara, a place of complex and diverse ecological and social systems (AGWA, 2022).

Tracks We ShareLeft to right: Robina Clause, Judith Anya Samson, Corban Clause Williams, at Martumili Artists in Newman. Photo by Claire Martin. Courtesy of FORM, 2022.

The Tracks We Share multi-year project was initiated by FORM in 2018. Through working with Indigenous art centres and independent artists, the project has encompassed consultation, artwork development, art commissions, residencies and professional development, which has all been brought together in this final exhibition. The title of the project was chosen by participating artists and representatives from each of the art centres. 

Tracks We Share “references the many language groups and diverse Country of the Pilbara, while acknowledging the physical, cultural and artistic tracks that connect them all” (Form, 2022). In a quote given to AGWA (2022), Yindjibarndi artist Barngyi (Pansy) Cheedy from Juluwarlu Art Group talks of the importance of people coming together for this project: 

“It’s a lot of people coming together, sharing. Different areas have different vibes about their artwork. So I’m from this area [Yindjibarndi Country], I paint differently to someone from maybe the Western Desert. Coming together and putting all these artworks together is bringing us together and sharing the knowledge. You can yarn about the story in your artworks. So for a place like the Pilbara, art is very vital, where everyone is there to share their stories. For that’s what art is. Sharing your stories through your artwork.”

Check out the Tracks We Share introductory video featuring incredible shots of the artworks, artists and landscapes of the Pilbara below.

The Tracks We Share Exhibition will be showing at AGWA until the 28th of August. We highly recommend visiting if you live in Perth or are in need of a west coast getaway!

You can find out more about Tracks We Share here