Creative Grid Feature- images and story supplied by our Partner, THE CREATIVE GRID 

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Artists, curators, photographers and arts organisations from communities across regional WA are creating a legacy of positive impact for the State through the collaborative development of a ground-breaking series of fourteen inter-connected exhibitions titled ‘The Alternative Archive’.

CASM Exhibition Opening. Photographer - Daniel Wilkins

CASM Exhibition Opening. Photographer - Daniel Wilkins

‘The Alternative Archive’ reframes the way local communities perceive their social contexts - enhancing community live-ability and wellbeing - while simultaneously building the profile, capacity, inter-connectivity and sustainability of regional arts practitioners and venues.

“Artists are recorders of social history, the creators of cultural capital in any community and their creative output is central to understanding our sense of identity, place and community,” says Lead Curator Anna Louise Richardson, author of the ‘The Alternative Archive’ brief.

Thirteen regionally generated exhibitions, each reflecting the unique personality of their local communities and histories (both real and imagined) are currently in development and/or display across seven of the State’s nine regions.

CASM Exhibition Opening. Photographer - Daniel Wilkins

CASM Exhibition Opening. Photographer - Daniel Wilkins

The first exhibition was launched by Minister for the Arts, the Hon. David Templeman, MLA for Peel, on February 17 at Contemporary Art Spaces Mandurah with the final show due later this year in Kalgoorlie. Additional presenting communities include Albany, Narrogin, Katanning, Lake Grace, Esperance, Manjimup, Carnamah, Geraldton, Broome and Kunnunurra.

A survey exhibition will be held at the John Curtin Gallery in Perth during May 2020. Co-curated by Chris Malcom (Director, John Curtin Gallery) and Anna Louise Richardson (Independent curator) the 2020 exhibition will be a contemporary visual archive of regional Western Australian arts practice, documenting a dynamic anthology of how regional artists relate to the people, homes, towns or regions that they know so well. The showcase exhibition aims to increase understanding of the arts ecology, the practices, and conditions of regional art making in Western Australia.

The Alternative Archive is an initiative of The Creative Grid, a state-wide arts network formed within the pilot round of the Regional Arts Partnership Program supported by the State Government of WA and Country Arts WA.

Mentorships for curators and photographers are central to the project and were made possible with support from the Australia Government through the Regional Arts Fund.

“Partnering with John Curtin Gallery has invested greater depth and focus to the project overall,” said Project Coordinator, Fiona Sinclair. “We wanted to create new opportunities for regional artists and curators and having a nationally respected tertiary institution on board has certainly done that.”

CASM Exhibition Opening. Photographer - Daniel Wilkins

CASM Exhibition Opening. Photographer - Daniel Wilkins

With Anna and Chris touring to each of the regional shows, meeting artists and curators and preparing their selection of works for the 2020 survey, regional artists and curators will be further challenged to extend their practice within a supported context while enjoying the benefit of access to critical discourse about their work at a level rarely available outside the city.

“I think having John Curtin ‘on our team’ has helped instil a sense of optimism about the future for the sector and a healthy arts sector means healthier communities for regional WA.”

“Sustaining a living from one’s creative practice is hard enough within metropolitan centres; the challenge for those living regionally is harder still. By working co-operatively instead of competitively through The Alternative Archive, we are harnessing the power of our shared vision, talents and resources to bring about better outcomes for all.”

“When artists win, we all win!”

CASM Exhibition Opening. Photographer - Daniel Wilkins

CASM Exhibition Opening. Photographer - Daniel Wilkins



Contemporary Art Spaces Mandurah (Peel), Manjimup Art Gallery (South West), Arts Narrogin at NEXIS - Narrogin Exhibition Space (Wheatbelt), Lake Grace Regional Art Space (Wheatbelt), MIX Artists at Vancouver Arts Centre (Great Southern), Katanning Gallery (Great Southern), Cannery Arts Centre (Esperance-Goldfields), Geraldton Regional Art Gallery (Mid West), North Midlands Project (Carnamah) and Waringarri Aboriginal Arts Centre (Kimberley).

Project Managed by: Southern Forest Arts (Northcliffe)


Country Arts WA, GalleriesWest

Metropolitan Gallery

John Curtin Gallery