Direct Address (2016)
Direct Address, curated by Perdita Phillips, features works in a suitcase traveling from Western Australia to Wagga Wagga for the Land Dialogues conference. Direct address is a group of five Western Australian visual artists and one poet, connected by a shared interest in exploring dialogue with landscapes through material investigations and text. Artists Nandi Chinna, Sharyn Egan, Annette Nykiel, Perdita Phillips (with Tactile Response Gloves), Nien Schwarz and Holly Story have all responded to the Beeliar Wetlands and the Roe 8/Perth Freight Link proposal that would slice through them.
Collectively we have a long history of engaging with this site. Over the last ten years the issue of the Roe 8 Highway extension has attracted increasing regional attention as an environmental issue. The Roe 8 proposal would result in urban habitat loss, and loss of biodiversity in an internationally recognised biodiversity hotspot. The proposal has attracted widespread criticism and a vocal community campaign over poor environmental protection processes, lack of political integrity and failure to address transport and infrastructure sustainability resulting in a road to nowhere.
Artists worldwide have always responded to local issues in various ways and also made connections to wider or global concerns. For us we feel that this particular issue is unique in that it has tugged at a particular chord in us all in a way best described as “impassioning”. On a spectrum from artist as observer to artist as activist we collectively feel that the Beeliar Wetlands have pulled us towards action. As a powerful biostructure, its dialogue with us has been intimate and nourishing, as well as a subtle yet forceful driver, ultimately connecting us to the political tides that surround us: as we ‘write’ we are ‘written onto’.
The suitcase and its contents condenses the intensity of feelings and actions around a single environmental issue, explored through our varied creative methods. We have created works singly and collaboratively in an attempt to articulate the demands and responsibilities of working with the Beeliar Wetlands.
Direct Address at The Window Gallery East Riverina Arts, 98 Fitzmaurice St Wagga Wagga NSW 2650
On display 6 to 30 April 2016
The exhibition received funding through the Australian Artists’ Grant. The Australian Artists’ Grant is a NAVA initiative, made possible through the generous sponsorship of Mrs Janet Holmes à Court and the support of the Visual Arts Board, Australia Council for the Arts.