IMAGE: Maggie Baxter, documentation from Unfolding: Contemporary Indian Textiles exhibition. Hand woven cotton Telia sari by Bappaditya and Rumi Biswas. Photographed on location in Kolkatta by Leena Kejriwal.Art Cargo

current visual art trends
in Western Australia

Presented by Artsource and UWA Cultural Precinct on 5 November 2016, Art Cargo brought together industry speakers to discuss trends in the visual arts industry in Western Australia and its Indian Ocean neighbours. Examining recent locally produced art and the relationships forged by travel and the trading of ideas, questions were discussed about how has travel and trade in the past shaped the identity of Western Australia and its art? Does WA art have strong affinities with art in other cultures or communities? Are there potentially stronger affinities to explore than the one with the eastern states?

“Art is a magical cargo, a means of diplomacy and a survival skill.”

- John Mateer


In 2014, The Undiscovered: A National Focus on Western Australian Art was a symposium co-presented by Artsource and the University of Western Australia’s Cultural Precinct. It highlighted key aspects of the visual arts industry affecting the Western Australian sector. Conversations arose about the future of the industry, suggesting a need for artists and curators to branch out, get online, and work together to turn WA’s perceived isolation into a selling point.
A study commissioned by Lotterywest was conducted in 2014 to determine the feasibility of a major international visual arts event in Western Australia.  While the event has not yet eventuated, three key areas of interest were identified as worth exploring for WA: Aboriginal Art, the Indian Ocean Region and Experimental Art.

The day will feature discussions and presentations about key projects that foster new, productive and sometimes challenging work and interactions between contemporary artists and communities in neighbouring countries, as well as examining cultural exchange over time. A particular focus of discussion will be the Indian Ocean Region and the cyclical nature of the exploration of identity in relation to the history and politics of the region. Why does it keep coming up? What worked? What didn’t? Why not?


John Mateer portrait by Daniel Ter.John Mateer

Writer and curator. His most recent project explores the continuing connections and parallels that exist between the histories and politics of Australian, South African, Dutch and Balinese contemporary art.



Maggie Baxter portrait. Image suppliedMaggie Baxter

Textile artist, writer, independent curator and public art coordinator. She first visited India in 1990 and maintains a textile arts practice in Kutch, Gujarat state.



Marco Marcon. Image suppliedMarco Marcon

Artistic Director and co-founder of International
Art Space: an international event of socially engaged art involving the participation of regional and rural communities throughout Western Australia.


Abdul-Rahman Abdullah portrait. Image supplied.Abdul-Rahman Abdullah

Artist. He uses his Muslim Australian/Malay heritage to negotiate shared understandings of individual identity and social outlooks in a multicultural Australian context.


Gerald Sanyangore. Image supplied.Gerald Sanyangore

Co-founder & cocurator at Another Antipodes Inc: promoting crosscultural dialogue between Australia and Africa though the exploration and presentation of contemporary visual arts.


Tania Ferrier. Image supplied.Tania Ferrier

Artist. Her recent work explores race relations in installations that transgress the boundaries between the art gallery and museum.


Event Partners

University of Western Australia Cultural Precinct



Thompson Estate, sponsor of Art Cargo