Reclaim the Void at WA Museum Boola Bardip

Reclaim the Void at WA Museum Boola Bardip

Regional Arts WA

This story was submitted by a member of the : Vivienne Robertson from Reclaim the Void. We love sharing stories from the sector. If you want to find out how to submit your own stories, take a look at the Submit Your Story page. We can’t wait to hear from you!

In February 2023, the bold, cross-cultural, rug-weaving project Reclaim the Void comes to the Western Australian Museum.

Visionary contemporary art project, Reclaim the Void, will be on show at the WA Museum, Boola Bardip this month. In the last week of February, artists in residence will be weaving rugs and offering free workshops on Level 3. For the whole of February, a stunning, vibrant display of project rugs and visions of the concept image model are featured in the Community Stories showcase in the foyer of the Woodside Learning Studios.

Image: Lucy Ridsdale and Cath Inman install rugs at WA Museum Boola Bardip. Photo by Sarah Williams.

This project of reparation, reconciliation and healing was born from the grief of Ngalia elders from the northern Goldfields region of Western Australia, about ‘those gaping mining holes left all over our country’. It aims to create a huge ‘dot artwork’ from thousands of small, circular rugs made by people across the world from recycled fabric. The artwork will be based on an original painting by Ngalia artist Dolly Walker, and will tell the story of Country. It will be installed on land affected by mining. 

As Kado Muir, Reclaim the Void’s Ngalia cultural representative explains, “mining unbalances and creates an unsettling in the earth, [which] disrupts the vibration of the land, the spirit, the stories and the songlines, the dreamtracks where the ancestral beings travelled and left their essences in the land.’ He goes on to say that the ‘the only way that those places continue is in the stories, the songs and the art of the people today.”

“The project acknowledges that resource over-extraction and the impacts of mining are our shared responsibility. It is building a community of people who are contributing to this artwork, which itself is ‘a statement about reclaiming the spirit of earth, the spirit of community in a process of healing land and people – both First Nations and settler society – through art.”

The showcase will be on display for the month of February, and project artists will be weaving rugs from 10am-12.30pm and 1.30-4pm on the 20-26 February, using fair-trade hand-woven fabric donated by Woven Stories Textiles. Workshops in rug-weaving, and in writing as response to the weaving and project will also be held.

It is in the arts that our hearts and our spirits are enlivened.

For more information about the exhibition at WA Museum Boola Bardip, visit the Museum’s website

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