The Tanks – Access Denied: An exhibition of contemporary community art

The Tanks – Access Denied: An exhibition of contemporary community art

Regional Arts WA

This story was submitted by a member of the regional arts sector: Anne Sorenson, Southern Edge Arts. 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!

The Tanks Project was an artist in residence project, funded through the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries Creative Communities Covid Recovery program. Southern Edge Arts embedded five artists within the community to produce contemporary artworks in a variety of mediums.

Inside of a World War Two fuel tank. Rubbish floats in the water, and tank is covered in graffiti. One of the WW2 fuel tanks. Photo by Bob Symons.

Delivered as a series of workshops, within partner organisations, The Tanks Project aimed to provide a place for positive expression, inclusion and dialogue. Using the arts to create safe and inclusive spaces for community members to explore their attitudes, experiences and concerns about homelessness and how connection, culture and creativity, help people to feel more at home in the community.

The Tanks Project used contemporary art as a vehicle for change and the creation of public artworks that are meaningful to the community.

The presentation of the artworks, created through the Tanks Project, was originally planned to be an onsite exhibition at the World War two fuel tanks situated on the side of Mount Melville in Kinjarling Albany. The Site consists of seven large reinforced concrete tank remnants.

The Tanks have become an unofficial outdoor gallery in Kinjarling Albany with Australian and International street artists exhibiting their works there.

The WW2 fuel tanks were chosen as the inspiration and exhibition site for this project to inspire discussion about inaccessibility, sleeping rough and places and people that are neglected or not noticed in our community.

Unfortunately, installation at the WW2 fuel tanks site on Mt Melville presented significant challenges for accessibility and site approval from the City of Albany.

It was decided, as we are working with people in the community who experience restricted access, limited mobility and other barriers to inclusion, we opted to display the final works in a pop-up gallery that was accessible to the participants and reflected the rustic aesthetic of the tanks.

Art piece of an assembly of random objects made from string inside a gallery. Contemporary Community art from exhibit. Photo by Jill Paynter O’Meehan.

Being fluid and adapting to change are core competencies needed in community arts and cultural development practices. We are grateful to the artists who were so flexible throughout this project and created amazing artworks with a diverse range of people in the community.

Those artists were: Serena McLauchlan, Jill Paynter-O’Meehan, Tracey Margetts, Tanya Morgan, Bob Symons and Lincoln Cook.

Established in 1985, Southern Edge Arts is a dynamic youth arts community based in Albany, offering a range of workshops and performances each year. Visit the Southern Edge Arts website for more information.]

Southern Edge Arts is supported by Regional Arts WA, through the Regional Arts Sector Investment Program.

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