Art problems on display

Perth’s first design week festival shows there are still many impediments for local artists trying to showcase their work.

The public festival displayed the ‘Unreleased Art Exhibition’ on Wednesday showcasing work from WA artists that have not been picked up by galleries or art exhibitors.

Local artist Tania Fabris whose art was on display at the exhibition, says exhibitions like this are important for showcasing unreleased work.

“Design week has done a fantastic job and shown a lot of professionalism with this exhibit,” she says.

“I feel they have really honoured the artists and designers.”

West Australian-based artist Tania Fabris’ says artist need to showcase their work. Photo: Xander Sapsworth-Collis.

However, Mrs Fabris says she wishes there were more opportunities in the state to showcase local art.

“We are very luck to have so much competition within WA,” she says.

“But with all that competition, not everyone can receive the grants and receive the submissions.”

She says one of the biggest barriers local artists face is financing their art, but believes the sector is improving.

“Sometimes the arts is the first area that money is cut from and in some cases it makes it quite difficult for the artists and designers.”

Mrs Tania Fabris

“There is a bit of a movement now where they aren’t asking for money for those submissions.

“Artists and designers are beginning to feel that they can submit work without that financial difficulty.”

Art Collective WA gallery associate Carola Akindele-Obe says the difficulties not only lie with the artists. She says galleries are also impacted.

“We’ve got a very limited number of commercial and small art galleries around Perth,” she says.

“We constantly have artists looking for exhibition spaces and exhibition opportunities.”

Ms Akindele-Obe says other difficulties for art galleries included high rental prices and a lack of people willing to manage the space.

She says Perth has a mixture of unique problems which prevent the industry from thriving.

“A challenge for artists is we’re very remote,” she says.

“If you do get an exhibition opportunity elsewhere it’s very expensive to freight your work.

“Also, there aren’t many media outlets focusing on art journalism and a huge lack of art criticism.”

However, she says the biggest problem the sector is facing is it does not work collaboratively.

“I guess in some ways the sector is a little bit fractured as well,” she says.

“Our representative bodies are not working in areas of advocacy in the ways that they used to and also bringing the sector together.”

She says Design Week is a positive move, as it unites different art sectors.

Hear more from Ms Akindele Obe.

Categories: Arts, Culture

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