This fertile space between us

The fertile space between us

By KIERAN FINNANE

Alice Springs is often seen as a town beset by racial division and conflict, but its creative culture can tell a different story. Looking back over three decades I find an already rich history of intersection and collaboration, in work by visual artists, writers and thinkers, designers and producers. This history shows the potential of  re-imagining the future in this community.

This is an edited version of a talk that I gave recently at Watch This Space, the artist-run initiative founded in Alice Springs in 1993. I was speaking as the recipient of last year’s LOFTY Award, named in honour of the late Pamela Lofts, a founding member of the Space, its first coordinator, and an important desert artist. I was honoured to have the LOFTY  acknowledge my contribution to the arts in Alice Springs through my writing. From the start I thought that the scope of whatever I did on this occasion should take a long view, a perspective gained through the two and a half decades that I’ve spent in Alice Springs. From there it didn’t take me long to arrive at wanting to address ‘this space between us’ – ‘us’ being as broad as the people of Central Australia, with the ‘space between’ implying the dichotomies of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal life and cultural production.

I have called the talk ‘The fertile space between us’, but how is the space ‘fertile’? you may ask. What’s the evidence? Most days a visitor arriving in Alice Springs might look around and think that it’s an almost vacant space or at best put it under the heading ‘can do better‘. Generally I would agree, and a good part of my meaning, in choosing the word ‘fertile’, is in its idea of latency – there is important work, and a great deal of it, to be done here. But the ground, ‘this space between us’ so rich in potential, has already yielded some fine fruit.

You can read the full article here [at Alice Springs News] 

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Call for Nominations: The 4th Annual LOFTY Award


The Lofty Award

Nominations are now open for Watch this Space’s 4th annual LOFTY Award.

The award recognises a Central Australian artist that has, through their own artistic work and engagement in the local and broader artistic community, contributed to the artistic conversation of Alice Springs and beyond.
The Lofty winner is awarded $1000 prize money, the unique hand-crafted ‘Lofty’ and the opportunity to exhibit in 2015 at WTS with all gallery costs given for free.

The Lofty Award is named after the late Pamela Lofts, one of the founding members of Watch this Space ARI in 1993. It recognises her dedication to her arts practice, consistently producing works of a high quality across a variety of media, and her contribution to the development and exhibition of contemporary and experimental art and the cultural dialogue in Alice Springs and Central Australia.

Previous winners of the award are Franca Barraclough, David Nixon and Kieran Finnane.

Download the TheLofty-NominationForm-2014

Nominations close 4:21pm on Friday 28 November.

The winner will be announced at a gala event on Friday 5 December.

The Lofty Award is generously sponsored by Brian Tucker.

 Lofty award winners David Nixon and Franca Barraclough with WTS Chair Dan Murphy      Pam Lofts, WTS founder

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Cleopatra’s Dress performs tonight

A visually and emotionally stunning performance of dance showcasing the transformative power of one woman’s love of textiles and fashion, and how her great-granddaughter brings her love back to life. A marriage of love and textile that becomes beautiful art.Cleopatra’s Dress is performed tonight from 7pm at Watch this SPACE.

Sia Cox, whose great-grandmother inspired the dresses and dance, will talk about the inspiration for the work, and showcase the screen prints and circle skirts used in the production on Saturday 6 September at 10am.

More information: wts.org.au/events/cleopatras-dress

sia cox art

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CALL OUT: Exhibition Proposals + Travelling Artist Residencies in 2015

Watch this Space ARI is now calling for artists and content for its 2015 exhibition and residency programs.

art eAlmanac LEADER WTS July 9

Watch this Space in Alice Springs NT is an artist-run initiative that focuses on developing and showcasing contemporary and experimental art in all its forms. It has been running since 1993, making it one of the oldest ARIs in Australia. Despite its modest population of only 25,000, Alice Springs hosts a vibrant and supportive arts community and culture.

Proposals for exhibitions are sought from local, national and international artists at any stage in their career.

Residencies for one month or longer can be applied for by residents living outside of Central Australia.

To apply or find more information about exhibition proposals and residencies click here.
Applications close 15 August.

artAlmanac 2015 print NEW_edited-2

as featured in artAlmanac (July 2014)

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