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]