Arts Law Travels to Support North West WA

Photo of the surrounds of Newman, WA, by Donna Robinson.

In mid-March, Arts Law | Artists in the Black visited the beautiful Pilbara and Mid West regions of Western Australia as part of our AITB outreach services. We were accompanied by Anna Stewart-Yates from King & Wood Mallesons in Canberra, who provided invaluable pro bono support.

Starting our trip in Newman, we spent two days at the thriving gallery and studio space of Martumili Artists. We provided advice on a number of legal issues including wills and estate management matters.

We also enjoyed a visit to Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa to discuss some of their work with Martu language and cultural resources.  Arts Law provides legal resources and support to Indigenous language centres, as part of Arts Law’s partnership with First Languages Australia.

After Newman, we hit the Great Northern Highway and headed south through the vivid purple-red dirt and bright green grasses to Meekatharra in the Mid West. Here, we provided legal education to artists and staff at the Meekatharra Shire on issues of copyright, moral rights, Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property, and contracts. There is a wonderful range of artists in Meekatharra, and the council and CRC staff there are working hard to build the physical and legal infrastructure to support them. We also provided legal advice to some inspiring young artists who are carving out successful arts practices in their local community.

While in Meekatharra, we gave a workshop on artists’ rights to artists at the Tjukurba Art Gallery in Wiluna. We had hoped to get to the gallery in person but unfortunately this was prevented by recent heavy rains and unstable road conditions. Even with the distance, it was a joy to speak with the engaged and passionate artists and staff at Tjukurba and we hope to make a visit on our next trip to the region. Following the workshop, we provided legal advice to the art centre staff on a range of issues including wills and estate management, copyright protection and contracts.   

As we continued our journey south, we saw some incredible parts of WA, including the old gold prospecting town of Cue. With its mostly abandoned storefronts, the town was a fascinating example of times gone by and it included some unexpected architecture like the towering gothic-style Old Masonic Lodge.

In the tranquil town of Mount Magnet, we made a visit to the Wirnda Barna Art Centre and were again impressed by the passionate staff member working there.

Then, turning west, we arrived at the beautiful Yalgoo Arts & Cultural Centre in Yalgoo where we spent the day with artists and art centre staff and gave support on a number of different topics. 

On our way to Geraldton, we stopped in at the young art centre in Mullewa and are pleased to see how things are progressing.

We noticed all along the way the range of authentic and passionate people working hard to make their small towns and communities beautiful places to live and work, and the extra efforts they are putting forward to help their communities thrive.  We are very pleased to be able to contribute to the art practices of the artists we met, to help strengthen their financial and creative legacies, and to support the arts businesses of the art centres which are pivotal to the artists’ success.