In February Arts Law travelled to northern Western Australia as part of our AITB outreach program. Senior Solicitor Donna Robinson was accompanied by lawyers acting pro bono Amanda Morrison from Telstra and Katie Haywood from King Wood Mallesons. We visited three art centres and met with two Indigenous language centres during the week long trip where we travelled to the Kira Kiro art centre in Kalumburu, Yarliyil art centre in Halls Creek and Warringarri art centre in Kununurra. Luckily we missed the heavy rains that came to the area the week after we left.
This was a tremendous opportunity to meet with the artists, especially in Kalumburu which is quite isolated and required flying in small planes over spectacular landscape to get there.
While there we met with a number of the artists including emerging artists Cynthia Clement and Claude Mowaljarla who appear to have shining careers ahead of them.
The art centre manager, Chris Hardwick described the visit as an ‘informative and stimulating couple of days’ and the artists were still talking about it later in the week.
The experience was very special. Katie said: “The trip was a fantastic chance to educate artists on their legal rights and answer any questions they had about protecting their work. As First Nations artwork becomes increasingly popular and prolific, it’s really important that artists understand their rights and feel empowered to exercise them.”
A highlight was a demonstration by Nathan Thomas, a Waringarri artist, on the process by which he creates beautiful carved porcelain boabs.