Roebourne artists get $20k boost

Tom ZaunmayrPilbara News
VideoNew storage system for Roebourne Art Group to keep its artworks from damage

A modern storage system in an historic Roebourne building will help protect the artworks of one of the Pilbara’s prominent Aboriginal art groups.

Roebourne Art Group received a $20,000 State Government grant to install new storage racks at its new premises in the Old Roebourne Gaol.

The storage means artworks will no longer be sitting on the ground or piled on top of each other on tables.

RAG artist Katherine Samson said seeing her art on the walls of the old building made her feel happy.

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“I like people talking about my art, and I like talking about what I see on Ngarluma country,” she said. “My paintings are about Ngarluma ngurra, the beauty I see in my country, the colours I see in my head when I go out fishing.

“I hope my paintings in the future years will still be hanging around, and I hope my grand-children pick it up too.”

RAG chief executive Rex Widerstrom said the group was not out of the woods yet but the future was looking positive.

“The cost of moving in terms of lost sales for being shut down has left a huge hole in the cashflow but being here certainly helps,” he said.

“It is not quite clear air but now we will be able to rebuild ourselves slowly.

“(The gaol) is not a happy place but as people have pointed out, it is honouring the people who have suffered here that we have turned it into something quite beautiful.”

Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel said after seeing how the art used to be stored, something had to be done. “We could see the artwork piled up on top of each other, so when you moved one you would scratch the other,” he said.

“It has taken some time to get here, but that is what happens with ordering stuff up to the Pilbara. Hopefully, now they can put it to good use.”

Mr Michel said art played an important role in helping Roebourne rise from the troubles of its past.

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