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Art with the Stars exhibition a window into the perspectives of young Aboriginal artists

Rhiannon Clarke -

Shooting Stars participants from various schools across WA will have collections of artwork on display at the WA Shipwrecks Museum in Walyalup/Fremantle.

The Art with the Stars exhibition gave students the opportunity to learn from talented local Aboriginal artists, allowing them to establish a connection with their culture through art.

Opened during the Easter school holidays, the public exhibition will run until Sunday, April 28, and is free to enter. Attendees at the Museum will be immersed in impactful narratives conveyed by the emerging artists through their creations. 

The array of projects encompasses a variety of mediums such as basket-weaving, textiles, painting, fashion, and dance, highlighting the richness and resilience of artistry and heritage throughout Western Australia. 

Shooting Stars is a program focused on education and empowerment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls in Western and South Australia. Operating in 22 schools, Shooting Stars is primarily run by Aboriginal women and impacts over 1,200 girls and young women.

Art with the Stars is a program that aims to enrich the participants' experience within Shooting Stars. It provides an opportunity for individuals to connect with local Aboriginal artists and delve into the exploration of cultural identity and a sense of belonging through the medium of creativity and art-making. 

All the initiatives undertaken by Shooting Stars are deeply rooted in the local Aboriginal communities and are guided by extensive research that aligns with the Aboriginal ways of knowing, being, and doing.

The dedicated staff members actively engage in yarning circles with program participants, communities, and localised steering committees. 

These circles serve as a platform to gather valuable feedback, ensuring that the program delivery is tailored to the specific needs of the community. Additionally, they help identify any obstacles or facilitators that may impact the participants' journey towards empowerment.

The Art with the Stars enrichment program originated in 2019 following a recommendation from a localised steering committee for Shooting Stars to introduce an art-focused cultural initiative. 

The primary objectives of the project were twofold: To enable participants to engage with and gain a deeper understanding of their culture, identity, and community through art creation or storytelling; and to share the art or stories with non-Aboriginal community members, allowing them to learn more about the local Aboriginal culture. Subsequently, Shooting Stars submitted a funding proposal for the pilot program, leading to the establishment of the Art with the Stars project.

The Art with the Stars exhibition showcases artwork from various projects in Western Australia, including Carnarvon, Collie, Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek, Kiara College, and Mullewa. 

Each artwork tells a unique story and provides insight into the perspectives and experiences of the young artists. Together, these pieces of art reflect their personal journeys, aspirations, and strong connection to culture, community, and self. 

This exhibition adds depth and dimension to the broader Shooting Stars program. 

Last year, the first Art with the Stars exhibition was launched in Carnarvon, and Natalie Crossley, the Carnarvon Shooting Stars Program Coordinator, attended both the Carnarvon Opening Night in 2023 and the Walyalup Opening Night earlier this year.

"It was incredible to see the artworks showcased at the WA Shipwrecks Museum, giving our participants a unique opportunity to share their stories and deep connection to Aboriginal culture through art-making,” she said.

“I hope other sites can have their participants visit the exhibition, as the participants at the Carnarvon exhibition had a great sense of pride and excitement in seeing their artworks displayed and their community celebrating their achievements.”

After April 28, the exhibition’s next scheduled destination will be the Collie Art Gallery from June until August, 2024.

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