RAF Case Study | A Sydney Showcasing of Warmun Art Centre

November 26th, 2018 | Case Studies

A Sydney Showcasing of Warmun Art Centre

Warmun Art Aboriginal Corporation

A Quick Response Grant recipient, via the Regional Arts Fund, as managed by Country Arts WA.

Two of Warmun Art Centre’s most promising, emerging arts workers – artist Kathy Ramsay and curator Marika Riley – were given the opportunity to attend the John Fries Art Award opening weekend at the University of New South Wales Art Gallery, Sydney, where Kathy had been selected as an award finalist.

Kathy Ramsay was selected from over 600 applicants as a finalist in the 2017 John Fries Art Award.

Kathy and Marika attended the opening night announcement of the 2017 winner and participated in the opening weekend public programming, including an artist talk from Kathy, who was selected as a finalist to share her story. The trip enhanced their public profiles, expanded their professional networks and exchanged contemporary Gija art and culture with new Sydney audiences.

This project enabled the artists to experience the cultural life of a major cosmopolitan centre, to which they had never before traveled. Their presentation was well-received by professionals and audience members alike.

Cultural & Economic Impacts:

  • This project encouraged and supported sustainable economic, social and cultural development in regional communities through showcasing Western Australian remote Indigenous arts and culture to new audiences within the Sydney area
  • Increased artist exposure for Kathy and an opportunity to educate audiences regarding her regional culture, country and family lineage. Over 1000 people attended the opening night, and over 22,000 viewed the exhibition throughout its life
  • Increased cross-cultural connection created between Kathy’s practice and Fries Art Award audiences, with Marika providing context and translation for Kathy – introducing the audience to new and enlightening information
  • Regional economic development through an increased interest and demand in Kathy’s work which bolsters her financial sustainability as an artist. In turn, this increased demand bolsters the financial sustainability of Warmun Art Centre as a regional Gija-led arts organisation
  • Wider context provided of the Warmun history, culture and lifestyle, putting the location on the map for urban Sydney art communities and increasing the awareness of Warmun as a remote cultural hub

Social Impacts:

  • New partnerships were forged with the Fries Art Award and Viscopy as cultural organisations, as well as with guest curator Consuelo Cavaniglia. Marika Riley engaged in arts worker networking opportunities through these organisational partnerships which increased her profile as an emerging Indigenous curator with project proposals in Sydney being organised for 2018
  • Developed audiences and broadened community engagement with the arts through bringing together two geographically separate art-making audiences who seldom get the opportunity to interact
  • Extended partnerships created and networks broadened from publicity and particpation, most notably between Warmun Art Centre, the University of New South Wales Art Gallery and Viscopy
  • New career opportunities created for both Kathy and Marika


Kathy Ramsay’s artist profile
John Fries Award website
“Everything is Rolling in my Mind, I can’t Stop Painting” – an SBS interview with Kathy Ramsay

Image: Kathy Ramsay with her commissioned finalist works, the Fries Art Award, Sydney, 2017. Photo by Marika Riley.