Capturing the spirit of place: Inparrila’s artwork

08 Jun 2022

Inparrila is not only home to The Wyatt Trust and six other values-aligned organisations in the social sector, it is also home to four stunning artworks by South Australian artists.

The Kaurna word for ‘meeting place’, Inparrila is a place where values aligned organisations work, gather and create. These themes were top of mind when Wyatt CEO, Stacey Thomas, enlisted Guildhouse, a not-for-profit organisation that helps South Australian visual artists build sustainable careers, to help find artwork for the premises.

“South Australia is renowned for its creativity,” says Tracy Le Cornu, Producer, Professional Services at Guildhouse. “Our artists are at the heart of what makes Adelaide an incredible and inspiring place to live but they need our support to keep doing what they do.”

Tracy explains that the commission from Wyatt was designed to create integrated artworks that would “activate the interior space of the hub, engaging the community of staff, clients and public using the space.”

Using an expression of interest call out, the opportunity specifically invited low-income South Australian creatives experiencing financial hardship, including those receiving income support or the Jobseeker allowance.

“The commissioning of South Australian-based artists experiencing financial hardship is in true alignment with Wyatt’s focus on helping individuals from inequality,” Tracy says.

“Artists were invited to consider a broad overarching theme of Building Social Good with four aims:

  1. Capture a sense of the dynamic and agile nature of the hub
  2. Imbue a sense of belonging, of being a part of something bigger
  3. Create a welcoming and inclusive environment
  4. Appeal to a broad range of people with diverse backgrounds and beliefs.

“A shortlist of two artists for each commissioning opportunity was made between Guildhouse and The Wyatt Trust to go on to concept design development, from which one artist was chosen to undertake the commission for each area,” Tracy explains.

“We also researched available artworks by suitable artists for the direct acquisition and the shortlisted selection was presented to Wyatt who chose the final works.”

The final four commissions and acquisitions were:

  1. Lightwell Mural – a site-specific commissioned abstract work by Matthew Fortrose that looks at the idea of a digital landscape.

“Abstract in its design, this concept looks at the idea of a ‘digital landscape’,” Tracy says. “The bold forms and compositions allude to a panoramic view of the outdoors, whether in an urban environment or out in nature.

“Matthew Fortrose’s practice balances calm and vibrancy through his considered shape and colour choices. Site-specific abstracted forms engage with the space, creating a welcoming energy, helping to contribute a sense of familiarity and presence.”

  1. Design for Ramong and Boston Meeting Rooms – a site-specific commissioned design for a vinyl wall across the two meeting rooms by Caitlin Berzins (part image above and below).

“Caitlin Berzin’s work highlights the subtle interactions between people within their environment to create an energy and mood that echoes the intangible spirit of a place,” Tracy says.

“This design integrates the unique atmosphere of Adelaide’s streets,” the artist, Caitlin Berzin explains.

“Elements of the sky, clouds, trees, shadows, people, lights and buildings are intertwined, bringing the feeling of this distinct atmosphere into the hub, whilst highlighting Adelaide’s evocative, diverse and inclusive atmosphere. When people come to meet here, they become a part of the scene. I hope they feel at ease and comforted as they are included into this communal space.”

  1. Super Natural Geologies #3 – an acquired wall sculpture by Amy Joy Watson

“The sculpture’s shimmering embroideries and rainbow wire hills reimagine utopic landscapes, moving beyond the natural world as we know it,” Tracy says, adding that the artist was struck by how ancient the landscape was during a trip to Arkaroola.

“Watson investigates this idea and Yura Muda (Adnyamathanha Dreaming), geology and the notion of ‘deep time’, responding by lovingly and laboriously weaving and stitching – a nod to the possible billion years it took for this landscape to evolve.”

  1. Untitled – an acquired work on paper by Maxwell Callaghan

“This artwork was made both in response to a story Maxwell Callaghan’s father told him about the loss of Sheoak trees to firewood during the process of colonisation in South Australia, and the aesthetics and thoughts on ‘listening’ of film director, photographer, and poet Abbas Kiarostami, whom Matthew cites as an influence in his practice,” Tracy explains.

“The artwork shows a pattern of Sheoak trees growing next to a building,” Matthew says. “The building in the final square of each line has a large ear to indicate that it is listening to the sound of the tree.”

“Listening to stories, listening to what is present in our lives, listening to our influences, listening to histories, listening to each other, listening to Elders and family members, listening to nature – these concepts underpin the imagery of the artwork.”

Philanthropic support, along with public support, remains critically important for local artists, Tracy says.

“Many artists encounter difficulties and have to make sacrifices to sustain their creative practices and our artistic community has shown incredible resilience lately,” she says. “Support from philanthropy goes a long way to sustain their artistic practice, boost confidence and carry on.

“We know that with Guildhouse’s backing South Australian artists can continue to take creative risks, extend their skills, and build sustainable careers.”

Though Guildhouse has a successful 56-year history, the organisation continues to evolve, having developed a diversified business model with a growing network of philanthropic supporters and a burgeoning social enterprise that is creating new forms of revenue for the creative industries.

Its creative and career development programs include residencies, mentorships, one-on-one advice, tailored business skill development, network development and opportunities to create new work.

Learn more about Guildhouse

Read more about the Launch of Inparrila

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