Yamaji Art manager says Indigenous art centres are ‘gateway’ to cultural experience

Geoff VivianMidwest Times
Roni Kerley.
Camera IconRoni Kerley. Credit: Geoff Vivian/Midwest Times, Geoff Vivian

Aboriginal art centres double as “gateways” across WA catering to a tourism market that is keen for an Aboriginal cultural experience, according to manager of Yamaji Art Roni Kerley.

Ms Kerley told the WA Regional Tourism Conference on Monday many visitors to WA wanted an indigenous cultural experience, and the network of art centres provided “rich cultural hubs” which were often the first point of contact for tourists.

“They are gateways to cultural experiences, cultural immersions in a community,” she said.

“They (art centres) are the environment where cultural knowledge practices such as painting, drawing textiles, storytelling are still being practised, nurtured and valued.

“The art centres are maintaining and strengthening intergenerational cultural exchange and the cultural transfer, especially in places such as the city of Greater Geraldton, where there are so many distractions and disruptors to cultural knowledge production.”

Yamaji Art director Charmaine Green said the organisation had been exploring how to extend cultural tourism gallery visits and art workshops in the Marine Terrace premises by piloting cultural activities in Geraldton.

They had conducted small-scale tours to historical sites in the City of Greater Geraldton area, linking up with universities and taking groups out to Mullewa during wildflower season. They had taken corporate groups from Perth on general walking tours, in-centre art talks and, more recently, virtual reality experiences to introduce cultural astronomy.

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