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Bunbury Regional Art Gallery


The Alternative Archive


The Alternative Archive is the first major survey of contemporary art from regional WA in twenty years. It was developed using an ambitious framework that involved 200 regional artists across thirteen interconnected exhibitions presented in galleries from Kununurra to Albany across 2019.

Each exhibition was locally curated within regional communities beyond the metropolitan boundaries of Perth. The curatorial premise developed for The Alternative Archive enabled this state-wide enterprise to become a project of linkage – both from regional site to capital, as well as between each and every regional site themselves – and was built upon the notion that artists often are their community’s story tellers, socio-historical archaeologists and keepers of alternative histories – in effect creators and custodians of a community’s ‘alternative archive’.

In 2021, selected works from these exhibitions were brought together at John Curtin Gallery in Perth, creating an archive of poetic, political and personal stories from across Western Australia. This survey exhibition was co-curated by Anna Louise Richardson and John Curtin Gallery Director Chris Malcolm.

Now, The Alternative Archive returns to the regions, offering a rare and timely insight into the diversity of regional artistic practice throughout the state. 28 artists were invited to create a contemporary archive documenting parts of their community they felt should be highlighted. They have responded to local archives and collections, or have produced new archives that can preserve ‘untold’ histories. Working in a range of media – including painting, drawing, textiles, jewellery, video and sculpture - the artists of The Alternative Archive tell of the deep, multi-generational connections to place and family that are embedded in objects and materials. Their artworks unearth stories that have been lost, kept hidden or that need to be told in new voices, as well as new stories shared in public for the first time.

Exhibiting Artists

Naomie Hatherley (Broome), June Dijagween (Broome), Alana Grant (Mandurah), Lyn Nixon (Mandurah), James Walker (Mandurah), Deidre Robb (Mandurah), Claudette Mountjoy (Northcliffe), Louise Tasker (Manjimup), Lizzie Troup (Northcliffe), Maitland Hill (Dwellingup), Michelle Slarke (Lake Grace), Jeanne Melville (Lake Grace), Tania Spencer (Lake Grace), Marianne Penberthy (Geraldton), Charmaine Green (Geraldton), Mark Smith (Geraldton), Ellen Norrish (Geraldton), Gabrielle Butler (Perenjori), Chan Dalgarno (Narrogin), Karen McClurkin (Esperance), Serena McLauchlan (Albany), Tina Carmody (Kalgoorlie), Debbie Carmody (Kalgoorlie), Kgukgi Catherine Howard Noble (Kalgoorlie), Agnes Yamboong Armstrong (Kununurra), Brenda Mingen Ningamara (Kununurra), Mary-Lou Divilli (Kununurra), Peggy Madij Griffiths (Kununurra).

The Alternative Archive will on display at BRAG from 7 October 2023 to 21 January 2024. The Gallery is open from Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm. Entry is always free.

As part of this exhibition, join The Alternative Archive curator, Anna Louise Richardson, in a workshop on Saturday 14 Oct where you will learn how to take your idea to an audience. Tickets can be purchased via our Events Calendar.

Image: Marianne Penberthy, An Offering (detail), 2019. Image courtesy the artist.

 This project has been made possible through the Regional Exhibition Touring Boost managed by the Department of Local Government Sport and Cultural Industries, supported by Royalties for Regions and delivered by ART ON THE MOVE