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Art & About – Coastal Links

An initiative of Arts NT, the Creative in Residence Program was launched in 2016 as a professional development opportunity for Northern Territory artists and creative practitioners.

Produced in partnership with the Araluen Cultural Precinct in Alice Springs and Darwin’s Northern Territory Library and Northern Territory Archives Service, each residency provides a unique opportunity to create and showcase new work in one of these cultural institutions. Sarah Pirrie, who has been absorbing the shelves at the NT Library, spoke to Off The Leash about her residency and resulting body of work. 

Tell us about the work you've created during your residency? 

Simply put, I have created a book and a series of artworks including the works on paper, ‘Macrotidal Quadrat Series’, and a collection of allegorical ‘Rocksitting Place-mats’ around the theme of a coastal companion guide.

Rocksitting Place-mats? Please tell us more! 

Yes, the Rocksitting Place-mats were the first works I completed as part of the residency and were used as a form of sit-in during the 2017 Darwin Festival. People were invited to sit on the mats and engage in a discussion about our coastline. The image is of the iconic lateritic rock of East Point surrounded by water. They reference the tidal rock originally used by the Rocksitting Club – the rock was destroyed by lightning in 1986. I made them as a tool, inviting consideration about how we engaged, occupy and alter our coastline. I hope to use them for future events.

How has the program assisted you in your artistic practice? 

Working with the staff and collection of the Northern Territory Library I have discovered a depth of knowledge about Darwin and our coastal communities. I envisage using this unique resource into the future and have developed many creative starting points for future artworks and curated projects.

What have been the outcomes for you? 

Over the course of this residency I have walked the stacks of the Northern Territory Library and the intertidal reefs, rocks, mangroves and beaches of Darwin. The resulting artworks and notional companion guide interweave personal narratives, historical events, places and ecological phenomena. 

What can people expect at your artist talk? 

Like all good artist talks this will be an informal audience-driven event. I will discuss my Coastal Links project, the residency and hopefully provide some insight into the creative inspiration and technical aspects of the artworks created.

What’s next for you?  

I’ll be consolidating what I’ve discovered through doing the NT Library residency; looking again to our coast-al boundaries for a new body of work. I have a number of projects on the go for Pirrie Space and am coordinating a new Bachelor of Creative Arts - Visual Arts course at Charles Darwin University.

Until Sun 18 Feb | Artist Talk Wed 7 Feb, 5.30-7pm

See the event listing. 

Image: Sarah Pirrie, 'Macrotidal Quadrat Series No.1' (detail), 2017

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