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What's on at Salon

Returning for a second year, complementing the Salon des Refusés, Salon Indigenous Art Projects presents seven exhibitions by both emerging and established artists representing art centres across Australia.

We caught up with co-curator Paul Johnstone for a chat.

There’s lots on for Salon Art Projects again this year. How were the exhibitions selected?

The process isn’t that methodical. Some of the artists are selected via previous knowledge of their work. Dhambit, for example, was an entry into the Salon Des Refusés in 2017. To see the work back then and compare it to what she is doing now is breathtaking.

Myrtle’s extraordinary exhibition follows on from last year’s exhibition at Tactile Arts. Mick Rictor and Myrtle Penningtom are from the same remote community, and in many ways speak to each other. The two exhibitions have some form of common thread and allow continuity between them. Bedsides, who wouldn’t want to exhibit Myrtle’s work? It’s extraordinary! 

We have been showing Jenni Kemarre Martiniello’s work since 2014, so it made sense to formalise this association and create an exhibition this year, especially given her recent success in the United States. I originally exhibited Naminapu Maymaru-White's work a long time ago when I was with Framed Art Gallery, so I relish the opportunity to work with such amazing artist again.

Who are some artists we should be looking out for this year?

All of them! Every single work by every single artist is incredible. 

Salon Art Projects has grown massively since it began – was this always the plan or has the thirst grown over the years?

Matt (Ward) and I joke that we have difficulty in saying no when either of us present a suggestion. To be honest, I don’t think either of us really ‘planned’ it as such, but its strength is definitely our working relationship and the incredible team that we have behind us. Without them we couldn’t imple-ment the ideas that keep flowing.

Darwin becomes the epicentre for Indigenous Art in August – how are some of the key players working together? 

In March this year, MAGNT/NATSIAA, Yothu Yindi Foundation, NIMAs, DAAF Foundation and Salon Art Projects signed a memorandum of understanding to create an over-arching alliance. While maintaining each organisation’s own branding, they will also unite under a common brand to present cultural excellence nationally and internationally. It was formed by a common assertion that, as an alliance, we present one of the strongest and diverse cultural experiences on the planet – and  we intend to tell the world.

One of the reasons people travel to the Northern Territory is because we provide something that is both tangible and ephemeral. Visitors can enjoy the diversity and immersion of cultural engagement like nowhere else. It is a unique place with unique experiences. We should celebrate the differences and honour the commonalities,  and that’s what happens in August!


Image: Paul Johnstone and Matt Ward, by Nichole Taylor.
Header: Sylvia Kanytjupai Ken, 'Seven Sisters' 2019, acrylic on linen, 240 x 200cm

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