The West

Cultural gems at regional forum
Ben Fox. Picture: Gary Cooper

Arts movers and shakers will be looking to mine nuggets of creative gold at Australia's bush biennale in Kalgoorlie later this year

Among the cultural leaders set to descend on the Goldfields city in October will be keynote speaker Brian Ritchie, the Violent Femmes bassist who founded Hobart's edgy annual contemporary music festival, MONA FOMA.

Summit organiser, artistic director Ben Fox, said Ritchie would spell out how the arts had boosted Tasmania's reputation as a cultural destination and spark debate on shaping a new view about making art away from the major cities.

Fox said the biennial Regional Arts Australia-Country Arts WA summit, Arts and Edges, would focus attention on such issues as cultural tourism, indigenous cultural practices and ways in which art can address the stigma of mental illness.

The October 16-19 summit, part-conference and part-festival, would showcase DADAA Five, a two-year community arts project in which FIFO workers and families, Aboriginals, farmers and young people make art to combat social isolation in five regional centres.

Also on show for the public in and around the Goldfields Arts Centre will be displays and performances from Western Desert painters, singers and dancers, a concert headlined by the Arnhem Land band Narbarlek and the Here & Now exhibition by 11 WA artists.

In a city built on such big things as the Super Pit and the Golden Mile, and in the spirit of the regional cult of icons like the Big Pineapple, Giant Ram and Big Prawn, sculptors are being called on to create a temporary Big Karlkurla for the event.

The Karlkurla, also referred to as the "silky pear", lends its name to Kalgoorlie, derived from the Aboriginal name of the Karlkurlatharra region,

Other speakers will include Opera Queensland and former PIAF director Lindy Hume, leaders from Indonesia's Papermoon Puppet Theatre and Cemeti Art House, Aboriginal filmmaker and cultural leader Genevieve Grieves and celebrity chef and WA Food Ambassador Don Hancey.

About 800 delegates from around Australia are expected for the summit, with early-bird registrations in the draw for a $600 gold nugget.

The West Australian

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