Art Press Release from Australia. Published by Artitja Fine Art on Monday 21 September 2015.

Janine McAullay Bott with My Brother's Keeper image

Quebec is a long way from the ‘burbs, but that’s where West Australian Thornlie based Nyoongah Bush Sculptor and Weaver Janine McAullay Bott has been invited to go as a special guest.

Janine’s sculptural artwork is an important inclusion in Lifelines: Contemporary Indigenous Art from Australia – an international exhibition presenting the contemporary art of Australia’s first peoples opening at the prestigious Musées de la Civilisation in Canada next month.

And it gets better! The Quebec City Musées acquired her work late last year for the exhibition in which some of Australia’s most respected artists including Vernon Ah Kee, Judy Watson, Megan Cope (Winner of this year’s WA Indigenous Art Awards) and Shorty Jangala Robertson are to be shown. Janine is the only Western Australian artist included.

There is only one problem – McAullay Bott’s funding application which was how she was planning to make her way to Canada was turned down.

“We put in a strong application, but of course there were no guarantees. Janine was very disappointed at the news” says Anna Kanaris, Director of Artitja Fine Art, the artist’s representing gallery. “For Janine to be both included and invited to such a big career changing event and not attend is inconceivable”.

“For a brief moment, it seemed it wasn’t going to happen, but after a sleepless night for both Janine and myself, the only way we could see to raise funds was via Crowdfunding” said Kanaris “It is really important, not just for Janine to attend this exhibition but also for Western Australia to be represented”

Hence PROJECT: JANINE TO QUEBEC was born and in its first week has raised a healthy $700 of the $3000 being sought.

In acknowledgement of McAullay Bott’s national standing eminent writer, publisher, art curator and Order of Australia recipient Susan McCulloch OAM stated “In my view she is one of the most exciting and significant artist-weavers working in Australia today. The extent of the exhibition, and the works selected are impressive and likely to create both much interest in the indigenous art of Australia and lead to some fruitful exchanges between Australian and Canadian indigenous artists and peoples”.

The sculptural work on display in Canada titled “My Brother’s Keeper” is unlike most of McAullay Bott’s creations, which are generally woven animals and objects from palm fronds, local grasses, reeds and other plant materials. Normally her weaves embody the essence and humour of her Nyoongah culture.

There is no humour in the subject matter of “My Brother’s Keeper” – only sadness and trauma. Nevertheless it is the one time that McAullay Bott felt driven to make a statement about the issue of the stolen generation, having witnessed at close hand the misery of her brothers’ time at Clontarf Boy’s Home.

My Brothers’ Keeper is a strong statement, but as the McAullay Bott says “I was driven to weave this, I felt I had to as it is such a blight on our history and forgiveness does not come from forgetting”.

PROJECT: JANINE TO QUEBEC can be found on the following link . Contributions can also be made by calling Anna Kanaris.