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Image credit: Marianne Penberthy An Offering, 2019. Photo by Brad Coleman. Image courtesy of John Curtin Gallery.

The Alternative Archive touring exhibition presents a contemporary visual archive of regional Western Australian arts practice, documenting a dynamic anthology of how regional artists relate to the people, homes, towns or regions that they know so well.

It showcases work by 28 contemporary artists selected from a series of regionally based exhibitions facilitated by local curators.

The Alternative Archive is the culmination of a three-year project involving 13 regional art galleries, 35 curators and 200 artists and is co-curated by John Curtin Gallery Director Chris Malcolm and Independent Curator/Artist Anna Louise Richardson. It aims to increase understanding of the arts ecology, the practices and conditions of regional art making in Western Australia.

June Dijagween 2019

June Djiagween, When the Marjar came (blackbirding), 2019. Image courtesy Kevin Smith.

Artists Charmaine Green and Mark Smith

Charmaine Green & Mark Smith, Unravelling Archives 1, 2019. Image courtesy the artists and Geraldton Regional Art Gallery.

Tina Carmody, Wiru Kapi, 2017. Image courtesy the artist.

Michelle Slarke artist
Image credit: Michelle-Slarke, Re-made – Artefacts after Burning series, detail 2019. Photo by Rebecca-Clarke.

Tour Dates

October 7 – January 21, 2024 | Bunbury Regional Art Gallery | More info
February 2 – March 9, 2024 | Albany Town Hall | More info

Exhibition Package Details

Naomie Hatherley, June Dijagween, Peggy Madij Griffiths,
Agnes Yamboong Armstrong, Brenda Mingen Ningamara, Mary-Lou Divilli

Marianne Penberthy, Charmaine Green, Mark Smith,
Ellen Norrish, Gabrielle Butler

Michelle Slarke, Jeanne Melville, Tania Spencer, Chan Dalgarno

Karen McClurkin, Tina Carmody, Debbie Carmody, Kgukgi Catherine Howard Noble

Great Southern
Serena McLauchlan

Alana Grant, Lyn Nixon, James Walker, Deidre Robb, Maitland Hill

Claudette Mountjoy, Lizzie Troup, Louise Tasker
MEDIAInstallation, Textile, Video, Photography, Painting
INSTALLATIONApprox. 60 running metres (scalable)
Includes some complex multi-part installations. Technical support can be provided on request.
MARKETINGMarketing Kit (includes e-invitation template, artwork for hard copy invitation, media release, promotional images, logos and acknowledgements)
INTERPRETATION MATERIALSExhibition and sponsorship panels
Artwork labels
Exhibition brochures (free for distribution)
Full catalogue (available for purchase)
TOUR DURATIONUntil July 2024. Available WA and interstate.
COST SHAREART ON THE MOVE Members: $4,000 (inc. GST)
Non Members: $4,500 (inc. GST)

WATCH: The Alternative Archive

A short video featuring Wajarri-Badimaya-Maori man Mark Smith, and his mother, Wajarri-Badimaya woman Dr Charmaine Green.

Archives aren’t just in the libraries you know. They’re everywhere.

For Smith, art making with his mother means more than the picture at the end. In this video, Smith interrogates Western modes of archival knowledge and highlights the importance of stories and information held by families and communities, and their transfer to subsequent generations.

READ: Artist Profiles


“I see my art practice as a way to make sense of who I am, why I’m here, and how I can change” says Marianne Penberthy, who is based in Geraldton, on Yamaji Country.

Debbie Carmody stands in front of foliage. She is looking directly into the camera lens and her left hand is in her pocket. She is wearing a forest green long sleeved shirt and beige scarf.


“Still photography is one of the most powerful weapons in the world. And photography remains one of the most effective ways to communicate across the barriers of culture, language, time and experience.”


For Gabrielle, art has always been an escape. “The flow that I get into with painting, I can’t find anything else in life that is like it. Maybe dancing at 3am or something like that” she says. 


The sky has always fascinated James, and for many years he lived under a busy flight path in Launceston, Tasmania. “It was right above our heads” he shares, “There was constant airline traffic. So you’d see this sort of backwards and forwards movement, whether it was the planes themselves, or watching the power lines as they roll over the hills.”


Claudette had seven children and worked as a general nurse and a nurse in psychiatric care. She used her experience of motherhood, and having two children with bipolar, as inspiration for her writing. “I just started to write stories about them, like the Yellow-eyed Dog and the Dysfunctional Family, then perform them in public”. 


“I like to see the body as a site for sculpture” says artist Louise Tasker, whose works Water Rights Series – Nelson Location & Water Rights Series – Water Markers, feature in The Alternative Archive exhibition.


Ellen Norrish has always seen herself as a painter first and foremost. “It’s a universally loved medium. It’s the original photography” she says. Through painting she explores the role that photography plays in picturing and collecting the moments that make up contemporary life, and the ensuing pleasure and problem of excessive image accumulation.


Grant’s home studio blurs the lines between life and art, an apt characterisation of her creative approach. Spilling into her courtyard is an eclectic mix of works in progress set against a lush veggie garden where several animals roam. Fitted to a mannequin is a replica of Bjork’s iconic 2001 swan dress, ready for her daughter to wear for Halloween that evening.


Deidre Robb is a maker and textile artist fascinated with the stories embedded within textiles and second-hand materials. She creates functional items like quilts and clothing, as well as sculpture and interactive artworks. Although she’s moved between the world of fashion and textiles, and the museum and library sector, her multifaceted career is connected by ideas around mending and rejuvenation.


In 2002, Upurli Upurli/Anangu Spinifex and Wudjari/Noongar woman Tina Carmody was a co-curator of the last major survey of regional art in Western Australia, Boundless. 20 years later she found herself curating Nganana, the Goldfields iteration of The Alternative Archive project, with her work Wiru Kapi selected for John Curtin Gallery’s regional survey exhibition The Alternative Archive.

Interested in hosting this exhibition? Complete the form to find out more.

Venue: Expressions of Interest
Exhibition/s of Interest

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 and the Art Gallery of Western Australia.