Western Australia is nothing if not patriotic, and occasionally it thinks it ought to become a country separate from the rest of Australia. Possibly as a result, they do things differently.

The annual ‘Revealed’ series of exhibitions in Walyalup/Frementle on Whadjuk Nyoongar Boodjar land, for instance, showcases the next gen of WA artists while most such State-based promotions and art fairs prefer to play safe with the known rather than the unknown. And ‘Revealed’ happens in a State which once threatened to withdraw all funding from the outstations where most of the best creativity happens.

When ‘Revealed 2024’ opened its doors on Thursday, visitors to the exhibition at Fremantle Arts Centre were able to see more than 150 pieces from some of Western Australia’s finest emerging First Nations artists, with a diversity of practice spanning painting, drawing, silkprint, textiles, photography, animation, glass sculpture and linocut. 42 of them are appearing in ‘Revealed’ for the first time – the largest number of emerging artists in the event’s 16-year history.

And over those years, ‘Revealed’ – where everything is for sale – has generated more than $4 million for the more than 1000 WA First Nations artists whose work has been seen since 2008. The artists were selected by a panel of industry experts representing WA’s regions, First Nations groups and cultural institutions. Significantly, this year marks the first time that the event is managed by a First Nations organisation. The increasingly present Aboriginal Art Centre Hub of Western Australia (AACHWA) brings strong cultural governance to ‘Revealed’, and, through an agreement with the State Government, will run the exhibition and market over the next three years.

The ‘Revealed: WA Aboriginal Art Market’ is on Saturday 11 May where budding collectors will have the opportunity to buy artworks from the 30 stalls set up on the front lawn of the Fremantle Arts Centre.

AACHWA chief executive Chad Creighton believes that the organisation’s leadership role ushers in a new era of self-determination for Revealed. “We work all year round with Aboriginal art centres across the State, and by working closely with artists to reflect their aspirations and needs, we hope this year’s Revealed can increase its impact for the sector”.

Artists appear from the following community art centres:
Bidyadanga Artists
Juluwarlu Art Group
Kira Kiro Artists
Ku’arlu Mangga (Good Nest)
Langford Aboriginal Art & Yarning Association
Mangkaja Arts
Martumili Artists
Mowanjum Arts & Cultural Centre
Nagula Jarndu Designs
Ninuku Arts
Noongar Arts Program BRAG
Papulankutja Artists
Spinifex Arts Project
Spinifex Hill Studio
Tjarlirli Art Indigenous Corporation
Tjarlirli & Kaltukatjara
Warakurna Artists
Waringarri Aboriginal Arts
Warlayirti Artists
Warmun Art Centre
Wilurarra Creative
Wirnda Barna Art Centre
Yamaji Art
Yarliyi Arts
Yinjaa Barni Art

Revealed’ runs until Sunday 4 August and entry is free.

The other major place to see WA art will be in Reno, Nevada. For the Nevada Museum of Art has announced We Were Lost in Our Country, telling the story of the Native Title artwork, Ngurrara Canvas II of 1997, created by Western Desert artists from the Walmajarri, Wangkajunga, Mangala and Juwaliny language groups then removed to the Kimberley.

Gathering at Pirnini station near Fitzroy Crossing, the group decided that by co-authoring a painting they would be able to prove long association with the land. Monumental in scale, the painting is effectively a memory map charting 40,000 years of direct connection with the land.

Artists involved in the painting and the show include Jimmy Pike, Ngirlpirr Spider Snell, Mawukura Jimmy Nerrimah, and Tommy May Ngarralja.

The exhibition opens on 29 June and runs until 23 March 2025.