NIADOC profile: Yamaji Art

Posted: July 3rd, 2011

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Yamaji Art is an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre in Geraldton, Western Australia which has been described as “the artistic voice of the Midwest”. It represents Aboriginal artists from many of the region’s towns and beyond, including Geraldton, Mullewa, Yalgoo, Meekatharra, Cue, Mt. Magnet, Carnarvon and even Port Hedland. Yamaji Art was founded two years ago as a business arm of Marra Indigenous Art and Design.

Yamaji Art supports its artists by providing materials, running workshops, and generally encouraging quality art by providing a safe space for creative expression. They help artists become self sufficient by connecting them with buyers locally, nationally and internationally.

Despite its relative youth as an organisation, Yamaji Art has had successful shows in Perth, Cairns, and Capetown, and is scheduled to have a show in Washington DC this October.

“My paintings help me. When I get stressed or angry I just go paint and it really helps me. When I finish a painting I take it to Yamaji Art and they decide where to put it so people will see it,” said Olive Boddington, one of the artists with Yamaji Art.
Olive participated in a program run by Yamaji Art with Curtin University and the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research called Ilgarijiri. Several artists went out to Boolardy Station, the site of the ASKAP radio telescope, and drew inspiration from the landscape and the sky while learning about radio astronomy.

“I was born out in the bush, on Yallalong Station, so the trip was like going home for me. I paint what I know from that area in the Murchison, so the trip was very inspirational,” Olive Boddington said.

As a place where art and traditional culture meet, the collective serves as a place to house stories, foster creative development and skills, and bring artists of the Midwest into the Aboriginal art movement.

Yamaji Art is exhibiting at the Arts and Cultural Development Council (ACDC) in Geraldton as part of their NAIDOC show. The exhibition runs 8-29 July. Yamaji Arts will also be running bush basket weaving workshops on Tuesday, 5 July and Wednesday, 6 July at the ACDC. To learn more call 9965 3440.

Across Australia every July, NAIDOC Week celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In honour of NAIDOC 2011 YMAC is featuring a series of Aboriginal people and organisations that contribute to the vibrant Aboriginal culture of the Midwest and Pilbara. For more information on NAIDOC including its history and events happening near you, visit