We are pleased to introduce you to the artists and art centre behind our upcoming exhibition, Linear Nation. Jamie-Lea Trindall and Sooty Welsh are a ceramicist duo from Coonamble, in outback NSW. Inspired by the surrounding Wailwan Country, the artists express their Aboriginal identity through contemporary artistic forms.
Sooty and Jamie-Lea are supported by Outback Arts, a regional arts development organisation which maintains a community gallery and artists-run studio. Outback Arts has developed a reputation for fostering incredible regional artists that practice all manner of art making, from painting to ceramics.
The unique duo from the small community of Coonamble in far western NSW, have been creating ceramics alongside each other in a community-run studio for years. Situated on Wailwan country, Sooty and Jamie-Lea experiment, investigate and design ceramic works with each other whilst maintaining their own distinctive style and honouring the ancient tradition of carving and mark-making.
Sgraffito techniques are used in their designs as it allows the artists to celebrate the carving methods their ancestors used on trees, weapons and ground makings. Sgraffito refers to the process of applying layers of colour or underglazes to hard pottery and then scratching off layers to create contrasting images, patterns or textures. It’s an ancient technique, which allows the ceramicist to really control the textures and colours of their designs.
As the senior artist and Wailwan Elder, Sooty enjoys working with clay every day, surrounded by the Outback Arts community members. Sooty was born Kevin, however, due to his predilection to play in the local gully amongst the soot and ashes, he endearingly earned the name Sooty. At a young age, Sooty was taken during the Stolen Generation. After returning to his homelands only 10 years ago, Sooty has taken ceramics in his stride, winning regional awards and exhibiting in several Sydney-based galleries. Since returning to Coonamble, Sooty is finally experiencing the sensation of returning to Country, and feeling at home.
As the younger artist of the duo, Jamie-Lea is on the opposite end of the art making spectrum. After starting her arts career at the young age of 24 as the Executive Director of Outback Arts she has also maintained a successful art making practice resulting in Woven works exhibited in both Museum of Contemporary Art String Theory and the Venice Biennale 2015 Collateral exhibition Country. Now with very young family, she has only recently been able to return to art making, this time in the ceramic form but still inspired by her natural environment, the strong graphic Wiradjuri dendroglyphs and the ancestral connection to country, using sgraffito to explore those natural line and mark making methods.
What's been happening in the USA has shone a much needed spotlight on the systemic racism and inequality endured by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in Australia. Now is the time to rally the troops and educate yourselves on brands, businesses and strategies which support First Nations communities in proactive ways. Koskela is proud to work with Indigenous Art Centres, which help artists to generate an income independent of Government, so they can continue to live a life they have chosen to lead and maintain their traditional practices.