Katie West, ‘muhlu garrwarn / cool time hot time’ (detail), 2018, bush-dyed silk, cotton and thread, yirrarla (calico), cardboard, glass jars, bawa (water), watharn (green leaves), birditha (dry leaves), jurdubirri (native flower), burlaawa (non-native flower), birra (bark), dimensions variable.
Katie West is a Yindjibarndi woman, with an interdisciplinary practice that explores the renewal of human connections with and within the natural environment. West was selected as the winner of the inaugural Dominik Mersch Gallery / Victorian College of the Arts Award in 2017 with her Masters graduate exhibition piece ‘muhlu garrwarn / cool time hot time’. In this ongoing work, the artist engages with natural dyeing processes and text scores as ways to participate with the seasons. Through these repeated processes, her work moves from memory to the realm of instruction or storytelling.
Her installations grow with the seasons as quiet and powerful evocations of place. To begin, West dyes her fabric using plant material and an open fire in muhlu (cool time). Following this, solar dyeing and sewing with the fabric and thread created in muhlu becomes the focus in garrwarn (hot time). Text scores serve to both document this process and guide the process again in future seasons.
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