A highly unusual business model developed in 2004 by Artitja Fine Art resulted in the company being Highly Commended for Excellence in Enterprise & Innovation at last Friday night’s prestigious 2015 Fremantle Business Awards.
“It is fantastic, we are over the moon to have received this award. it really is testament to pursuing your passion and holding tight to your vision in business” said Directors Anna Kanaris and Arthur Clarke.
The South Fremantle Indigenous Fine Art business has had its challenges, launching as a ‘pop up’ gallery in March 2004, holding up to four ‘external’ exhibitions and operating by appointment at other times.
“It was risky”, says Kanaris “In 2004 the concept of ‘pop up’ was frowned upon, particularly in the high end fine art market. The phrase had the tarnish of unsophistication about it.”
Proving their innovativeness, “Pop Ups” have now not just become de rigueur but are a standard practice for several high end galleries around Australia.
“We always have had to be enterprising and innovative, so to win this award, which encompasses exactly how we think and how we have operated is completely relevant to our practice”, says Clarke.
Since their inception, Artitja Fine Art has not only held quarterly exhibitions and brought remote community artists to Fremantle from as far away as the Tiwi Islands, they have assisted in launching an Indigenous fashion label, book launches and special events – all with an educational component, and work with the motto Cultural Connections through Art”.
Achievements and highlights include Anna being called upon at late notice last November to fill in as curator at a private corporate function featuring Indigenous art in Singapore, opened by the Australian High Commissioner to working closely with an international music promoter in selecting paintings to gift to high profile visiting artists.
In 2006 Artitja Fine Art began representing Nyoongar fibre textile artist and bush sculptor Janine McAullay Bott, who has since won national and international recognition, and is a finalist in this year’s 32nd National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Awards to be held in Darwin in August.
“Of course we couldn’t do it without the numerous and highly talented artists from some of Australia’s most remote communities, and our clients, whose continued loyalty and championing of our business is very encouraging” state Kanaris and Clarke.
Photograph caption Anna Kanaris and Arthur Clarke acceptance speech 2015 FREMANTLE BUSINESS AWARDS 12 June 2015 (c) THE SCENE TEAM
Artitja Fine Art
Anna Kanaris and Arthur Clarke established Artitja Fine Art in 2004, inspired by a love of the art and a deep respect for ancient Australian Aboriginal culture and tradition. “Our aim is in connecting cultures through the art. Quality Aboriginal art is not just beautiful, it provides insights into Indigenous stories and Tjurrkupa (dreamings). Within Australia and internationally, the art plays an important role as a medium for connection between very different cultures.”