Words: Erin Irwin
It has been announced that Cooee Art, a gallery that has sought since it was established in 1981 to promote Aboriginal art both nationally and internationally, has relaunched as Art Leven. Under Director Mirri Leven, this new iteration will expand the gallery’s repertoire, embracing non-Indigenous art and presenting it in dialogue with its stable of artists and the many artists and makers it works to support.
“Art Leven intends to honour the legacy of Cooee Art as Australia’s oldest Indigenous gallery” says Leven, “while project-based partnerships with non-Indigenous artists mark a new direction for the gallery, we remain strongly committed to promoting Indigenous art and culture. By broadening the gallery’s program, we aim to invite audiences of the wider Australian and Western art world into a more intimate and understanding appreciation of our First Nations’ artists, past and present”.
Art Leven will be launched by the exhibition country x Country, which will feature the works of Kitty Napanangka Simon and Neil Ernest Tompkins, curated by Gadigal Artist Konstantina (Kate Constantine). The exhibition was born out of a painting project hosted by the Warlpiri owners of Warnayaka Arts in Lajamanu over five days of painting at the Art Centre studio. It is emblematic of the new direction of the gallery, bringing together the many branches of Australian art whilst honouring the legacy of Cooee Art.
This article was posted 19 July 2023.
Image: Works by Kitty Napanangka Simon and Neil Ernest Tompkins in situ in Lajamanu. Courtesy: the artists and Art Leven, Sydney.