Curtin University has received a Lotterywest grant to gather the stories of the Carrolup artists by interviewing their families and selected community members.
The Carrolup artists lived at the Carrolup Native School and Settlement in Western Australia’s Great Southern region in the 1940s.
The artworks were created as part of a teaching program developed to ease the suffering of Aboriginal children forcibly removed from their families in accordance with the Government’s policy of assimilation in the late 1940s.
The 122-piece Herbert Mayer Collection of Carrolup Artwork was considered lost for many years, but was found by chance in 2004 at the Colgate University in New York. Custodianship of the artworks was transferred to Curtin in 2013.
The Lotterywest supported project, ‘Gathering Carrolup Stories’, will involve recording the stories of the artists and their families to build important historical knowledge.
The Hon Peter Collier, Minister for Education, Aboriginal Affairs and Electoral Affairs presented the grant of $130,000 to Curtin’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry at a special presentation.
Professor Terry said the project will enable important information to be collected to help us better understand this significant part of the State’s story.
“As well as providing an important resource for building cultural and historical knowledge, it will reconnect the paintings to the artists and their families,” Professor Terry said.
“The importance and urgency of this project lies in the gathering of these stories to build historical knowledge – as the individuals who hold these stories and experiences are ageing and few remain. The University is extremely grateful to Lotterywest for providing this grant to enable us to do this.”
The full collection was exhibited at Curtin’s John Curtin Gallery in August 2013 and toured the Great Southern region in 2014.
The Lotterywest grant will support a film crew and researcher to conduct interviews and gather the stories. A research assistant from the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council will also be employed to enable collaboration and engagement with the local Aboriginal community.
The Herbert Mayer Collection of Carrolup Artwork ‘Gathering Carrolup Stories’ project is in partnership with the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council.