After winning the Aboriginal Art Centre Internship for 2018 from the National Art School in Sydney, Samara Hyde-Page continues to support remote Aboriginal communities.
“Without the encouragement and influence from my art teacher Miss Brown at KRB, I would not be where I am today.
I graduated from Kincoppal Rose Bay in 2014 and then went on to complete a Bachelor of Fine Art from the National Art School in Sydney, majoring in painting in 2017. I enjoyed the community aspect at NAS, sharing ideas and new knowledge for the creation of contemporary art and adapting this as inspiration for my own artworks.
I was awarded the Aboriginal Art Centre Internship for 2018 and travelled to Ernabella Arts in Pukatja Community, at the eastern end of the Musgrave Ranges in the far north-west of South Australia. I interned at Ernabella Arts for a period of three months and moved from an intern role to full time work as Studio Manager. I was fortunate enough to continue work at Ernabella on-and-off for two years (until the end of 2019). Ernabella Arts is Australia’s oldest, continuously running Indigenous Art Centre. It has a population of 450 people, most of which are Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara. Ernabella Arts is a place where senior and young women and men practice and develop art, in order to sustain, support and promote their cultural heritage.
The art centre is a dynamic place of cultural expression, empowerment, non-welfare-based income, local leadership, choice, safety, health and wellbeing. Art centres are often the central point in a community for employment and for experimentation and creation – not only in art-making, but in Aboriginal business management, leadership, cross-cultural engagement, agency and expression. This is not an easy place to navigate as a Westerner.
An average day at the art centre is filled with many diverse jobs. It can go from 0 to 100 very quickly and you often find yourself starting one job in the morning and not getting around to finishing it until right at the end of the day. My day-to-day jobs included canvas making, mixing paint palettes for artists, cataloguing artworks, creating a newsletter for the Art Centre, website design, driving the artists home/ picking them up, taking photos of paintings and ceramics, removal of finished paintings from stretcher bars, packaging of artworks to be sent to galleries, constantly kicking dogs out, sales of artworks, glazing and sanding of ceramics- just to name a few.
At the start of April, I will be driving up to the Northern Territory to an Aboriginal Community called Ramingining, which is situated on the edge of the Arafura Swamp. Ramingining is mainly Yolngu people and is in Central Arnhem land, 400 kilometers east of Darwin. My Manager from Ernabella now works as Manager at Bula’Bula Arts in Ramingining and contacted me earlier this year to see if I would be keen to work from April to July as Studio Manager and Cultural Facilitator. My role will be very similar to Ernabella which will include arts and artist support, art centre administration, marketing and project support and facilitating and administering the Outback Spirit Tours. I’m eager to see the variety of mediums that the artists explore which include print, painting, fibre art, song, dance, as well as film and literature mediums. I may also have the opportunity to travel to regional meetings and interstate supporting the artists to attend Industry events.
My experience working in remote indigenous communities has enriched my understanding of other art practices outside of Western traditions and in turn, has motivated me to learn, further my artistic development and challenge my practice to another unique and diverse environment abroad. I was accepted to undergo a Master of Fine Art, majoring in painting, at the Royal College of Art in London. I began my study in September 2020 but due to the ongoing struggle of Covid-19 I was unable to travel abroad and completed my first year online from Sydney (but on London time). The unpredictable nature of Covid-19 led me to defer for a year and I will begin my second and final year this September 2022 (flying over in August). I’m looking forward to living abroad and being exposed to the current world in all manner of life. Following my dissertation at RCA I hope to further explore the concept of urban ruins and how they invite us to consider how humanity’s geological footprint may influence our future’s nature and culture.
After I have completed my studies in London I hope to return to Australia and further develop my practice as an artist. I hope to continue work with Indigenous Art Centres as I believe there is great importance to support places that provide autonomy, sustained growth, and stability for Aboriginal communities. They say once you’ve lived in the desert you never truly leave. I believe this to be true as I’ve found myself one way or another returning to the beautiful red dirt.”