Indian Ocean Craft Triennial: Curiosity and Rituals of the Everyday

‘We came together with the aim of showcasing the ingenuity of ‘craft’ practitioners, and the cultural importance of ‘craft’ for people around the Indian Ocean.’

– IOTA Team.

Traditionally, handcrafted objects and artefacts have been applied in ceremony, worship, adornment, and utility in the everyday connecting us to community, culture, and heritage. This month marks the inauguration of the ‘Indian Ocean Craft Triennial’ (IOTA), which aims to celebrate the value of craft-based practice in a fast-moving contemporary world. ‘IOTA2021’ slows the tempo in ‘Curiosity and Rituals of the Everyday’ with work by national and international artists from the Indian Ocean Rim – India, Kenya, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand and Western Australia – across two main exhibition spaces; John Curtin Gallery, 10 September to 30 October; and Fremantle Arts Centre, 18 September to 7 November.

Cyrus Kabiru, Macho Nne-Amboseli Mask, 2017, C-type print on Diasec mount, 70 × 60cm. Courtesy the artist and Fremantle Arts Centre, Western Australia

IOTA’s inaugural program also brings a further 30 exhibitions, art events and 200+ craft practitioners into the mix across major art institutions, artist-run collectives, regional galleries, local government arts facilities, craft-specific workshops, and studios.

Of the many highlights, ‘IOTA2021’ includes: ‘Curiosity and the Cloth’, which looks at material culture through fashion and design at Boola Bardip, WA Museum on 19 September. From 26 September, Holmes à Court Gallery – Vasse Felix presents ‘Dwelling Rituals’ that underscores the small but meaningful gestures, repeated actions, daily habits, materials and objects in our homes that connect us to place and belonging. On 24 October, WA Maritime Museum presents the ‘Makers’ Film Festival, featuring handcrafted animation, documentary and short films about approaches to craft making and design.