Art at the Heart - Artist in Residence Program 2016 Print


Art at the Heart with Akirash
August - September 2016

A journey through the East Pilbara


2016 Art at the Heart Winner Announced

The Shire of East Pilbara is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2016 Art at the Heart residency program is Texas based installation and performance artist Olaniyi Rasheed Akindiya.
The 2016 judging panel chose Akindiya who goes by the ‘brush name’ Akirash, in a difficult but unanimous decision when they came together in Newman  recently to review the top 20 shortlisted artists from a record 68 applications.

The judges stated that the “submissions were of an incredibly high standard and it was therefore particularly difficult to reach a decision”. On choosing Akirash they stated “What particularly excited us as a judging panel was Akirash’s demonstration of intellect, energy, passion and ability to engage with communities through his art”.
Akirash has established an international reputation for his diversity of mediums and social commentary. He has worked with a wide range of communities, completed residencies and exhibited in Namibia, the USA, Brazil, Tanzania, Myanmar and the United Kingdom to name a few. This will be Akirash's first visit to Australia and he is looking forward to immersing himself in the beautiful landscapes and diverse communities of the East Pilbara.
Now in its third year of a four year commitment, the Shire of East Pilbara is proud to host the Art at the Heart residency. It is arguably one of the richest residencies in Australia. Akirash has been awarded a $15,000 artist prize and he will have a working budget of up to $40,000 to create a body of work for exhibition and to present workshops in the East Pilbara towns of Marble Bar, Newman and Nullagine.  
Akirash will come direct from a biennale in Italy to take up residence in the Shire of East Pilbara from 15 August with his first public appearance being at the annual Fortescue Festival in Newman on Sunday 21 August. He will then continue his residency for six weeks focussing on community engagement and developing his arts practice based around this year’s theme 'Light'.
Shire President Lynne Craigie said “we are very excited to welcome Akirash to Australia and the East Pilbara. The judges were clearly very impressed with his portfolio and we can’t wait to see how he will add to it here in the East Pilbara”. Councillor Craigie went on to say “Akirash is a dynamic artist who not only uses found, recycled and local materials to create his unique work but also listens to communities and helps them find their voice through art”.
For more information on Art at the Heart or to arrange an interview contact Hannah Petrickovic or on 08 9175 8000.


ENDS 25 May 2016



Judging Panel

The Shire of East Pilbara was very excited to have a new look panel for 2016. Judges included well known cultural advocate, Janet Holmes à Court AC along with Lockie McDonald, recent Chair of Arts Practice, Community Arts and Cultural Development, Australia Council for the Arts, Pilar Kasat, a recognised leader and advocate for the arts and cultural sector in Australia, and Shire of East Pilbara Councillors, Gerry Parsons and Michael Kitchin, who both bring with them a great commitment to the arts and the communities of the East Pilbara.

This year the program aims to:

  • Develop the capacity of local artists and the wider community via community engagement and creative exchange
  • Explore and showcase the local region through the exploration of the 2016 theme "Light
  • "Contribute and creatively enrich the Shire of east Pilbara through a legacy artwork
  • Enable an artist to develop a body of work and further their creative practice
  • Promote and create an awareness of the region, residency and artist, (both nationally and internationally)


Current Resident:

2016 Akirash - Olaniyi Rasheed Akindiya
More information on Akirash can be found at 

Previous Residencies:

2014 Hannah Quinlivan

2015 Yasuaki Onishi