Works of Tasmanian Aboriginal contemporary artist on display at Black Cow Bistro

SPECIAL MEANING: Black Cow curator Ralf Haertel with one of the Vicki West works set to be displayed at the bistro for the next three months. Picture: Phillip Biggs
SPECIAL MEANING: Black Cow curator Ralf Haertel with one of the Vicki West works set to be displayed at the bistro for the next three months. Picture: Phillip Biggs

With this year’s NAIDOC Week celebrating the contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, Launceston’s Black Cow Bistro is making sure the recognition is ongoing.

The steakhouse will display the work of Tasmanian Aboriginal contemporary artist Vicki West for the next three months as part of its Featured Artist series.

We are Still Here explores cultural survival in the face of continuing colonial myths regarding the extinction of West’s people.

Black Cow curator Ralf Haertel said while the display was not installed specifically for NAIDOC Week, it was nice to have a link to the annual festivities.

“Through her art, Vicki has been an incredible ambassador for Tasmanian Aboriginal culture,” he said.

“She has worked across a broad range of community projects and roles to support the resurgence of her culture, while at the same time establishing a reputation as one of Australia’s foremost contemporary Aboriginal artists.  

“We are really excited and honoured to have Vicki as our inaugural featured artist at Black Cow, particularly during NAIDOC Week.“

West is a pakana artist of the trawlwoolway people from the North East coast region, who draws on traditional Tasmanian Aboriginal cultural practices and materials to create contemporary artworks.

She is a Bachelor, Honours, and Masters graduate in Art from the University of Tasmania and has maintained a strong local, national and international exhibition record since entering the field.

The works at Black Cow offer a small glimpse into her practice, which includes large scale installations incorporating multiple elements, smaller scale sculptural works, jewellery, textiles, painting and new media.  

Constellation 2018 is a series of nine woven spiral discs that frame the main dining room, constructed from the native dodda vine and representing the nine Tasmanian Aboriginal nations.   

Black Cow Bistro and Stillwater co-owner and marketing manager Kim Seagram said the works allowed for a “richer, more vibrant experience in the space”.  

“We feel privileged to feature Vicki West’s works as our first exhibition,” she said.