In the world of arts and crafts, crafters can sometimes feel left in the shadows of the spectacular painting, sculpture and multimedia events capturing large audiences and filling marquee events. From September-November, one showcase aims to change that. The Indian Ocean Craft Triennial 2021 team has scoured communities surrounding its titular body of water for the most unique and creative crafts conforming to the curiosities and rituals of the everyday theme. This year there is a strong North West presence — five artists from Kununurra to Lombadina have been selected to take part. Not a bad effort when the main exhibition counts 35 creators. IOTA2021 co-ordinator Carola Akindele-Obe said the triennial shone a spotlight on the hidden stars of the creative crafts pursuit. “There hasn’t been a major focus on craft for a very long time,” she said. “A few years a go there was an Indian Ocean festival which celebrated our connection to the people, communities and country around the Indian Ocean and there used to be an exhibition at the State Gallery a long time ago which focused on craft. “(Now we) are coming together to celebrate where we are in the world, the diversity of community and the notion of craft and handmade objects.” Waringarri Arts’ Jan Griffiths will unveil her works at the John Curtin Gallery showcase. So, too, will Tianpi desert weavers Judith Yinyika Chambers and Nancy Nyanyana Jackson from the Ngaanyatjarra Lands. Western Desert sculptor Curtis Taylor will host a gallery as part of the festival-adjacent Tilt program at Heathcote. Global artists to star in Australian craft showcase South coast artist join 2021 crafts triennial Lombadina family Gary and Darrell Sibosado and DJ Kyle’s wares will be on display at the Fremantle Arts Centre. Sibosado and DJ Kyle are working to weave an intricate, traditional technique into what Akindele-Obe described as a “substantial” work of craft. Indigenous designs will also be on display at Curiosity and the Cloth, a fashion show hosted at WA Museum Boola Bardip featuring designers using material from their homelands. Akindele-Obe said artists were selected on both curatorial criteria and how they used traditional craft in new and innovative ways. “We are all accustomed to different crafted objects in our everyday lives and I guess people who are professional artists who use craft techniques take it to another level — that is what we were looking for,” she said. “We probably have only scratched the surface (in the Kimberley) but what we were excited about were particularly what is happening in the Aboriginal art centres.” “For the exhibition at John Curtin Gallery and Fremantle Arts Centre we selected Jan Griffiths from Waringarri Art (and) Gary and Darrell Sibosado and DJ Kyle from Lombadina, mainly because they were taking traditional techniques and creating large-scale contemporary artwork, but also they were telling important stories of our time and their lives.” Akindele-Obe said the triennial would host a virtual platform for people unable to attend in person.