Annette Nykiel

slow maker and artist-researcher

Annette Nykiel PhD is an interdisciplinary maker and researcher with a long association with rural and remote Western Australia and a passion for being amongst the Country.

I am a settler woman living and working on the unceded Wadjuk, Wiloman and Gnaarla Karla boodjar of the Noongar people but I was born on Bunurong Country on the other side of Australia.

I am embedded in the local; forming long term relationships with a small number of places where I wonder about the precarity of soils and the interdependence of ecological systems including my own in the near coastal wetlands, wandoo woodlands and the ancient salt lakes of the arid lands.

Earlier in life I was a geoscientist. That way of seeing informs me as a slow-maker who notices, gathers, and wanders in the bush. I am a fibre/textile artist specialising in repurposing cloth, natural dyeing using leaf litter and windfall, basket making, and embellishing objects with stitch. I create natural bush-dyed and hand-stitched textiles, finger-plied string, woven vessels. I spend much of my time with the native plants and rambunctious weeds learning about their dye and fibre potential.

I am currently based just outside of Perth Western Australia, the most isolated major city in the world. Here, Indigenous cultures span 60,000 years and the fragile soils and biodiversity have formed over some of the oldest rocks on Earth. All of this ecology is seriously under threat from ongoing colonial rule, mineral exploitation, fire, flood, species decline and changing rainfall patterns exacerbated by land clearing, factory farming and government sponsored mineral exploration. Living and working sustainably is critical to my practice and the places that I love and helps me make some sense of the time I worked in the mining industry.

I wander and tinker amongst urban, regional and remote areas in a variety of roles as a geoscientist, arts worker, maker and share skills as workshop facilitator, art project manager and casual academic. I continue to develop my practice through solo and group shows, residencies, and the artist group We Must Get Together Some Time.

Currently, I am deepening my decades long relationship with the woodlands of the newly proclaimed Dryandra Woodlands National Park and the surrounding wheatbelt. Thinking about these entangled ecosystems and about ways of making these communities (human and non-human) visible and appreciated and bring attention to the role the woodlands play in the formation and preservation of these biodiverse soils and habitats.

  • slow-maker
  • artist-researcher
  • geoscience
  • academic tutor
  • workshop facilitator
  • arts project manager
  • fibre/textile artist

short interview