Pushed by COVID-19 last year, Kimberley art auction embraces new online platform

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Tom ZaunmayrBroome Advertiser
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The annual Environs Kimberley art auction returns this week.
Camera IconThe annual Environs Kimberley art auction returns this week. Credit: Julia Rau

Bringing one of Broome’s biggest annual art events online last year has proven such a success its organisers have once again made it a feature of the 10-day showcase.

The Environs Kimberley Annual Art Auction began on Thursday and will be live and online this year until August 15.

Like many events, the auction was forced on to a virtual platform last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Environs Kimberley director Martin Pritchard said the virtual event exceeded expectations.

“We had pretty low expectations because we hadn't done it before,” he said. “Last year we had someone from Perth who ... bought $12,000 worth of art.”

A virtual exhibition will be hosted from August 5-15, with bidders able to attend the August 7 live auction in person at the Broome Convention Centre or via video conference on Zoom. Works for sale this year come from Kimberley artists such as the late Jimmy Pike, Tommy May, Helicopter, Lydia Balbal, Suzy French, Stephen Eastaugh, Edwin Lee Mulligan and Ian Mcconnell.

Mr Pritchard said the auction was an opportunity to see a diverse array of Kimberley art in one place.

“The live event will be the usual EK Art Auction extravaganza, with stunning art, a fully stocked bar, food vans, live music and a genuine Broome atmosphere,” he said.

“You get people who just want to come to look at the art and appreciate the art we have in the region.”

Artists who have put forward works for the auction choose what percent-age of the sale will go towards EK.

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