BHP has made another significant contribution towards the growth of the Pilbara’s South Hedland Aboriginal art centre Spinifex Hill Studio by renewing its longstanding partnership with FORM for an additional two years.

The renewed partnership, with FORM Building a State of Creativity Inc (FORM) – an independent, non-profit arts and cultural organisation that aims to be a leader in the development of a vibrant creative economy for the benefit and wellbeing of all Western Australian communities – is focused on expanding the capacity and impact of Spinifex Hill Studio.

BHP’s $1.3 million investment over two years will provide support in building the capacity of studio staff, opening new creative development opportunities through technology and innovation for existing artists and providing training and professional development to young people in the local community, focused on art production, business management and curation.

Managed by FORM, Spinifex Hill Studio stands on Kariyarra Country and since 2014 has been home to one of the most recently formed Aboriginal art collectives in the north-west of Australia.

Presenting contemporary art which covers a breadth of styles, the Studio has always attracted and supported the practices of artists from many different language groups, including Kariyarra, Nyamal, Banyjima, Nyiyaparli, Yindjibarndi, Noongar, Ngarla, Manyjilyjarra, Warnman, Kartujarra, and Nyangumarta.

This partnership will also see Spinifex Hill Studio’s Project Space, opened in 2021, transformed into a hub for community and visitor engagement in South Hedland – a centre for events and programs designed to build cultural awareness in the community, provide community activation, vibrancy, and creative amenity.

“We are very proud of our partnership with FORM, particularly to have witnessed the evolution of Spinifex Hill Studio and the growth and achievements of its fine artists, many of whom have received national acclaim for their work,” BHP’s Head of Corporate Affairs Meath Hammond said.

“This renewed partnership will support the development of the next generation of artists and create additional employment opportunities, also providing new income streams through innovation and much-needed creative community events for the South Hedland community to participate in and celebrate.”

BHP’s support of the Spinifex Hill Artists began in 2008, and has included the co-funding of Spinifex Hill Studio’s construction in 2014, the construction of the Spinifex Hill Project Space in 2021, and the development of an online shop, providing further economic return for artists by making their work more accessible to global audiences.

“We are very grateful to receive this support from BHP, and for their ongoing commitment to invest in the future and community of South Hedland,” FORM’s Chief Executive Officer Tabitha McMullan said.

“FORM acknowledges the Kariyarra people on whose land we are fortunate to work on, their elders and all elders of the many diverse groups we support and collaborate with at Spinifex Hill Studios.

“It is through such deep and lasting partnerships between communities, industry and cultural organisations that we can create a better future.”