The Minyma Kutjara Arts Project (curated and project managed by Claire Wildish), Toyota from Kapi Ungkupayi, 2015. Photograph: Rongamai Bailey.

Guildhouse and Uniting Communities are thrilled to announce the appointment of multidisciplinary artist Claire Wildish to the U City Artist in Residence program.

This new collaboration creates a funded opportunity for an experienced artist to work undertake a residency at the U City building and engage with the community with a focus on wellbeing. During their residency, the artist-in-residence will be delivering a series of workshops and public engagements designed to empower participants to express themselves through art.

The inaugural artist for the U City Artist in Residence program is community artist Claire Wildish who brings her extensive experience of developing multi-arts programs for children and First Nations and multi-cultural communities in the outback, urban Australia and internationally to the role.

This project is funded under the South Australian Government Statewide Wellbeing Strategy, led by Wellbeing SA.

Artist biography

Claire Wildish is a passionate community artist who grew up in the country in a family of theatrics. She studied fashion design and multimedia while travelling and looking for adventures, breathing in the air and the people she met along the way. She found her passion in community arts, developing multi-arts programs with children, Indigenous Australians and multi-cultural community groups in outback and urban Australia and internationally.

For five years she and her family lived in in the remote Western Australian Indigenous community of Irrunytju where she learnt the secret art of listening and storytelling. In collaboration with senior Pitjantjantjara/Ngaantjarra elders and local artists she helped initiate the re-opening of the art centre after many years of closure. In 2014-15 she project managed and curated Kapi Ungkupayi / He Gave Us Water for Tarnanthi Festival of Contemporary Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander Art, a multi-media, multi-sensory exhibition involving five principal artists and over 100 supporting artists.

Since moving to Adelaide five years ago she has grown her own arts practise while working alongside the South Australian Museum, Life Without Barriers, Autism SA, Westcare, Mitcham Council, Laurel Pallative Care Foundation and the Art Gallery of South Australia. Currently, under the guidance of interdisciplinary artist Daniel Connell and in partnership with Laurel Palliative Care Foundation she is yarning, weaving and string making in response to a cross cultural community conversation about Life, Death and Dying.

Also in 2020 she was the successful recipient of the Adelaide City Library SALA Festival Emerging Curator Grant for I am Awe-tistic, a collaborative exhibition giving twenty-eight young emerging artists on the autism spectrum a voice, celebrating their hearts and minds and exploring their curious curiosities.

All this is a constant inspiration for her art practice along with her two extraordinary children who taught her how to make zines and from their breakfast table publishing company where they cut and paste strange characters on wild adventures in search of cockroaches, cucumbers, dead potatoes and ice cream dreams. They also helped her start the after-school arts program, The Cucumber Project at Cumberland Park Community Centre.