About IOTA

Creative adaptability is the key to successful practice.

While societies globally experience rapid and vast transformations based on technology, innovation, and mass communication, the emotional value of craft and the hand-made is increasing. As studio artists and traditional artisans respond to new circumstances, we witness a re-engagement of contemporary craft by makers willing to sustain the value and benefit of the hand-made in contemporary life.

Throughout the Indian Ocean region craft objects and artefacts have traditionally been linked to specific uses. Whether on a daily basis, for special ceremonies or acts of worship, rituals of the everyday touch each of us in different ways, for example:

Votive: describing systems and formalities of belief

Family/Utility: objects with their roots in function and domestic use

Shelter: referencing the architectures of physical protection

Adornment: a process of embellishment or beautification.

[As we have researched artists and creative craft approaches, a number of sub-themes and messages have emerged strongly, concerning factors, such as: cultural reclamation, socio-political, environment and technology.]
A map showign all the participating countries

Curating Across the Indian Ocean Rim

The Triennial fosters innovative cultural collaboration, dialogue and partnerships that build influence internationally. Through the promotion of the craft sector’s economic, artistic and cultural assets within an international landscape. It builds people-to-people links internationally, and in particular, enhances and establishes networks and exchanges between artisans and arts organisations around the Indian Ocean. Fostering a renewed appreciation of the hand-made, collaboration, and increasing the capacity of artists and artisans informs our curatorial practice.

The Indian Ocean Rim Group of Countries


Where will the Triennial take place?

Perth and regional centres, Western Australia (WA)

Key Venue Partners

John Curtin Gallery and Fremantle Arts Centre

Supporting venue partners across Perth Metro & Regional Western Australia

These venues and organisations are planning exhibitions and activities in complement to the Triennial 2021 theme:

Art Gallery of Western Australia; Art Collective WA; Artitja Fine Art; Bunbury Regional Art Gallery; CASM: Contemporary Art Space Mandurah; City of Melville; City of Wanneroo; Ellenbrook Arts; Fremantle Arts Centre; Gallery Central / North Metro TAFE; Gallery East; Geraldton Project / Geraldton Regional Gallery; Gwoonwardu Mia – Gascoyne Aboriginal Heritage and Cultural Centre; Goolugatup Heathcote; Holmes à Court Gallery – Perth & Vasse Felix; Jewellers & Metalsmiths Group (WA) / Old Customs House; John Curtin Gallery; Kidogo ArtHouse; Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery; Lost Eden Gallery – Dwellingup; Midland Junction Arts Centre; Mundaring Arts Centre; Perth Studio Potters / Burt St Gallery; PICA; Spare Parts Puppet Theatre; Stirling St Arts Centre, Bunbury; The Junction Co / Courthouse Gallery, Port Hedland; WA Museums – Boola Bardip, Geraldton, Goldfields & Great Southern; WAFTA; York Festival & Gallery 152.

Curatorial Team

Jude van der Merwe, Maggie Baxter, Chad Creighton, Qassim Saad, Gerald Sanyangore, Carola Akindele-Obe.

Find out more about our team.

Naming IOTA 21

The Indian Ocean Craft Triennial is a bit of a mouthful; and during its early development we frequently used the acronym IOCT – which is not very friendly, so in an effort to make it more so, we struck upon IOTA: Indian Ocean Triennial Australia. As a founding partnership we remain as the Indian Ocean Craft Triennial who present IOTA21.

‘Iota’ is the ninth and smallest letter of the Greek alphabet. Consequently, it came to be used in reference to very small things and is generally defined by dictionaries as an infinitesimal amount.

‘Kaya’ means ‘hello’ in the Noongar language.

We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the country where we operate, in particular the Noongar peoples, the first nations of the south-west of Australia. We recognise their connection to land and waters, their continuing contribution to culture, and respect their Elders, past, present and emerging.