Meet artist Salote Tawale from the exhibition Exquisite Corpse 
May 16, 2024

Meet artist Salote Tawale from the exhibition Exquisite Corpse 

Salote Tawale – an artist spotlighting the cumulative migrant experience in post-colonial Australia. 

“In a way, this space is a monument.” 

That’s how Salote describes Roslyn Smorgon Gallery after walking us through her exhibition ‘Exquisite Corpse’. 

“The Exquisite Corpse gives me the opportunity to pull from things that are in my memory, my mind, my relationships…” 

At Exquisite Corpse Exhibition Opening. Image by Matto Lucas

Exquisite Corpse is a multi-faceted solo exhibition inspired by the collaborative drawing game made popular by Surrealists. Tawale reflects on identity and the collective migrant experience in post-colonial Australia, skillfully depicted through a collage of works presenting inherited and enduring legacies and patterns. 

The exhibition’s large-scale installation incorporates wall vinyl, floor coverings, natural and architectural elements, video, and outdoor sculptural ‘cutouts’ in the Weaving Sustainable Futures Garden. 

“Coming through the glass doors [in the centre], you’re met with a canvas wall with openings that you can go through and enter a textural splurge.  

“There’s a large photo on the wall that wraps around…some of the elements are from old artworks, old collages.” 

At Exquisite Corpse Exhibition Opening. Image by Matto Lucas

Drawing from her dual colonial heritage (Australia and Fiji), Tawale crafts a narrative deeply rooted in Indigenous knowledge systems.  Each component contributes to a multi-sensory experience, bringing Salote’s work to life – a celebration of reimagined artistic methods exploring profound cultural intersections.  

For instance, the textural diamond pattern on one side of the wall is Tawale’s grandmother’s very own, unique, weaving crosshatch pattern. 

“It’s materiality is related to my own histories, where Fiji and Australia collide materially.” 

The exhibition continues Tawale’s interrogation of ideas surrounding memory and consciousness, and how they relate to the notions of time, space, identity and the collective migrant experience in post-colonial Australia 

“Most people have an immigrant history in this country, and I think positionality is everything – like an understanding of who you are and where you come from – really helps you be real with yourself.” 

“I’m hoping that the thing people can get from this exhibition is that there is a ‘we’ in immigrant history.” 

Salote Tawale, Exquisite Corpse Exhibition Opening. Image by Matto Lucas

Through this exhibition, Salote Tawale joins a rich history of artists across the last 50 years who have consistently broken new ground, often in the face of adversity, and embraced change with us here at Footscray Community Arts.  

“Footscray Community Arts has been a really important place for me and its impact on my practice as an artist, and especially as an emerging Pacific artist…also my mother used to work around here. So, there’s all these multiple kinds of personal, professional, histories.” 

Creating space for storytelling, and platforms for artists to develop their practice is vital not just for us, but for the broader arts sector. We aim to fill the gap where artists often feel the demand to produce final outcomes, with less support for their practice and development work.  

For our fiftieth anniversary, we are thrilled to launch the New Commissions Fund for artists, marking a significant milestone in our legacy of supporting creativity and community arts. This new fund looks to support, develop, and care for artists who embody the spirit of Footscray Community Arts—a place of new work, big ideas, and community impact.  


We can provide critical financial support by investing in artists as they find new ways of working and developing ambitious projects.  

Join us in this next chapter by donating and becoming part of a living, evolving landscape of arts and culture, co-created over five decades in Melbourne’s West. 

Read more about Salote Tawale’s Exquisite Corpse Exhibition here.