Toy Returns was a gallery located on Walyalup, traditional lands of the Whadjuk Noongar people, about a five minute walk from central Fremantle, Perth's port-side city.
Adjoining the studio of Emma Buswell, the space occupied one room of a defunct early learning centre and offered artists free exhibition space within our finite, curated program between 2018 and 2019.
Through the operation of Toy Returns and our broader practices, we advocate for the use of abandoned or unconventional architectures for the production, dispersal and consumption of contemporary art and adjacent projects. Toy Returns recognises the ever increasing precarity with which artists are practicing in this contemporary moment and sought to provide a modest platform for the celebration and exposure of their ideas to audiences with the view of fostering community and support for creative outcomes.
Toy Returns was a project established by Emma Buswell and Melissa McGrath, long term collaborators, friends and partners in crime.
Emma Buswell is a West Australian based artist, curator and designer. Emma is fascinated with systems of government, economies and culture, particularly in relation to constructs of place, identity and community. Her work is primarily preoccupied with documenting the interactions between art and the urban environment with a focused inquiry into architectural intervention, the role of art in urban place-making and the potential for built environments to directly impact upon the cultural makeup of a localised population. She has previously worked on projects including maxART, Success, Moana ARI and Polizia and co-founded Cool Change Contemporary in 2018.
Melissa McGrath is a curator, writer and collaborator from WA whose practice chiefly explores the development and dissemination of understandings, with a focus on printed matter, exhibition-making and public dialogue as vehicles for collection, learning, political and social agency. Melissa was previously on the board of Runway Australian Experimental Art and Paper Mountain ARI; established Reception, a domestic project space in Adelaide; and co-founded Cool Change Contemporary in 2018.