10 Mount Gambier women artists both emerging and established, in conjunction with Photographer Kate Hill, come together to paint self-portraits for public display.
Through a six month intensive project, these local women shared their ideas, skills and knowledge through structured workshops, culminating in the creation of a multi-modal public art work. Reproductions of their paintings, and QR code technology have been brought together to form a semi-permanent 2D installation with a focus on storytelling.
As part of the six month project, the ten artists participated in a series of monthly, full day workshops.
April Hague and Jane Van Eeten (both Secondary Art Teachers and artists in their own right) led the structured workshop sessions and managed the project from conceptualisation to fulfilment.
The process allowed the artists to collaborate in creating their portrait works; to discuss works of art, share ideas and knowledge, provide useful and high quality critique, and engage within an environment that fostered personal and professional growth.
April Hague, Jane Van Eeten, Jennie Matthews, Bianca Richardson, Sally O’Connor, Angela Hann, Stephanie Yoannidis, Anne Miles, Julia Reader and Christy Wallace.
The women worked as a team to create a semi-permanent public artwork which celebrates diversity, and the artistic and cultural strength of our local arts community, displayed at 25B Bay Road, Mount Gambier.
By bringing artists together to work towards the creation of a public art piece, there have been benefits not only for the individuals but importantly, for the Mount Gambier community itself.
Through this project, the women involved experience an improved sense of belonging and empowerment, within a supportive artistic community, and through the establishment of a cultural identity as a group. We hope that this has power to greatly improve wellbeing for these individuals. The project was built on the creation of a forum for fostering collaborative ways of working, of sharing, of cultural exchange and friendship, and of rich learning. There was a strong sense of equality within the program through the access to venue, resources and materials as well as intellectual property.
Although the public art piece will be unveiled in late June 2022, an exhibition documenting the entire project was opened at The Riddoch Art Gallery
on June 3rd, curated by Serena Wong.
In terms of the public installation, the aim was to create an exciting and engaging piece that will be encountered by local citizens in an everyday location of Mount Gambier, and become a high-impact, semi-permanent ‘beacon’ installation that is appreciated by locals but also tourists who are attracted from further afield.
The artwork itself will be impactful on first glance, but by delving deeper, the viewer has the opportunity to learn more about the featured local artists and hear stories about them and the project itself. The QR code technology which incorporates links to this site, provides an exciting element of interactivity for the general public. We feel that it is important to bring quality artwork out of galleries and into spaces where they can be enjoyed by wider and more varied audiences, and that was one goal with this work.