1.Give us the who, what when, where, why of your SALA show
SALA for me this year is organising the inaugural SALA Exhibition for Helping Hand Aged Care in North Adelaide. I facilitate an Art Group there, where of a group of like minded residents meet weekly to engage with visual art, offering a tremendous opportunity for residents to be creatively active and socially engaged. Whether new to visual art or experienced, the Art Group is recognised as a safe place to experience the joy of making art, risk taking, feeling connected with other creative people and importantly having fun. Our SALA exhibition is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the creative force that unifies our talented and generous group of artists. Seven artists from the group are exhibiting 39 works in a variety of mediums. The title of the exhibition, Young At Art, is inspired by the value of life long learning and the power of the creative force. Young At Art is a group exhibition, listed in the SALA Guide, and runs Monday to Friday 10-4 for the month of August, at Helping Hand North Adelaide, Buxton St, North Adelaide. Alongside the residents work, I am exhibiting a suite of photographic portraits.
2. How does this SALA show fit with the rest of your practice?
Well, it’s a first for me to exhibit alongside a group from an aged care facility. The photographic work I have made was in response to my ongoing relationship with these elderly people.
Often in my practice, I am interested in alternate views of things, and the portraits I have made view these individuals through a lens other than the defining location of a nursing home. I am inspired the groups incredible strength, resilience and generosity and I wanted others to see these qualities. The Art Group members are mostly elderly, all vulnerable and frail, and they all have restrictions that challenge their daily existence, let alone their mark making. During the Art Group sessions, we are a like minded group whose creative experience transcends these limitations, and I wanted to capture this feeling and describe how transformative this powerful feeling can be. I decided to make a large scale black and white hand coloured photographic portrait of each person, 7 in total.
3. Tell us about how you utilised your venue.
The venue is at the Helping Hand Aged Care facility, and I have hung the work through the entrance and foyer areas which are daily inhabited by visitors and residents alike. Utilising this non conventional exhibiting space has allowed the work to be appreciated by everyone, not just art lovers.
4. Have you been involved in SALA before?
Stilled Life explored the exquisite art of taxidermy and my attempt to breathe life back into these creatures. It included moving image, photography and sculpture. Quiet Conversations was held in the retail shop One Small Room in Croydon, and as an exhibiting space, it operated differently. The work focused on the notion of words left unspoken and thoughts not shared; abstracted moments of potential. The indecipherable chatter of life was pondered included paintings and ceramics.
It was fun but hectic having 2 solo shows running concurrently. They were very different exhibitions, and I think highlighted the multi disciplinary nature of my practice.
5. How do you think SALA is unique?
I love SALA for its uniqueness - it is a crazy month. I think its secret is its inclusiveness - the entire state is up and about, and its all about getting involved. Art can be experienced everywhere in August, from car boot to the Art Gallery of South Australia, and everywhere in between. Regional areas have opportunities to showcase art that would usually only be exhibited in city areas, affording country people the same opportunities as their city counter parts.
6. What are you most looking forward to in SALA?
That’s easy, Pecha Kucha! and this year didn't disappoint, with Jenna Pippett channelling her inner game show host as MC, while an amazing line up of incredible South Australian artists giving us insights into their practices, via the Petcha Kutcha platform.
7. Do you have a studio? If so, tell us about it?
I have a studio at Floating Goose Studios Inc. in the city. The Floating Goose Studios is an ARI in Morphett St, in the city and is home to 12 emerging artists, with a gallery fronting Morphett St. The Floating Goose Studios is a very supportive community, and a great space to work from. Go to our website for exhibiting and studio opportunities.
8. What tips would you share with other artists thinking about being involved in SALA for 2018?
Have a go mate, that's what SALA is all about. Start working towards SALA 2018 now. You get to be a part of an inclusive and wonderful festival celebrating all things visual art, and your exhibition will be listed in a beautifully produced program that is distributed statewide, offering a great opportunity to extend who sees your work.
9. Have you entered any of the SALA awards? Would you consider entering any of them in the future?
This year I entered someone elses work in one of the SALA Awards. An oil painting by Helping Hand Art Group resident Len Harvey was a perfect fit for The Adelaide Review Outsider Art Award. The Adelaide Review Outsider Art Award recognises art as created outside the boundaries of the established art scene. The painting was Lens’ first attempt at portraiture and I thought it was honest, strong and an incredibly brave thing to attempt at age 90. The judges did too, and Len was overwhelmed when he was announced the winner at the awards night. The experience has been hugely rewarding for us both, and many people have shared in Len’s joy in receiving such positive recognition at that stage of his life.
I would love to enter my work one year, it’s a great honour to be a finalist let alone win one of the awards.