“To celebrate the works that neighbours have done.”
The evolution of Art is a process that requires, curiosity, appreciation, skill and patronage. Not every person that attempts art will be apt in its curly concepts, many will find that the creative pursuit is an end, in itself. The banal and the grand begin at the same place, which is the opportunity to access it. Many regional art centres throughout Victoria are seeking a cultural voice, the most well known are Castlemaine, the Yarra Valley, Ballarat, Daylesford and Bendigo.
Local artists in Nathalia (Nth Victoria) were working in isolation before the local art centre forged an artistic hub. William Kelly a local artist had suffered violent neighbourhoods in his past and sought to unite the township together through art. It’s a functional non-for profit Art Centre and it has become the focal point of creative energy in the region. They have tried to engage every person in the community and encouraged them to participate in the workshops.
‘I hope you realise what you have achieved
Because it’s fairly plain to me,
Your introducing culture! God forbid, have you no shame!
What was wrong with up the pub, getting full as a boot?
The beer, the blood, the spit on the walls….
…………….the gardens are full of sculpture!’ (Poet, Tammy Muir)
The G.R.A.I.N store gallery and workshop, opens its doors to all in the community who are willing to explore their creativity. They do not discriminate and in this melting pot of Art and Craft, originality can rise to the surface. They invite school children and the elderly to be involved. The early involvement of local children in cultural projects ensures future growth of the Arts in the region. Locals are offered a space to explore their ability in a non-threatening, appreciative environment.
The culture has changed from being sceptical of art and its artists, to becoming active in its progress. The Regional Arts Council claims it has become a model project. Patron of the Arts, Bernie Ryan (4th generation dairy farmer) supports local artists and provides a gallery space. He commissions work from his local art pool and has enhanced the creative strength of the area. He believes that most patrons in Australia over fund sport and neglect the Arts.
Original Artists that have been nourished by the community include Linden Lancaster and Bella Angyal. They have forged a path that leads back to future artists in the area.
Linden Lancaster was applying Nathalia landscape into her quilts, creating visual pieces that few saw until she showed her work in the local G.R.A.I.N.store windows. She is now an international success. She applies 3 layers to produce multi-dimensional and textural work, through material collage. Her landscapes are reminiscent of Hockney’s later work but her palette is fabric and her brush is a needle
Bella Angyal, a self-taught artist, depicted stark realism through sculpture. His statues are erected in the town centre. His war sculpture ‘Mateship’ depicts the trauma of violence; his ‘heroes’ are local lads struggling through travesty. It’s the excessive detail that gives the work its haunting reality.
All forms of Art, Craft, Music and Poetry, are supported by the Centre. They invite international talent into the town to give talks and workshops that provide a means of access through exposure. The art seed has germinated in Nathalia, it has all the support networks necessary to allow it to develop.
“You do what you think will make the world a better place” Artist Veronica Kelly claims.
Top image: from AQC 2015 Quilt Show/The Letter by Linden Lancaster
article by A Forward