Young artists of Rutherglen Part 1: Meet Mara O’Keeffe and Riley Welsh


Arts Rutherglen are thrilled to introduce and showcase 6 local, young artists from Rutherglen High School in the lead up to the 2022 Rutherglen Tastes of Art Prize.  

The Rutherglen Tastes of Art Prize  Youth Award is open to all young artists (Under 18). In 2022, with thanks to the Indigo Shire Council, we are offering 3 Youth Awards of $250 each.

Find out more
Di Kotzur, teacher and Art and Technology Learning Area Leader at Rutherglen High School, reminds us why art plays a crucial role in contemporary education. She talks about the current group of senior students at Rutherglen High School, who despite challenging circumstances over the last year, have produced some fabulous folios and artwork.

 


Curiosity… creative and critical thinking- the oxygen that makes all other subjects breathe

“Art in schools shouldn’t be sidelined… it should be right up in the front because I think art teaches you to deal with the world around you. It is the oxygen that makes all the other subjects breathe.”                                                                                                                                  ~Alan Parker – Filmmaker

I think that our role, as educators, is to promote originality and critical thinking. Art plays a crucial role  because it is about being innovative in an increasingly automated world.

I have been lucky enough to be a teacher at Rutherglen High School for a number of years and I am constantly impressed by the maturity of our students and the depth of their understanding of the world around them. This year has been a little different for everyone. This group of senior students have been remarkable, both personally and as a group, under very challenging circumstances. They have spent a large portion of the past two years (nearly 50%) at home, trying to work remotely and complete their Year 11 and 12 studies. To their credit, they have not only done that but also produced folios and artworks that are deeply personal and highly skilled. I look forward to seeing what this talented group does in the future.

Creativity is an active process. It involves making new and creative connections and responding to a problem. To get the most out of it, you have to participate and be actively involved. It is not a passive process. To do this we have to get the students excited about what they are doing. Experimentation, curiosity and motivation are key. We encourage them to ask questions, be curious and open, imaginative, make guesses, engage with the process and be willing to make mistakes.

Di Kotzur

Art & Technology Learning Area Leader

Rutherglen High School

 


Two young artists of Rutherglen


Mara O’Keeffe

Hi. My name is Mara and I moved to Rutherglen at the start of the year from Melbourne. In Art, I worked with some rather unorthodox materials to express my thoughts on some very current issues.


“I SAID STOP”.

Stop. It’s a word. It’s a sign. It means no.Yet, why do so many not understand what ‘no’ means?
Why do so many sexual assault victims feel unheard? Why do they feel like their stop sign is ignored? If we work together, maybe those words can be heard. Sexual assault does not discriminate. That is why I have chosen to include the eyes of men, women and children. I deliberately selected models who have features from many nationalities. Their eyes and stories are burnt into the wood, forever marking the words that were not respected. The blank spaces represent those victims who are not alive today.

 

 

 

“UNSEEN PAIN – Addiction, Bipolar & Anxiety”

Self-care they said. We support your mental health they said. But what does that mean? How can one be empathetic and understanding about something that can’t actually be seen? It’s not there, it’s all going on inside your head. And the answer is simple; it’s hard. How could one possibly understand how it feels to have such drastic mood swings that your manic joy just clicks off with the flick of a switch? There’s no light, only the tumbling despair of inconsolable depression. What’s the difference between nerves and gut-wrenching anxiety and the wave of shaking panic attacks it can trigger? How is the deep dependence on an addiction like gaming or gambling confined within one simple description? 

If you haven’t already guessed, I’ve spent many nights awake thinking about these questions. At first I was going to create sculptures that visually represented various mental illnesses but would you like to know something? I couldn’t imagine them. I think it is nearly impossible to empathise with an illness you haven’t personally observed or haven’t experienced yourself. My intention with my somewhat hazardous sculptures was to depict a feeling: the raw skin-tearing symptoms many individuals deal with on a daily basis. My work may seem eerie and violent, but mental health is not all rose baths and candles. It’s the battle with the hollow creature who runs barbs of wire along your throat. 

It’s real, and it’s time

 

 

 

 

 


Riley Welsh

My name is Riley. I am a Year 11 studying Year 12 art. I have a keen interest in textiles and embroidery and I enjoy creating bags and embroidery patterns and scenes. I have always had an interest in feminism as my mother has always taught me about the inequalities that have plagued women for generations. 

My first art piece, ‘Time to do the Washing’ (image right) is a textiles piece sewn together using a sewing machine and fitted around a washing machine. I have tried to use a fleshy palette to imitate skin, and red thread to imitate blood for this piece. With this piece, I wanted to express my anger about female stereotypes such as doing the household chores (such as washing clothes, vacuuming, washing the dishes, etc.) This is a normal practice throughout my family and many others. I also wanted to dispel the stigma associated with periods. They are commonly washed out if a women “bleeds” through, with red thread. I would consider ‘Time to the Washing’ as having been made out of anger.

 

 My second art piece, ‘The Morrigan Bodice’ (image below) is another textiles piece that was hand sewn and made to fit myself.
The bodice was constructed with fabrics, feathers and scales. The bodice was heavily influenced by the Morrigan, who is a Celtic goddess and has the ability to turn into a raven/crow. She is the goddess of war, fertility and fate, as well as also being known as the triple goddess with her association to the moon and the phases of womanhood (maiden, mother, crone).

I wanted to represent the Morrigan through the scales for armour and war, feathers of the crow/raven and belladonna, a plant that is associated with her. ‘The Morrigan Bodice’ was intended to be a celebration of female power and female deities.

 

 

 


Look out for Young artists of Rutherglen Part 2: Meet Molly Wileman and Dharma Kotzur - December 12, 2021
 
Categories: Member news and events and Rutherglen Tastes of Art Prize.

Calling all young artists!

The Rutherglen Tastes of Art Prize encourages all young artists (Under 18) to enter work into the Youth Award.   Thanks to Indigo Shire Council, we have increased the the 2022 Rutherglen Tastes of Art Prize Youth Award from 2 prizes to 3.  In 2022, three young artists will be awarded a prize of $250 each.

For more information, terms and conditions please see Rutherglen Tastes of Art Prize web page

Enter now via TRY BOOKING 

Entries close Friday 11 February 2022.

 

A big thank you to Indigo Shire Council for supporting the Youth Award and the Rutherglen Tastes of Art Prize. 

 

 

 


Image right: The 2022 Rutherglen Tastes of Art Prize promotional materials feature image snippets of artworks from artworks by local artists who participated in the 2021 Prize. Used with permission.
Thank you… Serena Barry – ‘Ocean Utopia’ – acrylic  on canvas 
Categories: Rutherglen Tastes of Art Prize.

Call for artists!


Arts Rutherglen is proud to host  the 5th Rutherglen Tastes of Art Prize, 11-20 March 2022.

We invite artists to submit works of art for exhibition and sales.
We also invite artists up to 18 years of age to enter artwork  for our Youth Award.

The 2022 Rutherglen Tastes of Art Prize  features an increased prize pool totalling $12, 250 and a new category for larger work.

Entries open November 1st!

Find out more at  Rutherglen Tastes of Art Prize

Art Prize

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Download flyers to share with artists you know
2022  Rutherglen Tastes of Art Prize
Youth Award

 

 

 

 

Categories: Rutherglen Tastes of Art Prize.

Meet our members- Claire O’Connell

Local musician and Arts Rutherglen member, Claire O’Connell talks about her passion for singing,  her inspirations , new projects with Arts Rutherglen and an upcoming new album!

Singing is my biggest passion in life!

I’ve been singing my whole life, growing up in The King Valley, in Victoria and performing at music events in Primary and high school. I was top 50 in the country in Australian Idol when I was eighteen, which was an incredible experience! I also lived in Melbourne for six years, singing at open mics and busking, as well as collaborating with other musicians, before moving to the UK for eight months. I performed at many pub gigs in London and throughout Scotland and decided to start my own music business two years later, in North East Victoria.

I was also approached by a local music school, in 2015, to start teaching vocal lessons, and fell into a whole new side of the music business, which I love! I currently teach vocal lessons three days a week (all online now) and perform at gigs, when it’s possible, with Covid19 restrictions.

I’m very inspired by strong women who like to make positive change in the world. Some of my favourite singers include; Tracy Chapman, Dolly Parton, Aretha Franklin, Annie Lennox and Adele.

I’ve been performing at local wineries, weddings and council events for the past eight years and released my first original album earlier this year, in May, in Rutherglen where I now live. All of my original songs were about the 2019-2020 bushfires and Covid19 situation.

I’m currently working on my second original album which will be released on the 13th of November at Squires Winery. It’s a very personal album, called “That Woman Is Me”, about some of my life experiences. I feel very empowered by this album and can’t wait to share it with everyone!

I recently joined Arts Rutherglen, to work with the fabulous team of creative people, in the hopes of bringing more music events to the region. I believe that music brings communities together, creating a wonderful space for participation and engagement. Music is all around us; it’s such an important part of our self-expression and a very therapeutic way to express our emotions. I’m very excited to continue working on new projects with Arts Rutherglen, over the coming months!

I’ve been singing my whole life, growing up in The King Valley, in Victoria and performing at music events in Primary and high school. I was top 50 in the country in Australian Idol when I was eighteen, which was an incredible experience! I also lived in Melbourne for six years, singing at open mics and busking, as well as collaborating with other musicians, before moving to the UK for eight months. I performed at many pub gigs in London and throughout Scotland and decided to start my own music business two years later, in North East Victoria.

I was also approached by a local music school, in 2015, to start teaching vocal lessons, and fell into a whole new side of the music business, which I love! I currently teach vocal lessons three days a week (all online now) and perform at gigs, when it’s possible, with Covid19 restrictions.

I’m very inspired by strong women who like to make positive change in the world. Some of my favourite singers include; Tracy Chapman, Dolly Parton, Aretha Franklin, Annie Lennox and Adele.

I’ve been performing at local wineries, weddings and council events for the past eight years and released my first original album earlier this year, in May, in Rutherglen where I now live. All of my original songs were about the 2019-2020 bushfires and Covid19 situation. ( Listen here)

I’m currently working on my second original album which will be released on the 13th of November at Squires Winery. It’s a very personal album, called “That Woman Is Me”, about some of my life experiences. I feel very empowered by this album and can’t wait to share it with everyone!

I recently joined Arts Rutherglen, to work with the fabulous team of creative people, in the hopes of bringing more music events to the region. I believe that music brings communities together, creating a wonderful space for participation and engagement. Music is all around us; it’s such an important part of our self-expression and a very therapeutic way to express our emotions. I’m very excited to continue working on new projects with Arts Rutherglen, over the coming months.

Here are some links to my website and social media pages:
Facebook page
Instagram account
Website


Want to join Arts Rutherglen?  Go to our membership page

Categories: Member news and events.

Indigo FM celebrates Victorian seniors festival -an interview with Leonie Featonby

Arts Rutherglen Membership Coordinator and committee member, Leonie Featonby talks to  about her life journey on Indigo FM – Tuesday 31 August from around 4pm. Tune in via the media player on the Indigo FM website at this link:

Missed this?… 

You can check out and listen to Leonie’s story and profile on Seniors Online Victoria, Recognising senior Victorians.

 

Photograph Tara Trewhella Border mail
Categories: Uncategorized.

Toni Harris monochromatic perspective

Look who is featuring in North East Regional Extra … Well done to Arts Rutherglen member an local artist Toni Harris! Toni’s exhibition A Monochromatic Perspective features in the Ballarat Foto Biennale 2021 as part of the open program. The Biennale was set to launch on 28th August but has been postponed to a date to be announced (post current COVID lockdown). In the meantime a big congratulations to Toni and you can find out more about this exhibition and the work on Toni’s website 
 
Categories: Uncategorized.

Meet our committee – Helen Chambers

I have always been interested in the arts in any form. In particular I like theatre and films. When I heard about a potential arts committee for Rutherglen that would encourage and support different forms of art in the community, I was immediately interested and quite excited about the potential for this group.

I clearly remember our first meeting – Thursday 10th March 2005. We met at 6pm and the facilitator was Chris Pidd, who was the Arts Development Officer at Murray Arts.  A small gathering of about five people attended. 

Back then, Chris Dormer,  who was the Arts Officer for Indigo Shire, mentored us.  We kicked off our events with “Trivia in the Pub”.  From that event we established  a good following and raised our profile.We followed this event with Literary lunches, August Voices and an International Women’s Day brunch. Of course these events were just the beginning.  

Here we are in 2021, with quite a list of events and projects behind us. Even though COVID pandemic restrictions and the like have challenged us over the last 18 months,  we are still putting our best foot forward: continuing with monthly Fine Film nights at Rutherglen High School and the great success of our annual Rutherglen Tastes of Art prize  (in March). We have also kept progressing our Portals into Rutherglen project with a couple of  amazing additions. 

I am proud to be part of this marvellous, hard working group. There is always someone to jump in with an idea or a venue for one of our events. So many people have joined us since we began, bringing diversity, passion and commitment to supporting the arts in Rutherglen. I’m enthusiastic about the future for Arts Rutherglen.

Oh and I must mention our social gatherings! … Over the years we’ve had some mentionable ( and unmentionable) Christmas gatherings, sometimes just a few for a drink at Georgie and Rick’s (James and Co)… always much fun to get together with people who enjoy the arts.

Photograph  Happy memories: Helen Chambers( right) with Wendy Harmer and Helen Mackinlay (current President of the Arts Rutherglen committee).   In 2008   Wendy Harmer was guest speaker at an Arts Rutherglen event. She stayed with Helen and Peter Chambers “at the farm and had dinner  together before the event. ”  Helen recalls  “Wendy is such a lovely person – Arts Rutherglen events bring happy and special memories”
Categories: Meet the committee and Uncategorized.

Meet our committee – Scott Landells

Scott tells us why he loves being a member and the current Vice President of Arts Rutherglen and what he’s looking forward to in 2021 and beyond.


I’ve lived around the Rutherglen area for over a decade and in town since 2014. I have been an admirer of Arts Rutherglen for a while, and a member since 2019.  There have been many Arts Rutherglen highlights, including in 2010 when Australian author Shane Maloney came to town (his books Stiff and The Brush Off were made into Tele-movies starring David Wenham). Other highlights include several Comedy Festival Roadshows, the ever expanding Sculpture Trail, and the Rutherglen Tastes of Art Prize each year .

When the call went out in April this year seeking new committee members I jumped at the opportunity to contribute. A bit of a personal motivation was a desire to channel the spirit of a friend. In late 2019 a former high school colleague and champion of the arts, Colin Simpson died suddenly. For 14 years Colin was principal of the  Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School and I’m inspired by Colin’s legacy and unwavering love of all things creative.

In my spare time I am involved in Community Radio. I’ve had the opportunity to lead Indigo FM since 2014. It’s always challenging for a 100% volunteer run organisation to run a few radio stations, as well as various online streams and social platforms but, importantly… it’s fun!

I’m aiming to bring some of the knowledge and contacts I have around live music events and performers to Arts Rutherglen and see if we can add more live music events to an already impressive creative calendar.

Categories: Uncategorized.

Meet our members – Toni Harris

Toni Harris, local artist, winner of the 2021 Rutherglen Tastes of Art Photography (creative) prize, and Arts Rutherglen committee member talks about her art practice, current work and upcoming exhibition in the Ballarat Foto Biennale.


Why do you make art?

We all have a talent /passion that we think or hope that we are good at. Some people are good at sport, some writing, some music etc. For me art is my way of expressing myself against what it is I think I am good at.

What informs /influences/inspires your artwork and how is this expressed in your art?  

My main expression in art is photography. For me it’s all about the magic captured by being in the right place at the right time – looking out for those wonderful little moments with the means to capture them, and the happiness found when you do.

What are you currently working on? 

 I have a commission and an exhibition that I am working on now. The commission is for a very proud grandmother who wants images of her grandchildren but done in a very modern style. This includes lots of colour, splashes, scratches, and layers worked in Photoshop to give the portraits a very, edgy feel. The brief came from the lady and she included images that she had found online that she really liked. My challenge was to match the style and intent of the images she liked and work this in with the portraits of the grandchildren.

What themes/topics/events/ideas are inspiring to you/your work at the moment?

I love black and white as it brings the image right back to its essentials, form, texture, content, and composition I also use a high-quality rag paper for printing my material as I think the texture gives the images an added dimension. It is with this printing style that I am currently working on for my exhibition in Ballarat. Its subject matter is quirky moments that I have managed to capture while travelling overseas which is my biggest inspiration and muse. I really love candid street photography and a lot of my current work is reflected in this.

What projects/events/opportunities do you have coming up?

My exhibition called “A Monochromatic Perspective”  will be exhibited at the Ballarat Foto Biennale in August 2021. The venue is one of the Fringe exhibitions set up in a restaurant called “Red Peppa” .
Address:  34 Sturt Street Ballarat.  
Dates: The exhibition opens on the 28th of August and closes the 24th of October 2021.

Photographs copyright Toni Harris. Click on the images below to enlarge.

Street in Istanbul, Turkey, Photograph by Toni Harris

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One of my favourite street images captured in Istanbul, Turkey

Categories: Member news and events.