Art in Place
In response to isolation and social distancing measures necessitated by COVID-19, Gungahlin Arts put out a call-out for artist with a strong connection to the Gungahlin region to spend some time reflecting and creating works for presentation within their local community in 2021 – once we can physically come together again.
Artists who live and work within a particular community have a unique understanding of place, and Art in Place will draw on this knowledge to create a series of works which allow the wider community to develop a deeper connection to the place they call home.
Five artists have been selected to participate in the program and share their unique take on Gungahlin and its surrounds. Gungahlin Arts is providing artist fees and project support to share these works with the community when it is possible and safe to do so.
About the Artists
James Batchelor is a choreographer and performer whose work is known for its visual clarity, architectural sensitivity to space and rhythmic playfulness.
He grew up in Palmerston and his childhood was characterized by exploring the area by bike and on foot, becoming familiar with every street-sign and the mountains they were named after, climbing hills and wandering into long grass-fields.
For Art in Place, James will develop a new contemporary dance work ‘Shortcuts to Familiar Places’ through which he will probe the social inscriptions and people that have shaped his movement style and the specific lineages that can be traced through them.
Sally Holliday’s art practice explores the therapeutic and transformative potential of the making process for herself.
Her project for Art in Place will reflect her time traversing the Mulanggari Grasslands in a sort of active meditation. This 140 hectare nature reserve in the centre of Gungahlin is often mistaken for grazing paddocks, or a parcel of land awaiting development, and given little consideration.
Sally’s work will use processes of weaving to give a felt sense of the tranquility and peacefulness of this diverse part of Canberra Nature Park and reinvoke a sense of exploration, discovery and wonder, whilst fostering a sense of appreciation for this little pocket of biodiversity.
Ritchie Allen, Ngunnawal artist and knowledge holder, will complete a series of paintings depicting the stories of the traditional owners and keepers of the land known as Khambuura.
“There is evidence that Ngunnawal people who are the true owners of Khambuura and Region have links with the Canberra land for at least 65,000 years. The Ngunnawal Descendants still live in the region today and still practice our Dreaming in the same way as our Ancestors did.
The Ngunnawal people have its own ancestral Dreamtime stories which have been handed down through generations and still thrive with the passing down of these stories. Even as of today. These stories describe how the Ngunnawal people are connected to certain plants, animals and the land.”
Antoinette Karsten primarily works in sculpture and painting, but photo-documentation is also an important part of her practice.
She has lived and worked in Bonner since 2011, and has found an extraordinary community in the region. Herself a migrant from South Africa, Antoinette now has a network of friends hailing from Australia, Sri Lanka, India, South Africa, the USA, Iran, Austria and China.
For Art in Place, Antoinette will draw on this local network to create a series of photographic portraits and stories which reflect and celebrate the diversity of the Gungahlin community.
Hayden Starr has an education in Digital Media and his initial practice of video art became a gateway to more physical, dynamic art forms that play with material relationships, and facilitate spatial and temporal experiences.
Hayden’s recent works are sculptural, and when considering a work for Art in Place his thoughts immediately turned to Kinleyside Nature Reserve, an offset area managed by his family under rural lease for over 50 years.
Hayden spent much of his childhood in this area, helping out on the farm and exploring the bush. Originally planned for development, the area protects endangered Box-Gum Grassy Woodland and is home to the critically endangered Golden Sun Moth.
With Kinleyside, there is a mutual protection relationship, where the moths helped preserve the land that fostered Hayden’s love for nature and the region’s landscapes, and in turn, the moth’s fragile habitat has been preserved.