Monday, September 23, 2013

REDISCOVERING A SOUTHERN ISLAND

It seems practically every artist I meet these days lives on Bruny Island or at least has a holiday house, and there is even a flourishing private gallery at Dennes Point providing encouragement and incentive for those wishing to exhibit.

Rediscover Bruny is a three-part event organised by Bruny Island Arts to raise awareness of the quality and diversity of art being produced on the Island and has almost a hundred participants – not bad, when you consider there are only seven hundred people living on the island, and there are many more artists there who are not included.

40 Artists from the Island opened on Saturday afternoon (21 September 2013) in the Long Gallery at the Salamanca Arts Centre in Hobart. The quality of work in this exhibition of paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture, textiles, assemblages and more by forty visual artists from Bruny Island is very high, with some particularly striking sculptures and mixed media works. I believe at least two artists have been approached to exhibit in a commercial gallery in Hobart.
 40 Artists from the Island opens at the Long Gallery

Bruny Island Arts was formed early in 2000 and the first exhibition was Artists from the Island, held at Adventure Bay. This was followed by a Kids' Art Zone which proved immensely popular. The first Rediscover Bruny event was an Art Trail on Bruny Island three years ago, and another is proposed for 2015.

Of course, not all members of Bruny Island Arts are visual artists. Besides exhibitions they stage performance pieces, cabaret, plays and musicals. A film society, formed after some old projectors were found at the tip, organises film nights with a local musician accompanying the occasional silent films. The aim is to be as inclusive as possible, welcoming artists from both North and South Bruny! It's nice to see good old Tasmanian tribalism is still alive and well.

In keeping with the policy of inclusion, the Sidespace Gallery holds a charming exhibition of Childhood Treasures, precious objects people have treasured for most of their lives: teddy bears, dolls, puppets, building blocks, favourite books, each with an explanation by its owner telling us just what makes this particular item so special.

The third part of the Bruny Island spectacular is As Time Goes By, a theatre piece created “by Bruny Island people about Bruny Island people for Bruny Island people”, which played in the Peacock Theatre on 20th and 21st September. Cast and crew are all Bruny Islanders; written by Barry Weston and directed by Megan Weston.

The Hobart event brings Bruny Island to the city; this city dweller, for one, will be heading down to the Island for the Art Trail in 2015. However, I might have to make a few trips down there well before that to visit the gallery, the cheese and chocolate factories on the way to the Pioneer Museum at Adventure Bay and the isolated Cape Bruny lighthouse. Not to mention taking some of my favourite bush walks. Perhaps I should move down there . . .

For more information:  www.brunyislandarts.org.au

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