31 August 2023

Wagga Wagga Art Gallery's spring exhibitions have been two years in the making

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Wiradjuri fashionista and Wagga fashion icon Aunty Cheryl Penrith believes Wagga can be on par with London, Paris and New York in fashion

Wiradjuri fashionista and Wagga fashion icon Aunty Cheryl Penrith believes Wagga can be on par with London, Paris and New York in fashion. Photo: Jack of Hearts Photography.

Wagga Wagga Art Gallery is set to launch five new exhibitions for spring.

The program, featuring Dissonant Terrain, On Message, Capturing Nature, Turtle Island, and Hand Me Down, Style Me Up, will officially launch at the gallery on Saturday (2 September).

The launch includes four new exhibitions focusing on environmental challenges and one eco-art floating island on the Wollundry Lagoon.

These exhibitions are integral to the gallery’s broader ‘Green 2023’ initiative, a year focused on environmental exhibitions and programs to inspire visitors to contemplate their ecological footprint.

Gallery director Dr Lee-Anne Hall expressed excitement about the spring program and said it featured an exciting series of exhibitions and would interest the general public.

Dr Hall said the gallery had dedicated more than two and a half years of effort to curating the spring exhibition.

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Capturing Nature is a series of photographs from the 19th century, bringing together the wonderous nature of the natural world captured by the new technology of photography,” Dr Hall said.

“We see incredible creatures of the ocean’s great depths to jungles and Australian creatures.”

Dr Hall said Turtle Island on Wollundry Lagoon would host birds and turtles during the summer, allowing locals to observe it from the banks.

“The gallery doesn’t usually do public art, and it’s outside the gallery walls,” Dr Hall said. “It’s not only public art but also ephemeral art.

“It’s not meant to last forever, but it’s for those people who might be causally walking past the gallery or who would never come into the gallery or those who love birds and the natural environment.

“This is a little gift from the gallery to the public outside our walls.”

Dr Hall said Hand Me Down, Style Me Up, led by Wagga fashionista Aunty Cheryl Penrith, was a community project and came in two parts.

Hand Me Down is about our relationship with clothes and how once upon a time, we used to mend, make and pass down clothes, and we had a very intimate relationship with them,” Dr Hall said.

Style Me Up is about our love of preloved clothing and anti-fast fashion.”

Aunty Cheryl, who was excited about the exhibition’s launch, said Hand Me Down, Style Me Up was a culmination of six community workshops held in the past two years.

“We’ve invited people to bring in clothes to have a swap, move out of their comfort zone and challenge them to find their own unique style,” Aunty Cheryl said.

“It’s been a wonderful journey, and the unique combinations we have found are special.

“Amongst the black and white in here (the gallery), we’ll have an explosion of colours.”

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Melbourne-based artist Yandell Walton’s Dissonant Terrain showcases an array of digital mediums, including computer-generated images, video, sound, lighting, and sculpture.

On Message – Environmental Prints and Posters 1978-2023 traces 45 years of Australian artists dedicated to print and poster making and environmental activism.

This exhibition includes works from the National Gallery of Australia, Wagga Art Gallery collection, Blacktown Arts and recent artist works.

Aunty Cheryl will lead a panel on ‘Slow Fashion Journey’ on Saturday (2 September), at 2:30 pm and has encouraged everyone to gather to discuss the environment and fashion sustainability.

Following the panel, the official launch of the exhibition will take place from 4 to 6 pm at the Wagga Wagga Art Gallery.

Visitors are encouraged to RSVP as spaces are limited for the free event.

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