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New Ben Quilty ceramics join SAM collection

The Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) is excited to announce a major new acquisition by one of Australia’s most acclaimed contemporary artists, Ben Quilty.

A portrait painter, and winner of the 2011 Archibald Prize, Quilty is recognised for his work with Australian soldiers and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), through his work as an official war artist in Afghanistan, and his campaign to save the lives of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran of the Bali Nine.

Working here in a different medium, the four newly acquired porcelain jugs continue Quilty’s exploration of psychological states. The series of highly glazed slipcase ceramics are based on Victorian Toby jugs, or the more modern Character Jugs, depicting the head and shoulders of a figure. Quilty creates a series of psychologically charged portraits in these Victorian domestic vessels.

The first in the series of these ceramic portraits Conscript (Private Phil Butler) was purchased in 2016 with the assistance of the Friends of SAM.

SAM Director, Rebecca Coates said “Quilty has long been a champion of the role of regional galleries and art museums and their significance for communities near and far. As such, the artist has this year generously donated the remaining four jugs in the series to SAM through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program.”

Now reunited, Jug (Lloydy), Jug (Nose), Jug (Leonardo), and Scream after Leonardo have joined Conscript (Private Phil Butler) on display at SAM until 5 May. Come in to SAM and check out these amazing porcelain portraits.

Indigenous artwork new acquisition for SAM

The recent acquisition of Cook’s Landing, 2018 to the SAM Collection by Wathaurung/Wadawurrung artist Marlene Gilson, will further bolster works by Indigenous artists of the South East Australia.

This historic event leaves no part of this country untouched and has shaped all our lives today in some shape or form. This work is a powerful conversation piece and invites audience engagement thought and Indigenous lens.

Marlene Gilson lives on her home Country Wathaurung/Wadawurrung in the small rural town of Gordon, located 25km east of Ballarat. As a child Gilson’s grandmother ensured she would know about her Ancestors, their history and culture through storytelling, and at times by drawing in the sand.

It was Gilson’s family that encouraged her to take up painting 10 years ago as a way to occupy her mind as she overcame a serious illness. Through art she was able to continue her inherited storytelling abilities by painting wooden blocks carved by her husband Barry in various shapes, depicting whole scenes of little villages for her grandchildren.

Cook’s Landing, 2018 is a re-imagined scene of Captain James Cook and the First Fleet arriving at Botany Bay in 1788. Continuing her exploration of significant events of national importance, Gilson’s work challenges mainstream historical narratives, in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices and experiences have often been absent or played a peripheral role.

The work depicts Aboriginal people in both a traditional setting, as well as dressed as Captain Cook and those of the First Fleet arriving and setting up camp. This approach is similar to that of Australian documentary film maker Don Featherstone, whose 1986 film BabaKiueria featured the late Bob Maza alongside several other notable First Peoples as central characters dressed in historic British military uniform, similar to that worn by the First Fleet. The use of satirical humour in this work is both a cultural expression and a gesture to invite appreciation of the power structures at play.

The artists use of humour allows audience to engage with the work in a light hearted way but cleverly about a significant event in history that continues to colour our lives today in diverse and for Aboriginal people traumatic ways.

SAM Director Rebecca Coates said the work was an important acquisition for the museum “Marlene’s paintings are whimsical, wonderful, and importantly, enable us to re-imagine Australia’s history from various points of view. “

“As well as being a marvellous work by an important Australian artist, the acquisition signals Shepparton Art Museum’s commitment to supporting Aboriginal artists from South-East Victoria, through the acquisition of work and programming. It enables us to engage with ideas central to our place, people and context, and a broader First Nations discussion,” she said.

Image: Marlene Gilson, Community / Language Group: Wathaurung / Wadawurrung, Cook’s Landing, 2018, acrylic on linen, Shepparton Art Museum Collection, purchased, 2018.

School holiday creative family activities at SAM

The Shepparton Art Museum is offering a week of school holiday activities to allow kids to explore their creativity from Monday 21 to Friday 25 January at SAM and in the Maude Street Mall.

The activities range from large scale outdoor drawing using colourful electrical tape to hand sewing a soft toy and participating in an oversized weaving project. SAM is partnering with Activities in the Park and the GV Libraries to run some of the workshops.

“Holidays at SAM are always an excitingly creative time,” said SAM Curator Lara Merrington. “Both children and adults take away something more than just an artwork – they build on their personal and professional creativity, their confidence, and learn new techniques and approaches to art while meeting new friends.”

“I would encourage anyone who would like to introduce their children to the museum to book into one of our workshops and find out what else is on offer at SAM,” she said. “We also have some wonderfully imaginative, colourful artworks on display in the Craftivism exhibition at the moment so take some time to relax and explore the galleries.”

“SAM has an after school Art Club which is very popular and also a SAM Little Hands series for younger children, which allows them to play and get messy while participating in fun art activities. If you are planning what you might want your children to be involved in this year then come and have a chat to one of our SAM staff who can provide all the information.”

 The School Holiday program includes:

Tape It

Collaborative Drawing

Monday 21 January, 10am-3.00pm at Maude Street Mall.

All ages. Free. Artist: Briony Barr

Using colourful electrical tape kids will collectively create a large-scale floor drawing and take over the mall. Based on rules provided by Briony Barr the board-game like collaborative artwork will morph with patterns and colours. Held in conjunction with Activities in the Park.

Sew a Softie

Hand sewing for kids

Tuesday 22 January, 10.30am-noon or 1pm-2.30pm at SAM

For 5 to 14 years. $5.

Goulburn Valley Libraries and SAM are bringing Sew a Softie to Shepparton! Using simple hand-sewing techniques and their imaginations, children will sew a soft toy which will be exhibited at SAM and the Shepparton Library. Join Rhyme & Storytime at 10.30am on Monday 21 January for stories about teddies and then make a softie at SAM on Tuesday.

Weave ’n Play

Experimental Weaving

Wed 23 Jan, 10am-11.30pm or noon-1.30pm or

2pm-3.30pm at SAM.

For families. $5. Tutor: Slow Art Collective.

Join artists from Slow Art Collective and help make a cubbyhouse inside SAM! Part architecture and part over-sized loom, this large-scale installation invites participants to play, imagine and learn how to weave.

Slow Down World

Reading and Workshop

Thu 24 Jan, 10.30am – 2.00pm at SAM

For families. $10. Tutor: Tai Snaith

Join artist and author Tai Snaith for a reading of her children’s picture book which was long-listed for the 2017 Australian Book Industry Awards. Slow Down World takes us on a journey towards living in the present moment. The reading will be followed by a practical workshop where kids will use clay and paper to collage pictures of their world.

Cut and Paste

Collage Workshop

Fri 25 Jan, 10.30am to 12.00pm, ages 6 – 10. $5.

1.00pm to 2.30pm, ages 11 – 16. $5.

Explore ideas of collage and identity reflected in SAM’s current exhibition Craftivism. In this workshop participants will create their own collage or mood-board, reflecting themselves or a feeling/idea important to them.

 The activities are suitable for a range of ages and are free or low cost. Bookings are essential as numbers are limited – visit https://sheppartonartmuseum.com.au/programs-and-events