Benalla Art Gallery is situated in the heart of north-east Victoria - an area known for its sheep and cattle production, cropping and many other rural enterprises. The locals of this region know how to ‘work the land’. It is their bread and butter, their passion and livelihood. Skills are passed down from generation to generation that enable cultivation of the land and breeding of animals and plants to feed, sustain and enhance the lives of others.
Farming and agriculture is celebrated in this region and within the Benalla Art Gallery permanent collection. Our major benefactor, Laurence (Laurie) Ledger was a local stock and station agent in the Benalla area. He had a strong affiliation with the land and this was reflected in his collecting practices. Many of the works donated by Laurie and his wife Erma focus on primary production throughout Australia.
The works on display in this exhibition are from a variety of time periods but all share a common thread - they celebrate the Australian farming community and the wonderful contribution the passionate and hard-working people of this industry have made to the Australian way of life.
Image: Anne Marie Graham, Vegetable Garden, Glasshouse Mountains, 1984, oil on canvas. Gift of Mr L. H. Ledger, 1987
VCE SHOWCASE is an exhibition of painting, photography, sculpture, mixed media, ceramics, film, animation, textiles, drawing, installation and printmaking produced by VCE Studio Arts students from North East Victoria.
With a dynamic approach to presentation, which includes the exhibition of student preparatory support material such as folios and notebooks, VCE SHOWCASE provides students the opportunity for artistic recognition in a public art space.
Education programs for schools include introductory lectures, folio viewings, floor talks with Benalla Art Gallery’s Education and Public Programs Curators.
Image: Olivia Milner, 2018, Benalla P-12 College.
Eliza-Jane Gilchrist is a visual and performance artist based in regional Victoria. Her sculptural practice involves reinventing discarded materials.
Strange Garden is an installation made from cardboard, representing an abstract garden. It is a participatory exhibition that requires direct involvement and engagement from visitors and families. Participants will draw with black markers on flat, cardboard shapes that are specifically designed to fit together to form 3D organic shapes. These are added to the large cardboard ‘garden’ that is embellished and enlivened with every addition.
Strange Garden grows into a beautiful community built installation that participants enjoy walking through, looking at, playing in and contributing to.
Relay League by Angelica Mesiti presents a newly commissioned three-channel video installation and accompanying sound sculpture. The work takes as its departure point a Morse code message transmitted by the French navy on 31 January 1997 to signal the imminent demise of this communication method: ‘Calling all. This is our last cry before our eternal silence’. Morse code, which entailed a system of dot and dash radio signals and was often utilized as a language of distress at sea, was phased out after 130 years in favour of new digital communications. Inspired by this final poetic phrase, here Mesiti interprets its original dots and dashes through music, choreography, non-verbal communication and sculpture.
Angelica Mesiti was born in Sydney in 1976 and is currently based in Paris. She holds a Master of Fine Arts from the College of Fine Arts (now UNSW Art & Design) at the University of New South Wales. Mesiti works primarily with video and installation, incorporating performance, dance and music to explore ideas of community, cultural tradition and spirituality. She is interested in performed cultural traditions in a state of transformation or at risk of extinction due to complex social, economic or cultural shifts.
Image: Angelica Mesiti, Relay League (video still), 2017.
Courtesy the artist, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne and Galerie Allen, Paris.