Gallery partnership secures award-winning indigenous artist to celebrate M150
Artspace Mackay will celebrate Mackay’s sesquicentenary (M150) with an exciting project inspired by the work of famous award-winning Indigenous Australian artist, Danie Mellor.
The Danie Mellor Artist in Residence (AiR) Project is being made possible because of a new funding partnership between Mackay Regional Council, Artspace Mackay Foundation and BHP Billiton Mitsui Coal (BMC).
Festival, Events and The Arts portfolio councillor Chris Bonanno explained the exciting project for the community had two important parts, the first is a valuable commission of contemporary artworks by Danie Mellor for the Mackay Regional Council Collection, and the second an educational engagement program.
The AiR Project will bring Danie Mellor, back home to research and explore the flora, fauna and community history of the area and go on to develop a series of artworks which will pay tribute to M150 anniversary and be a valuable contribution to the city's art collection.
“Born in Mackay, Danie Mellor is an indigenous artist who still has family ties to the Mackay region,” Cr Bonanno said.
“As winner of the 2009 National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award, his work is very highly regarded, making him a valuable mentor to the five local artist-tutors who will go on to work with local children in the second phase of the project,” he said.
The second phase will bus 250 primary school children and teachers from outlying rural state schools including Calen, Koumala, Seaforth, Eton and Finch Hatton to work with local artists and make art in the open air at the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens.
BMC Asset President Michael Rosengren said this partnership is focused on getting children outdoors and engaging with their natural environment and history in a unique and engaging way.
“We also wanted to capture the Indigenous History of Mackay,” Mr Rosengren said.
“M150 is an exciting milestone in Mackay’s history and BMC is pleased to be involved in a partnership that looks even further back and preserves the past for future generations.”
Cr Bonanno also said the partnership addressed a community issue.
“Council has long recognised the difficulties for outlying schools in affording the cost of bringing students into Mackay and this funding partnership with BMC makes it possible for these kids to better engage with the gallery, its artists, an exciting art collection, and the Botanic Gardens which belong to the entire Mackay region,” he said.
Like artist Danie Mellor, the children will explore and observe the flora and fauna of the Botanic Gardens, particularly those native to our region and create drawings and watercolours from what they see.
Mellor is renowned throughout the country for his richly detailed ‘colonial style’ imagery including botanical drawings of flora; fauna representative of a particular place or event; and people of contrasting cultures within the landscape.
M150 celebrations taking part throughout the region in 2012 recognise an important aspect of our region’s heritage, an opportunity to reflect on our community history, both indigenous and settled, and to understand the stories and events which have made us in to the community we are today.
For more information regarding the Danie Mellor AiR Project partnership please contact Artspace Mackay on 4961 9722.
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