Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Clay creativity display in Shepparton

Newly acquired ceramic skills will be on display for the first time in an exhibition of work by local Aboriginal artists at Shepparton’s Gallery Kaiela this evening.

JOHN LEWIS May 23, 2014 5:45am

Pride and joy: Yorta Yorta artist Jack Anselmi with one of several pieces he has crafted for the exhibition.

The Through The Flame exhibition features ceramic pieces created by Indigenous artists who have built their skills working alongside established ceramicists at the High St gallery’s new studio opened this year.

The skills-building workshops were conducted through a partnership with Shepparton Art Museum.

Tonight’s exhibition launch starts a weekend of ceramic art activities, including the official opening of the $33000 Indigenous Ceramic Art Award at the art museum tomorrow.

The winner of the top $20000 prize will be announced at tomorrow’s opening at 4pm.

Gallery Kaiela manager and professional ceramicist Angie Russi said this year’s clay workshops had provided a great platform for local Indigenous artists.

‘‘The whole idea has been to skill people up, so they can be well-equipped to enter their work into the ICAA in the future,’’ Ms Russi said.

Yorta Yorta artist Jack Anselmi has produced several pieces, including a large Raku earthen vase and delicate porcelain baskets made from finely woven strands of white clay.

‘‘You have to be quick with these — the porcelain dries really quickly,’’ he said.

Eric Brown, a painter from the Kamiloroi-Goomaroi people of northern NSW, has worked in clay for the first time, producing sturdy bowls glazed with the colours of his home country.

‘‘This has opened up a whole new way of working for me,’’ Mr Brown said.

Shepparton’s Cynthia Hardie has produced finely textured bowls and dishes in Buff Raku, including an impressive large figure titled Nanyubak Burrai , or sleeping baby.

She said she had not worked with clay since making mud figures from river clay as a child.

‘‘I like the feel of the clay. We used to make things along the river, but it’s a bit different now,’’ she said.


Through the Flame opens tonight at Gallery Kaiela, 137-139 High St Shepparton from 6pm. The gallery will also host a ‘‘meet the artists’’ open day on Sunday from 1pm to 3pm. For more on this weekend’s Indigenous Ceramic Art Award activities, see today’s Shepparton Art Museum column on page 27 and tomorrow’s Weekend Life.

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