REVERING THE RIVER: Contributing artists to the Headwaters exhibition, Julie McKenzie, Annie Roberts, Malcolm King,, Grafton Regional Gallery director Niomi Sands, Jade Dewi Tyas Tunggal with baby Phoenix and Fiona Nicholls (artist Margo Grant and Theresa Edwina Brook were absent). The artists were part of a public forum held at the gallery on Saturday afternoon.
REVERING THE RIVER: Contributing artists to the Headwaters exhibition, Julie McKenzie, Annie Roberts, Malcolm King,, Grafton Regional Gallery director Niomi Sands, Jade Dewi Tyas Tunggal with baby Phoenix and Fiona Nicholls (artist Margo Grant and Theresa Edwina Brook were absent). The artists were part of a public forum held at the gallery on Saturday afternoon. Lesley Apps

Sojourns at head of river inspired these artists

AN ARTISTIC journey inspired by the upper reaches of the Clarence River and three years in the making culminated in a diverse exhibition now on display at Grafton Regional Gallery.

During a public forum at the gallery on Saturday afternoon, gallery director Niomi Sands quizzed five of the artists about their personal experiences and the sense of place they felt during their time up there.

The Headwaters concept was proposed by Lower Clarence artist Fiona Nicholls after being inspired by a similar collaboration on show in a city gallery.

Several artists joined Ms Nicholls on the quest to absorb the environment of the area near Tabulam where they stayed for short periods during late summer and autumn.

On their stays they took in their surroundings while recording their experiences using various platforms, before heading back to their studios and workplaces to realise their visions and develop a body of work across a three-year period.

The mediums used to tell the story of the headwaters include paintings, drawings, ceramics, printmaking, sculpture, and performance art filmed on location.

Ms Sands said the exhibition was a great way to see all the different perspectives in one display.

"The artists totally immersed themselves into the environment and the results speak for themselves,” she said.

Maclean artists Malcolm King and Julie McKenzie took their "immersion” into the headwaters a step further by plunging in and snorkelling to experience another dimension.

"We weren't too keen on the eels but it was beautiful down there, the way the light filtered through the water illuminating the reeds. We saw a big old catfish eyeballing us, he was probably thinking what are you doing here.”

Headwaters is on display at Grafton Regional Gallery until May 19. Most works are for sale.



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