On Friday evening, an art exhibition bringing local artists and farmers together will open to celebrate our connection to the land.
The brainchild of the Braidwood Regional Arts Group, the proposal received 120 responses from artists and farmers all over the district. The result is an exhibition of around 70 artworks. A coffee table book documenting the whole project and featuring some of the work in the show will be launched at the opening.
Farmers can be artists and artists farmers. Among many who found inspiration at home are Linda Denning, Bill Chalmers, Leeanne Crisp and Victoria Clutterbuck. Another is Ray Monde, who makes his brightly coloured, distinctive collages on his property at Bombay. “The [Braidwood] community is extraordinarily supportive,” says Ray. “The most unlikely people are passionate about the arts.”
Photographer and vet nurse Katie Lyons grew up on a Jembaicumbene property that’s been in her family for five generations. She now farms at Reidsdale with husband Joe. “I’ve always loved animals and farming,” she says. “I take photos to document how we live on the farm.” Katie’s rich, dense, black and white images attest to her love of that life.
Ceramicist Amanda Burton sees Art on Farms as “a great community development concept.” She partnered with Sarah and Wayne Merriman at Hazelwood Farm in Reidsdale and describes the revelation of seeing the landscape from their point of view.
“I knew Sarah and Wayne from the Farmers Market,” says Amanda, “but out at Hazelwood, I saw how they have shaped the land to create sustainable growth. I’ve called the work ‘Protect and Nurture’ because that is what I felt was being done there.” Sarah too found the experience eye-opening. “Amanda saw the windbreaks, the garden beds, as lines and shapes. I never thought of it like that before.”
Other artists teamed up with farmers they knew and wanted to work with. Well-known landscape artist John Wolseley created work at Martin Royds’ property, Jillamatong. Kylie Dominick worked with Matthew Hulce at his Farm Dojo.
Majors Creek-based artist Jenny Tozer worked with Phil Shoemark. “I’m always inspired by the patterns I see in nature, even in the design of farm gates, which are shown in this work”, she says.
The exhibition, which includes art from paintings to poetry, reflects Braidwood’s farming origins and how it has kept that identity. It’s also well known as a hub of artistic activity. Those two sectors have finally come together.
Art on Farms opens Friday 6pm, Braidwood Arts Centre, 45 Wallace St