Meet the Spring guest designer

Meet Tiffany Morris-North, local artist and foodie. She’s been our cafe tart for many years and was the first artist featured on our cover. I’ve known Tiffany for many years as our kids went to school together, I’m lucky enough to work with Tiffany and she’s always got great stories and fantastic recipes to try. She shares some of her stories here.

Tell us a little bit about your creative journey?

I don’t feel like I’ve been on a journey. Its just a part of me. I think my creativity is what keeps me grounded, it’s like a meditation and helps me to relax. I love learning new things, experimenting and attending workshops. 

Why did you want to become an artist/designer?

It hasn’t been a decision I’ve ever made. I’ve just always drawn pictures, painted, crocheted. Maybe I dandy have a choice.

Did you study art/design?

After Secondary School I studied an Art and Design Certificate at TAFE before working for a graphic designer, which I hated!!I then travelled overseas and studied prop-making and visual merchandising in London.

How did you become involved with the hillscene?

I have always had a small interest in the hillscene from the beginning. I’ve contributed photos, written cafe reviews and also had a painting featured on the cover of the premier issue. So I’ve been part of it right from the start.

In what ways, if any, do you engage with the hills community?

In the past I have been a part of Open Studios, helped start a local business (Leaf studios in Kallista), been part of local art exhibitions and initiatives and sold my wares at local markets. Because of this I’ve met many locals and artists and we continue to talk and share local interests and events.

What do you wish you knew about being an artist/designer before you got started?

I wish I knew more about the business side of things and marketing myself. Although these things really don’t interest me, I just wish I knew stuff.

Who are your creative heroes?

My heroes are the friends and artists I’ve met along the way who can fit their creativity into their work and family life as well as all the other surprises along the way.

What do you enjoy about living in the Dandenong Ranges?

I love the trees, the colours, the space and hearing the birds when I get home from work.

Where can people find more information about you?

I’m on facebook, instagram and have a website.
Facebook: Tiffany Morris-North Artist
Instagram: tiffanymorrisnorth_artist
www.tiffanymorrisnorth.com

What are your plans for the future (immediate or long term)?

Nothing definite. I’m always planning the next painting even if it never eventuates. I’m always on the lookout for a class or workshop to learn and have fun.

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The secret treasure of Kalorama

For many of us, when we think of the Dandenong Ranges, we think of mountain tops with picturesque views, luscious temperate rainforests, charming gardens and a great community of inspiring artists. What would you say if I told you that for two weeks in October, you only need go to one spot to experience all of these things?

‘Art of the Mountain’ is an art exhibition held at Karwarra Australian Native Botanic Garden and Plant Nursery in Kalorama. The exhibition will celebrate the beauty and diversity of the Dandenong Ranges by exhibiting artwork by local artists inspired by Australian native flora and fauna and the stunning natural landscapes of the region. The exhibition will be held between Saturday 5th and Sunday 20th October, in the height of spring, when you can see the native botanic garden flowering in the lovely weather.

Eastern Spinebill by IT-HAO.

Over 70 artists are contributing works to the exhibition including renowned botanical artist Marta Salamon, who is inspired by the awesome structures within nature, both in creatures and plants, and award winning ceramicist Eva Glac, with her heart-warming ceramic sculptures of the intricate details in Australian native flora. You can also see beautiful watercolour renderings of native birds such as the Kookaburra and the Eastern Spinebill by local artist IT-HAO, a regular teacher at Sherbrooke Art Society in Belgrave. There will also be pieces by unexpected artists such as knife-maker Matthieu Dechamps, jewellery crafter Helene Campbell (of Tall Trees Studios) and poet / illustrator Cameron Semmens. 

The exhibition will burst beyond the walls of the gallery, featuring abstract and figurative sculptures placed in the gardens created by skilled artist duo, Juet, who work with recycled steel, wood and stone.

Juet with one of their sculptures.

Lee Goller will be facilitating a free pottery demonstration / workshop for those that want to get their hands dirty on Saturday 19th October. 

While there have been successful Botanical and Wildlife exhibitions at Karwarra in the past, the ‘Art of the Mountain’ exhibition will showcase a more flexible interpretation of Australian flora and fauna. This ‘passion project’ of The Friends of Karwarra is lead by Committee member Helen Beck. When Helen moved to the Dandenong’s, she was immediately attracted to the beautiful Karwarra Gardens, and with her long history of working in art and tourism, she saw the potential for something amazing to happen. “We started with teapot cosies.” Helen says. “We asked local artists to make teapot cosies that responded to our lovely flora and fauna, it was a great laugh, with some of the artists really playing and having fun with the theme and their quirky sense of humour, but we saw that this was just the beginning.” That exhibition premiered last year as a much smaller exhibition. “This year, we went big.” 

Lyrebird in Dandenong Ranges’ by Marta Salomon

Helen and the Friends of Karwarra see ‘Art of the Mountain’ as an opportunity to promote the gardens and the gallery. The exhibition is a chance to further Karwarra’s exposure to the community. As part of the preparation for the exhibition, Helen contacted many well-known local artists to promote the opportunity. She went on to explain that “so many of the artists that I contacted to come see the garden, for inspiration, had never been here before and are returning with friends and family.”  Helen hopes to see an increase in membership to Friends of Karwarra as more people in the community find out about this little treasure. 

Annual membership is only $10 for an individual, and includes invites to special events such as the opening of exhibitions and ‘Breakfast with the Birds’. Members can learn to look after a native garden, help with weeding, raking and propagation. If you are not so interested in the practical side of the garden you may have skills and interests that you can bring to The Friends.  The garden has a small retail native plant nursery open to the public during normal Karwarra opening hours.  

Artists looking to exhibit in the Karwarra Gallery at other times of the year are welcome to contact Karwarra for more information. The fees are very affordable.  All exhibitions must be in response to native flora and fauna to be presented in the gallery.

Karwarra will also be the venue for this year’s hillsceneLIVE Festival Shifting Thresholds to be held on 9 + 10 November. The festival sees 16 live art makers create experimental art and performative expression that delves into our shared human experience as they unearth the lineages of our collective past and move towards our shared future.  

‘Art of the Mountain’ Exhibition
Saturday 5th – Sunday 20th October
10:00 – 4:00pm Tuesday to Sunday
Karwarra Australian Native Botanic Garden
and Nursery –
Kalorama Memorial Reserve
1190-1192 Mount Dandenong Tourist Rd, Kalorama
Ph:
03 972 84256
facebook.com/FriendsofKarwarraGarden/
Instagram friendsofkarwarra
Friendskarwarra@gmail.com

To find out more about the hillsceneLIVE Festival – Shifting Thresholds go to www.hillscenelive.com

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Scratching an itch

Enjoy live art alongside wine at ‘Scratch it up’, a sneak peek into this years ‘hillsceneLIVE’ art festival 

Hosted at the creative space of Two Floors studio in Belgrave 25/08, ‘Scratch it up’ will give you a glimpse into this years ‘hillsceneLIVE’. From dance to circus, storytelling to interactive performance, this event will introduce many of the artists who will be performing at the festival later this year.  

The 2019 hillsceneLIVE (HSL) theme is that of “Turbulent lineages to shifting thresholds” and the artists present at ‘Scratch it up’ will showcase a variety of pieces inspired by the phrase. Gulsen Ozer describes her work as one of highs, lows and love and through her storytelling, will focus on the personal story of family and life experiences. Katie Lohner will join alongside with her story of an intimate human act, one of tradition, isolation and addiction. Eating! 

Dani-Ela Kayler’s piece is described as visceral, playful and intimate and explores our changing realities through contemporary dance. Fellow dancer Kathleen Renehan also aims to test the theme through her piece which will challenge the vertical limits that currently defines dance. 

Physical theatre will be present through The Contingent, nuanced and bittersweet notes through dance, clown and creative writing improvisation. Interactive Art is showcased by Champagne Glitch, exploring the uncertain future and the Pandora boxes we may be opening today, questioning what we will do next when confronted with conflict and realisation. 

Journeying with Cheryl Ho and Sze Min, attendees will experience the timeline of GIRL and her ancestors. Using audio to transcend time, place and history, they will delve into where we are from, where we have been and where we may have to go. Brigid Morgan presents a durational solo performance with themes of ‘kintsugi’, the celebration of flaws. Their work is realised through voiceover, reflections of motherhood and the fractured relationships healed by becoming a mother. 

In line with the hillscene program, artists come with their abstract and potentially confronting ideas in which they are given the opportunity to develop and explore themes not possible through other means. These ideas will be realised and performed at the eighth HSL festival. 

The art showcased at ‘Scratch it up’ are not completed pieces, yet will provide a taste for what is to come at this years HSL festival. This free Sunday session is for those who like some adventure with their wine and will start from 5:00 pm at the Two Floors Studio. Feel free to stick around. 

Book your place by contacting hello@hillscenelive.com. For further details on this years festival see: http://www.hillscenelive.com

When: Sunday 25 August at 5:00PM
Where: Two Floors Studio 
1662 Burwood Highway, Belgrave (Enter via Blacksmiths Way)
Cost: FREE

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Meet our Autumn guest designer

Tell us a little bit about your creative journey? 

As a designer I began designing marketing materials for friends and family when I was in high school, the first being fo the Tai Chi Classes my mom was teaching. All done by hand.

Why did you want to become a designer/artist/creative person?

I guess I’ve always been a creative person but really owning it, and making it my career has been a process. What made me finally decide was both my parents passing away within 6 months of each other, and they both said, almost verbatim, “I thought I’d have more time.” This struck me so deeply, what was I leaving undone because I thought I would get to it eventually? Being creative in my work life.

Did you study art/design?

Yes, I am still finishing a my degree in Media and Communications, though with the design side of things I am essentially self taught.

How did you become involved with the hillscene?

Through my work as the Marketing Manager at Burrinja.

In what ways, if any, do you engage with the hills community?

I engage with the Hills community on lots of levels but mainly through my work at Burrinja and as a volunteer at 3MDR, which is amazing. To have the opportunity to support artists and performers is very rewarding.

What do you wish you knew about being a designer/artist before you got started?

How much I would love it, I would have done it sooner.

Who are your creative heroes?

My creative heroes are legion. Recent works that have really struck me and stuck with me are Jane Campion’s series Top of the Lake, the moodiness and use of colour as well as her composition. Neo Impressionist Paul Signac, particularly the work “Point of Difference”. I was entranced by Tracy Moffat’s work for the Venice Biennale.

What do you enjoy about living in the Dandenong Ranges?

The air, the people, the hush of the forest and the sense of community.

What are your plans for the future?

To keep creating, growing and engaging as a person and an artist, finish my degree, get my daughter through high school and dabble in some art.

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VCE showcase 2019

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Portrait by Claire Hyett – Monbulk College

The VCE Showcase exhibition oozes with talent, featuring the works of 2018’s VCE students who will become tomorrow’s artists. And this year the Burrinja favourite has had a bit of a revamp. It has combined the Yarra Ranges and the Yarra Valley schools together into one exhibition. “This year we’ve decided to really bring everyone together in the one event,” says Toni Main, Burrinja’s Community Cultural Development Officer. All 17 school are participating from the whole Yarra Ranges area and part of that revamp has also been to add a free public program on Saturday 16 which will go from 12pm – 4pm. The Showcase is only on from Friday 15 – Monday 18 Feb, but is jam packed with things to see and do.

The public program will include a collaborative art piece that will be made in progress over the day in the space, plus a panel discussion with a combination of emerging and professional artists exploring the statement “Art is not a real career”. “That may be challenged in that panel discussion,” adds Toni. There’s also going to be speed dating for artists, where you will be able to talk to and network with other artists. A platform for young artists to be able to ask professionals some interesting questions like “How do you find your niche?” or “Did you end up doing what you thought you were going to?” Add to that music and food as well as other activities for a day full of inspiration.

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Painting by Elizabeth Kelly – Upwey High School

Part of the VCE showcase includes an alumni program which was started last year. Two alumni each year are invited back to learn the whole process of the VCE Showcase, from visiting the schools and talking to the artists before they finish VCE, to the application process. Renee Riotto was part of the VCE Showcase in 2017 and is one of the alumni selected for this program. “The people who were involved in the exhibition previously were contacted and invited to apply for this position,” says Renee. “So I sent through an application and a writing piece about why I wanted to learn about this process and this position.” Being involved expands the alumni’s experience of the process behind the scenes. Renee has been part of this year’s showcase from the beginning to the end; making school visits and talking with the artists about their work, to being part of the selection panel and right up to installing the exhibition as well.

Claire Hyett

Claire Hyett with her portraits

Claire Hyett from Monbulk College is one of the artists included in the 2019 exhibition. Her photographic portraits of her young brother expresses the hidden nature of our inner emotions. “Both of these were focusing on the vulnerability of young adolescent boys. When my brother Percy went through year 7 last year, I saw him go through that social pressure to not show emotion and not be a sensitive vulnerable person,” explained Claire. “You often have that social pressure as a male. Through these pieces I aim to capture that more vulnerable side of him, which I know that he has, and he obviously keeps hidden.”

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Mitchell Edwards with this interactive piece ‘The bigger picture’

Another of the works, this time with a strong environmental message is by Mitchell Edwards from Emerald Secondary College. His artwork titled ‘The bigger picture’ is an interactive work painted onto vertical blinds. On one side is a landscape where people have had a positive impact on the environment then on the other side, as you turn the blinds it reveals the transition to a landscape where people have had a negative impact on the environment. “It’s based in an alternative land but mainly supposed to be that we see what’s happened to their world so we should do something about it for us, before we end up the same as them,” says Mitchell.

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One side of ‘The bigger picture’ by Mitchell Edwards

It’s cautionary message is clear. “My motivation is for people to realise that we are having an impact whether that be positive or negative and we need to start being the change and be more considerate about what we’re doing towards the land.” Mitchell saw two perspectives of the environment from his father who was both a log truck driver and a farrier and country horseback tour guide. The first was of being one with the land and seeing for it’s beauty, but also seeing it as a resource to be used. “I also have taken a lot of inspiration from my teachers,” says Mitchell. “Both my art teachers and my outdoor education teacher. They’ve aided me in seeing the beauty of the environment for what it is and not just what it can give you.”

Lizzie Kelly

Elizabeth Kelly with her paintings

Elizabeth Kelly’s intimate pieces show a world of nostalgia and memory. Especially using images of collective memories that are locally based. Ordinary, familiar moments like playing backyard cricket with friends and family are captured in a sketchy style. I wanted to make it incomplete, like when you look back at something not everything is there. You don’t know what the colour of the sky was exactly, the main part is the people and what’s happening there but again they’re not even really complete,” explains Elizabeth. “It’s more like an impression.”

Some memories are captured through an ambient moment. “The atmosphere of a memory is something that I really wanted to capture. I think the combination of the suburban landscape with the car dealership, the road and the power lines combined with the natural beauty of the sunset I think that makes a kind of unique atmosphere which is something kind of disconnected like when you look back at a memory.”

This year’s VCE showcase and program looks like being a very diverse and compelling experience. But with only a short time to savour it’s delights, you’d better pen this one in so as not to miss this fleeting event.

This year’s program

• Friday 15 Feb: Exhibition Opening Party, featuring reception and live music.
From 6pm
• Saturday 16 Feb: FREE Public Program day. Industry talks, artist speed dating, workshops, participatory activities and food truck. 12pm – 4pm.
• Sunday 17 Feb: General gallery admission, 10am – 4pm
• Monday 18 Feb: Private gallery tours, VCE Art and Studio Art viewings, and hear from recent VCE Art graduates. (For current VCE students only. Gallery closed to the public)

Where: Burrinja Cultural Centre
Cnr Glenfern Road and Matson Drive, Upwey VIC 3158

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More than just a LIVE arts festival: discover hillsceneLIVE

Words by Bluzal Field. Images courtesy the artists and Burrinja Cultural Centre.

HillsceneLIVE is a unique nine-month artist gestation program that culminates in a two-day festival on 17 and 18 November, set in the beauty of the Dandenong Ranges.

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Since 2014, hillsceneLIVE has been supporting artists to create bold new work that explores all facets of live experimental art, including sound, dance, installation, audiovisual and especially work that doesn’t fit into these categories. This year, there are 15 new intriguing works being presented at the festival as part of the program. hillsceneLIVE Festival Director, Toni Main, says:
‘We ask artists that apply to our program to come to us with an idea, or a question that needs to be explored, and not a finished piece of work. We create a space to delve into that exploration, with a series of incubators, professional development sessions and experimental art workshops over a nine-month period. Throughout that time the hillsceneLIVE team are there to support, provoke and converse with each artist as they make their new work. Take local musician Edward Willoughby for example, through this program he has explored not just sound-making but the experience of stage fright and created an experiential work that is part-theatre and part-sound that places stage fright at centrestage in a cumulative revelation of a private, inner song.’

Edward Willoughby

Edward Willoughby

The result of this process is depth. The strength and integrity of the work presented at hillsceneLIVE is achieved because of the opportunity and support provided by the program. This year sees the inclusion of local, Melbourne and interstate-based artists heading to the Dandenong Ranges, enticed by the quality of the program.

hillsceneLIVE aims to bring new life to disused or underused spaces throughout the Dandenong Ranges. The festival is set in unconventional spaces; in the past it has been staged in an old office, in empty shopfronts and even the main street of Belgrave, with its hidden alleyways and secret corners. This year, the festival will inhabit the beautiful natural landscape of Birdsland Reserve in Belgrave Heights. Main says:
‘What sets hillsceneLIVE apart from other art festivals based in the city is the inspirational natural landscape. Many artists have chosen to make their work in response to the landscape, incorporating the wetlands, sloping hills, fields and vegetation into the work. They have spent time investigating the surrounds and embedding the natural environment into their performative offerings.’

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There are many examples of this, but highlights include local performer, Dani-Ela Kayler’s ‘Desquamate’, a dance with the tall grasses as she sheds her layers, or ‘…pieces of silver’, developed and presented by Louise Morris and Kirsten Prins who are creating an installation and performative response to the Birdsland site. Drawing upon the theme of violence against women, the installation responds to two specific areas on the site – the old heritage cottage and the hidden and forgotten walkway down near the swamplands. They have collated research to reflect the number of women who have been affected by violence since the land was cleared for grazing and crop production 150 years ago.

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Pieces of silver by Louise Morris and Kirsten Prins

The festival is designed to be an experience, offering ticketholders a variety of workshops such as Bush Poetry with Leo Lazaurus, where you can use the power of writing and the energy of the bush to tap into internal and external worlds; or learn how to juggle with French juggler Anso. If participating isn’t for you, then get deep into conversation with our extensive critical conversation series that discusses the challenges, insights and obsessions of the artists engaged in the hillsceneLIVE program. All packed into two days in Birdlsand reserve.

hillsceneLIVE is a festival supported by Burrinja since 2014. This year saw the festival expand its scope thanks to funding received from Yarra Ranges Council and Creative Victoria.

hillsceneLIVE Festival
When: 17–18 November
Where: Birdsland Reserve – 271 Mt Morton Rd, Belgrave Heights
For tickets and to find out more go to www.hillscenelive.com

Yarra Ranges Council HOR RGB     Print

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The Upwey Archies ‘17

Calling all creatives – now is your time to shine – a light on the people and faces of our community.

2016 Upwey Archies Winner Anette Woodward

2016 winner Annette Woodward

Local creatives of all ages and abilities are invited to celebrate the people of Upwey and be part of the 2017 Upwey Archies community portrait project and exhibition.

Inspired by the Archibald Prize and ‘Not The Archies’, The Upwey Archies portraits will be presented in an exhibition across the shops and businesses of Upwey Township between 15 October – 14 November.  Bringing together the creative voices and vision of our community, this project is a celebration of the people of Upwey.

This August the Upwey Township Group, in partnership with Burrinja Cultural Centre are calling for the people of our region to contribute to this project by creating images of the people who are important to them or to Upwey. Artists can register and collect their art boards from Burrinja between 11 – 27 August and get to work in any medium they choose. Artworks then need to be delivered to Burrinja between 29 Sept and 8 Oct.

Last year the Upwey Archies project saw over 50 portraits in variety of media by a diverse range of young, emerging and established local artists exhibited through Upwey township.

Saturday 14 October at 11am the community is invited to congregate at ‘The Pirate Ship’, Upwey Main St to celebrate the official opening of this important community project. We will also announce the winners of the most outstanding portrait and encouragement awards for both the youth and adult categories. Prizes include Burrinja theatre tickets, meal and book vouchers.

2016 Upwey Archies winner Ava Lind

2016 winner Ava Lind

The Upwey Archies is an initiative of The Upwey Township Group, in partnership with Burrinja. The project is sponsored by the Belgrave Book Barn.

Important dates:

  • Register to be part of the project and pick up your art board between Aug 11-27
  • Deliver artwork to Burrinja Sept 29 – Oct 8
  • Launch event & awards Sat Oct 14, 11am at the Upwey Village Green (near the Pirate Ship).
  • Exhibition display in Upwey township Oct 15 – Nov 14
  • Artwork collection from Burrinja Nov 16  – 19

Cost:   Adult $10 (includes board) 14 & Under $5 (includes board)
Burrinja:   Cnr Glenfern Rd & Matson Dr, Upwey
Open: Tues – Sun 10am – 4pm
Contact:   9754 8723
www.burrinja.org.au

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Daniel Rigos painting outside

Dance of the savannah

'Desert converges with the sea' by Daniel Rigos

‘Desert converges with the sea’, oil on canvas by Daniel Rigos.

Daniel Rigos a local artist from Belgrave has been part of Open Studios for many years but this year he was conspicuously absent. Perhaps it’s because he has been busy travelling Australia, painting for an upcoming exhibition in Healesville. A year long journey through the Australian outback is the heart of this exhibition. Daniel’s paintings bring together themes and feelings of the landscape whilst also drifting into the ether and beyond.

Painted outside in the elements, Daniel’s paintings are inspired by the landscape but delve into other mystical worlds, blending with elements of abstraction and the surreal. Some evoke the intensity of the arid dry expanse of Central Australia, while others merge into the depths of the sea, or the majestic splendour of the mountains. Yet nothing is as powerful as the endless wide expanse of the savannah. Daniel explains “when one is confronted by its immensity, with its perfectly flat horizon, one feels truly alone. Yet somehow in this infinite space one also feels truly connected.”

Daniel Rigos painting outsideDaniel Rigos van on his Australian travels

The journey itself has impacted Daniel’s works and this narrative has changed and shaped his paintings. Daniel is usually a studio based artist working in the comforts of the studio. This year he had to contend with the elements, from the 40 degree heat of the desert rapidly drying the oil paint, to the monsoon showers of Queensland. “Some paintings were started in one location then finished in a completely different landscape,” says Daniel. “Just as the body and the mind are effected by the sudden changes of travel, so are the paintings. Landscapes morph into each other. Scale becomes irrelevant. One world shifts into another.”

Daniel lives in Belgrave in the Dandenong Ranges and has been exhibiting for over 14 years. This is his first solo exhibition. He has been part of the Dandenong Ranges Open Studios weekend for many years showing his work alongside his wood artist father Yanni Rigos at Wood Alchemy gallery in Kallista.

For the travels around Australia Daniel and his wife Shakti hand-outfitted a campervan with the help of his father. They incorporated unique and rare Australian woods with antique Chinese screens to create a truly one-of-a-kind campervan.

Daniel Rigos Van interiorDaniel Rigos Van

‘Dance of the Savannah’ exhibition by Daniel Rigos
Where: The Memo, Healseville
When: Friday June 9th – Sunday July 16th
www.danielrigos.com

Polar Convergence, oil on canvas by Daniel Rigos.

‘Polar Convergence,’ (oil on canvas) by Daniel Rigos.

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burrinja makes the top ten

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Post by Adriana Alvarez.

It looks like the secret is out. Burrinja is one of the top ten places to visit in Melbourne according to UK Guardian. The post by their Australian reporter mentions it in regard to getting in touch with “traditional owners” making reference to Lin Onus’ Fish and Leaves artwork as one of it’s highlights as well as exhibitions, music and theatre.

Burrinja Cultural Centre

And indeed Burrinja is a great place to see indigenous art as it manages a rare public collection of over 600 items of Aboriginal and oceanic art from Papua New Guinea. The collection was donated to the Shire of Yarra Ranges in 2001 by Neil McLeod, a local resident and renowned photographer, book author and field collector.

But this is not the only thing on offer at Burrinja.With multiple gallery spaces for touring exhibitions, a large 400 seat theatre for live productions and artist studios and workshop rooms, it’s a hub for creative locals who can find great inspiration within it’s walls. With workshops and activities for people of all ages and abilities Burrinja encourages community engagement and inclusion. It’s support of local artists, projects (like the hillscene magazine and hillseneLIVE), festivals and events fosters a vibrant creative community, living up to it’s mission of “creating community through the Arts”.

Burrinja GalleryBurrinja theatre

A visit to Burrinja isn’t complete without wandering through the Art of Place Indigenous Cultural Garden, a place to reflect, learn about and celebrate the local indigenous culture. Take in one of it’s many exhibitions, grab a gift in the gallery shop, see a show or enjoy a great coffee and meal at the Skylark Room which features brilliant music in the evenings and weekends.

Skylark Room food

So it looks like is right in naming Burrinja, one of the top ten treasures in the ‘world’s most livable city’. And we’re lucky to have it right on our doorstep.

Find out more and see what’s on at Burrinja here.

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The Arties exhibition at Burrinja

A New World; Created Through Art

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Post by Makayla Rimington

Burrinja’s Mission Statement endeavours to ‘build community through arts’ and a shining example of this is the Burrinja ‘Arties’. The Arties is a Burrinja Planned Activity Group who, in 2016, celebrate a decade of weekly meetings. The program involves adults of all abilities, from many different circumstances, joining together to create individual, expressive art.

Edges & Echoes is the chosen title for this year’s upcoming celebration. This involves gaining inspiration from subtle realms of both the imagination and reality. An opening song, followed by performances and exhibitions are planned for this significant occasion. Lynette and the volunteers have worked with The Arties for many weeks in preparation, including a dress rehearsal to practice the meaningful opening number.

Managed and funded by Burrinja and The Department of Health and Human Services, The Arties gives people that may feel outcast from the public a chance to fit in, to be accepted by a group of like-minded people in a community and arts focused facility while creating and performing. An extremely positive outcome from this Burrinja Arties program is mental wellbeing; giving people aged 20 to 70 a chance to use their individual abilities to overcome obstacles, both physical and mental.

It is an arts-based skills and learning program that emphasises cultural participation while enriching understandings of culture and community. The program also teaches socialisation skills and many art techniques.

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Lynette Forrest, an experienced Creative Arts Therapist, facilitated and designed the program that assists members of the community who are affected by mental illness and expands social support for those who are ‘at risk of homelessness’. Many of the people involved have had experience with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, but having the involvement of working with other Arties gives a sense of achievement, peace and connection. Arties ‘challenges the participants to take positive risks by trying new activities, learning with artist mentors, exhibiting, performing and more’.

Lynette believes in the healing power of art, it moves beyond language and understanding, becoming instead about the physical and the pleasure of ‘doing’. ‘Anyone can do it, they can’t fail, they trust me to help them create and learn’ says Lynette.

Being treated as welcomed and individual members of the public is integral to supporting and encouraging the Arties participants to create art that tells their story.

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Each week the partakers create art-work that they have a chance to exhibit and sell once a year at the annual Arties Event. This involves painting, photography and construction all the way through to dance, music, drama and narrative.

‘The Arties get so much out of special programs like this, it is wonderful to experience’ – Dr. Ross Farnell, Executive Director, Burrinja.

‘If only everyday could be Friday’ was remarked to Lynette recently, each meeting is looked forward to by the artists, and the yearly exhibition gives the participants and their works prominence and appreciation from the community.

Lynette has found a link between art, music and mental wellbeing, she observes a positive transformation in her participants; ‘when they return next time, with a little spark, I can see that it has been a lasting change’.

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Lynette puts these amazing outcomes down to music and the arts changing and improving a participant’s self-esteem and mental wellbeing.

The latest event fell on November 4th and the Arties’ had planned an opening song with the help of Nicole from Harmonious Melodies. ‘Edges & Echoes’ is an exploration of the thresholds of imagination, space and time. The theme centres around making meaning out of reality and dreams, and the pieces created are an echo of each member’s world. The song, with the assistance of Nicole, has been written by the group, with the chorus ‘chase those bad dreams away’ coined by a participant. The song takes the members to the edge of their imagination, meeting both good and bad aspects.

The Arties exhibition

Celebrating 10 years of The Arties at Burrinja is an incredible achievement and shows the passion and determination of its facilitator, Lynette Forrest. ‘It’s amazing, my favourite job. I wish I could do it every day’. Lynette creates a happy place, an environment where the members can understand themselves and learn creative techniques to express their individuality. This year’s milestone gives recognition to the great work of Lynette, the volunteers and of course, The Arties.

arties-collage

The Arties exhibition launch on November 4th.

The Exhibition runs from the 27th October to the 27th November at Burrinja.
Cnr Glenfern Road and Matson Dr, Upwey.

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