Where is home: Mavis Ngallametta at Queensland Art Gallery

One of the most important questions an Australian can ask is: ‘Whose country am I in?’ For the late Aurukun artist and Putch clan elder Mavis Ngallametta (1944–2019), this question was central to her immense and intricate canvases as she painted her Country, and her adopted son’s Country in western Cape York, alongside people and moments of significance to her personal life. ‘Show Me the Way to Go Home’ at the Queensland Art Gallery in Brisbane surveys her relatively short but important career (she began painting in 2008), offering unique expressions of place from one of the state’s most remote and beautiful regions.

As the adoptive mother to a Wik man, Ngallametta had opportunities to access the dramatic red and white cliffs of Ikalath in north-east Aurukun, an important site for the Wik people and a source for the white ochre in her paintings. Ikalath #10 (2012) features the colourful rock faces abutting the water’s edge. It recalls a specific memory of a time when the artist and her son brought family and friends to collect clay at the bottom of the cliff shown towering above them in Ngallametta’s painting, standing by their small boat pulled to shore.

In his catalogue essay, lead curator Bruce Johnson McLean describes Ngallametta’s approach to landscape as a distinct view, ‘as if looking out from a coast-hugging, low-flying aircraft’ combined with ‘varying degrees of abstraction … to unify macro and micro worlds’. Her works are also distinguished by her often-used bright blue acrylic undercoat, the inspiration for McLean’s choice of wall colours and catalogue design.

Bush Fire at Kutchendoopen (2014) is another grand, nearly three-metre-tall canvas in powerful charcoals and red and orange ochres, picturing the landscape during and after cultural burning practices carried out by Ngallametta’s family. The work, primed with her signature blue, simultaneously pictures the devastation of fires as well as the flourish of flora and fauna that follows. This greenery takes centre stage in her striking wet-season landscape End Swamp #2 (2017), in which the blue priming layer becomes a body of water covered in a network of soft pink, white and yellow flowers.

The title of the exhibition, lifted from the classic 1925 British song (with words and music by Irving King and Hal Swain), is also a nod to Ngallametta’s place between Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultures. Multilingual artist statements on the wall labels, provided in English, Kugu Uwanh and Wik-Mungkan, elevate a direct dialogue with her kin and community members. In ‘Show Me the Way to Go Home’, Ngallametta’s singular perspective, both biographical and monumental, offers an opportunity for all audiences to take stock of the country in which we find ourselves.

Emily Wakeling, Brisbane

‘Mavis Ngallametta: Show Me the Way to Go Home’ brings major works from the late artist’s Ikalath, Kendall River, Pamp/Swamp, Wutan, Yalgamunken, intertidal estuary and bushfire series together for the first time at Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, until 7 February 2021.

Stella’s Art Gallery’s ‘Size Matters’ has its big winners | Gallery Glances – News-Herald.com

The dog days of summer have kicked in a little early. The exhaustion of the summer heat is adding to an already-challenging year. But art has a way of making things better. Or shall I say bearable?

Melissa Sexstella’s students in the Creative Painting and Drawing 1 and 2 online classes from the Fine Arts Association, 38660 Mentor Ave., Willoughby, found a way to make the pandemic “bear-able” with their Teddy Bear Project.

As the international lockdown began, a worldwide bear hunt ensued. It was inspired by the popular 1989 children’s book “Let’s Go on a Bear Hunt” by British author Michael Rosen. The goal of the hunt was to distract children and calm their fears during the isolation of sheltering at home. It offered a focus while taking neighborhood walks and drives by having them look for stuffed bears in windows and yards. The trend caught on in Europe, Australia and North and South America.

That hunt continues today in Lake County thanks to these FAA students. They created coloring book outline drawings of teddy bears and emailed them to Danbury Senior Living in Mentor, where they were photocopied and presented to residents to color and display.

Students also colored and designed their creations to fit the theme “What Happiness Looks Like.” Their artwork was framed and hung at Lake County’s courthouse along with a description of the “The Worldwide Bear Hunt” project. Copies of the students’ finished works also were provided to Danbury residents to display on their personal mailboxes.

This is just another example of how art makes life better.

Now think for a moment about all the artworks being removed and destroyed around the country, and about the artists who proudly and painstakingly created each piece with full devotion to their crafts, never expecting the world to turn on them and use their creations as a focus for fury and destruction.

I think about them. And I am saddened by the boundless ignorance being displayed by my fellow citizens. Consider this: Artwork needs negative space to support the positive. The same is true in life.

Please check out and support your local art centers and galleries. There are creative fundraisers, online classes, smaller in-house classes, art shows and gift shops.

Stella’s Art Gallery

Stella’s Art Gallery, 38033 Euclid Ave., Willoughby, opened “Size Matters” earlier this month, overcoming the many obstacles we face to do business and safely handle social interactions.

“It was a fantastic turn out! We had over 90 entries,” gallery owner Dani Klein said. “I didn’t know what to expect because of (the novel coronavirus), and I am very pleased. Our reservation system worked well. The accepted artists were able to reserve up to 10 spots an hour to bring in their family and friends. This helped control numbers and allowed social distancing. The public was able to come in as numbers allowed. All were understanding and very supportive of the process.”

The process worked so well that they will follow the same protocols for the next show, “Northeast Ohio,” with artworks inspired by the region. The categories are Water; Parks & Places; Wildlife; and Recent Events. Artworks must be dropped off between 11:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Aug. 7 or 8. The reception is scheduled for 7 to 9 p.m. Aug. 14. Visit bit.ly/stellas-callforart for complete details.

But I digress.

Here are the winners for “Size Matters:”

The Best in Show goes to Diana Montagino for her sculpture “Princess and the Pea.”

The winners in 3D Small (under 2 inches in any direction) are Kristin Barnes, first place; Anna Weisend, second place; and Julie Cook, third place.

The winners in 3D Medium (6 to 18 inches) are Sam and Anna Weisend, first place; Helen Hayes, second place; and Angela Percassi, third place.

“Sheltering in The Hive,” by Sam and Anna Weisend,” took first place in the 3D Medium category in the “Size Matters” show at Stella’s Art Gallery.

The winners in 2D Small (6 inches or less) are Cynthia Brewster, first place; Will Slabaugh, second place; and Linda Janosko, third place.

The winners in 2D Medium (between 10 and 25 inches) are Tricia Kaman, first place; Ann Dumont, second place; and Becky Grasser, third place.

In “2D Large” (between 36 and 48 inches) the winners are Michelle Farnworth, first place; and Elaine Soltis, second place.

Stella’s is open 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. by appointment and from 1 to 6 p.m. to the public Tuesday through Saturday.

Call 216-401-6965 or visit stellasartgallery.com for more information.

They have many safety protocols in place. including the wearing of masks, which will be provided if necessary.

Follow them on Facebook at facebook.com/stellas.art.inc.

Fairmount Center for the Arts

For its 44th annual “Fairmount Art Exhibition,” the Fairmount Center for the Arts, 8400 Fairmount Road, Russell Township, will accept entries from noon to 4 p.m. Aug. 1 and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 3. Artists from Northeast Ohio are invited to enter.

Prizes include $1,000 for Best in Show, as well as the $200 first-place and $100 second-place awards in each category, which include Painting (oil, acrylic, tempera), Watercolor, Photography, Graphics, 3-D and Fiber. Grace Chin, Diane Fleisch-Hughes and Anthony Mitri will judge the show.

For more information, visit fairmountcenter.org, call 440-338-3171 or email info@fairmountcenter.org.

Valley Art Center

“Formed from Flame,” the new show at Valley Art Center, 155 Bell St. Chagrin Falls, showcases more than 100 works from 19 artists.

The art center is open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The Gallery is also open 6 to 8 p.m. Thursdays.

VAC is offering patrons the opportunity to book a private viewing party for up to 10 guests for $50. These private parties will be hosted by VAC staff and board members. Call 440-247-7507 or email gallery@valleyartcenter.org for more information.

A 34-Metre-Long Indigenous Mural Is Coming to the Perth Skyline – Broadsheet

The Art Gallery of Western Australia (AGWA) is getting a facelift. Or, more accurately, a roof-lift.

As part of the state government-funded Elevate redevelopment, AGWA’s rooftop will be transformed over the next six months into a multi-use gallery space and 500-person rooftop venue. Works from the State Art Collection will be installed in an open-air rooftop sculpture park, while a new rooftop gallery also features among the plans. An external lift and sky bridge connecting the rooftop with the Perth Cultural Centre precinct will provide public access after hours.

As well as offering vistas of the surrounding area, the new space will be a canvas for Noongar-Minang artist Christopher Pease. Stretching 34 metres in length and wrapping around the rooftop wall, Pease’s piece will celebrate the ongoing importance of Derbarl Yerrigan – the Noongar name for the Swan River – to Perth’s identity.

“The installation will feature multiple layers that bring into focus ideas concerning art, history and identity,” says Pease. “The work is derived from an historical image of the south-eastern bank, not far from the current site of AGWA, and will present a visual snapshot of the region at the time of first settlement when much of the land remained undisturbed.”

The project’s announcement wasn’t the only piece of good news for Indigenous art. A new ground-floor gallery dedicated to contemporary First Nations works was also announced, as was the imminent appointment of an additional associate curator of Indigenous art to focus specially on Noongar art.

Elevate was jointly designed by Perth-based firm TAG Architects and Sydney-based firm, FJMT. The rooftop makeover is due to be finished in January 2021.