The Hawkesbury Regional Gallery opened its doors to the public in 2005. Along with the Hawkesbury Museum which opened at the same time, the Hawkesbury Gallery was part of Hawkesbury Council’s vision to upgrade the cultural facilities in the region and to create opportunities not just for locals to appreciate the Arts close to home but also to attract tourists to the region.
The Hawkesbury Regional Gallery forms part of the NSW Regional Galleries which aims to support regional and NSW artists and to create opportunities for these talented individuals to showcase their work. The exhibitions at the Hawkesbury Regional Gallery are constantly changing, bringing new work and diverse art forms to audiences. The exhibitions are mostly curated in-house by staff and volunteers, however touring exhibitions from regional and state galleries and other organisations are part of the Gallery’s program.
The current exhibition is ArtExpress, a joint program between the NSW Department of Education and the NSW Education Standards Authority, showcasing an exemplary selection of art work created by HSC students. Having never been to ArtExpress before I was blown away by the incredible artwork produced by high school students and the different use of mediums including painting, drawing, photomedia, textiles and fibre, ceramics, sculpture, printmaking and short films. The artworks are all completely different yet together are an interesting reflection on what is important to this generation of young people and how they perceive the world around them. Many of the artworks explore the human condition, the chaos and meaninglessness around us and the challenges migrants face in finding where they belong. Other artworks explored the importance of understanding our roots and how relationships with our grandparents and parents have shaped us. Some artworks tackled complex societal issues such as homelessness, domestic violence and mental illness whilst others challenged the way women are perceived. The importance of the environment and its destruction as a result of industrialisation was also explored.
Three local students’ artwork also appear in ArtExpress. Maddison Garton (Arndell Anglican College) through her painting explores childhood memories of her Oma’s garden inspiring others to reminisce on their own special childhood memories. Zoe Capel’s (Richmond High School) artwork entitled “The usurpation” reflects on how creatures have been forced out of their natural habitat and into urban areas as a result of the floods as well as the role creatures play no matter how small they are. Stella Janssens (Castle Hill High) explores through the use of ceramics the relationship she shared with her father and the impact he left on her and the memories created by the objects he left behind despite his death whilst she was young. Such powerful artwork!
Artexpress is on exhibition at the Hawkesbury Regional Gallery until August 13 and it is worth visiting and seeing the world through the eyes of our young people. It will challenge your thinking!
The Hawkesbury Regional Gallery apart from running exhibitions also runs artist and curator talks, art classes/workshops for adults and children as well as a school holiday workshop programs.
For more information on the Hawkesbury Regional Gallery go to https://www.hawkesbury.nsw.gov.au/gallery