This is Us, an exhibition which focuses on artwork by local youth in Devonport will be on display in the Little Gallery in the Devonport Regional Gallery from Monday 23 March until 19 April.
In 2019 the Devonport Regional Gallery invited local young people to explore Australian cultural identity and its relationship to young people using imagery and text with the idea of creating an exhibition in the Gallery.
Some of the young artists have explored attitudes, values and beliefs as well as their own personal symbolism and identity.
The resulting artworks – by some 100 local students from Devonport and Reece High Schools, Don College and Space for Learning – investigate personal symbolism and language to communicate self-identity and being Australian. They have utilised a range of media including lino prints, ceramics, drawing, painting, pyrography, sculpture, photography and animation have been used by the young artist to get their messages across.
It has been curated by Debbie Qadri, formerly the Gallery’s Creative Learning and Public Programs Officer.
Dr Qadri said the exhibition aimed to allow the young people to express their ideas and give them a voice.
“By encouraging them to show their artwork in our gallery and arts centre we let them know that it’s their place.” She said.
“It is very important to enable young people to play a big part in our local culture because they will be steering its future.”
Dr Qadri said Devonport High School art teacher Luke Viney led the way with the theme about how young people interpret the idea of Australian identity.
“The exhibition includes a combination of approaches to this theme, which in turn provides a range of perspectives.”
“The young people present ideas about what does being Aussie mean in a very stereotypical way as well as what does being a young person in this culture mean?
“There is also a series of masks which explore how most of us have a range of identities which include our ethnicity, what (sporting) team we barrack for and what we do for leisure.
“As you immerse yourself in the exhibition, identity becomes clearly a thing that we choose to create for ourselves and also in the same breath identity can be used to create a mask to hide our true selves.
“This is Us, is both presenting ideas about ourselves, and presenting reality.”
Another of the artworks is a collection of words which includes how young people feel that people describe them, as well as how they would describe themselves.
“The words have been created using an alphabet that the young people designed. Again, you have the two sides – how young people feel they are being identified, and how young people would like to identify themselves.”
Dr Qadri praised the efforts of the young people involved.
“There are some very insightful works in this exhibition. Young people have some very important things to say and need to be offered more opportunities to express themselves and their ideas.
“This exhibition is an opportunity to bring the ideas and artwork of young people into the public cultural space of our new paranaple arts centre in Devonport.
“The Devonport Regional Gallery has been very proactive in showing the art and design work of local young people and I envisage the exhibition contributes towards this momentum.”
Gallery Director Geoff Dobson said he was delighted that the young people’s efforts could be displayed in the gallery.
“It is absolutely terrific that young people living in our region have the opportunity to see their work displayed at the Regional Gallery,” he said.
“It provides young people with the opportunity to take ownership of the Gallery.”
Exhibition Dates: 20 March – 19 April 2020
Opening: Thursday 19 March at 4 pm
Image details: Composite image: Asha Sutton-Eustace (L), Carla Egger (R)
Exhibition Curator Debbie Qadri is available to be interviewed this week.
P. 6424 0577 M. 0419 505 838