UMI Arts opens its 15th anniversary exhibition, Freshwater Saltwater 'Boundless'  

[by Pip Miller]


Artist Susan Reys with her white stonewash ceramic Milbi Gundil story eggs by Blueclick Photography. Image: UMI Arts

Now open in celebration of UMI Arts 15th anniversary; Freshwater Saltwater 2020 exhibition featuring a collection of more than 30 works by 13 artists which showcases Queensland’s First Peoples’ perspective and in particular, the powerful spiritual and physical connection to Country.


Responding to this year’s theme, Boundless, the collection of works span lino cut, digital and fabric screen prints to acrylic on canvas, watercolours, ceramics, softwood rainforest timber shields and firemakers, is now on show and open to the public at UMI Arts’ Jensen Plaza Gallery until 8 September 2020.


After a period of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, UMI Arts’ Jensen Street Gallery reopened to the public last week.


This year’s seventh annual Freshwater Saltwater exhibition documenting the rich talent of established and emerging artists from across Queensland and the Cape to the Torres Strait, is curated by Trish Barnard who is also included in the exhibition with her hand painted upholstered chair and acrylic on canvas.


According to Ms Barnard, who has more than 30 years of experience as a curator and academic, the works span an exciting selection of mediums that include a magnificent vinyl cut print on paper by Glen Mackie Kei Kalak, two acrylic paintings by Natasha Davui and a collection of Yidinji  firemakers inspired by historical designs and imbued with seven different ochres to depict totems demonstrating cultural continuity from Michael Boiyool Anning.


“The exhibit presents diversity,” said Ms Barnard.


Experienced ceramicist Susan Reys is exhibiting a new body of works inspired by recent research into her Guugu Yimithirr culture during the Exhibition Ready program that she participated in at UMI Arts and featuring detailed incised patterns on the surface reference marks found in rock art, message sticks and other traditional material culture.


Established Kokoberrin artist Lisa Michl Ko-manggén OAM, has produced an important work on paper to encourage an appreciation for the arduous task of fibre preparation from Cabbage Palm trees (Livistona australis) and many hours involved in weaving traditional baskets.


UMI Arts Executive Officer Peter Lenoy said he is proud of the UMI Arts team for their resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic and particularly his artist members’ cultural and creative integrity which is on show for all to see in this year’s exhibition.


“Freshwater Saltwater is an exhibition that was created to nurture new artists and provide pathway opportunities while celebrating the achievements of successful, established artists whose influence has been a guiding and inspiration light to those less experienced,” Mr Lenoy said.


Exhibiting artists in UMI Arts’ 2020 Freshwater Saltwater exhibition are Glen Mackie Kei Kalak, Jack Wilkie-Jans, Trish Barnard, Natasha Davui, Michael Boiyool Anning, Francoise Lane, Lynelle Flinders, Susan Reys, Elverina Johnson Bunya Badjil, Lisa Michl Ko-manggen OAM, Dorothy Edwards, Steven Tranby Murgha and Kel Williams.


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