Art trail exhibitions

WALPOLE’S Petrichor Gallery is gearing up to host two exhibitions and a series of workshops this month during the upcoming Southern Art and Craft Trail.

Wildern features artists Tony Windberg, Clive Kendrick, Jenny Kendrick, Luda Korczynskyj, Christine Gregory and Elizabeth Edmonds whose work aims to explore and inspire conversations about the wilderness.

Edmonds said each artist interpreted the exhibition theme in their own individual way and that she found her inspiration in the countryside.

“All you have to do is drive along the highway or sit atop a hill,” she said.

“And as the light changes or scant mists settle into the valleys, you see a picture of a landscape that has persisted over thousands of years, yet, is infinitely fragile and variable.”

Cryptic: Mysterious, Enigmatic, the second exhibition, is a solo presentation of works by botanical artist and mycologist Katrina Syme.

Syme will display her watercolour illustrations of fungi, lichens, mosses, liverworts and hornworts found in regions in and around the Walpole wilderness.

She hopes the work will draw attention to “the forgotten” places and wildlife.

Both exhibitions will open on September 21 and close on October 20.

A free artist talk will be held on September 29 at 11am as well as three workshops to give aspiring artists the chance to experience different art forms.

More information can be learned by contacting the gallery on 0438 401 148.

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Seniors cut a rug

RETIREMENT certainly does not mean slowing down by any means and doesn’t this group of Albany senior citizens know it.

The Over 50s Line Dancing Group meets twice a week for varying difficulty levels of line dancing to keep them fit, healthy and social.

Over 50s Club President Val Chisholm has been line dancing for more than four years and said it’s often the reason some people get out of bed in the morning.

“Dancing is great for new people in town to meet other people, and it’s also great for people who have lost their partner,” she said.

“Dancing gets you out of bed and makes you have a laugh.”

Vice President Jennifer Sinclair agreed.

“It’s really fun and it’s great that people have a coffee afterwards, which is good for people who are alone,” she said.

“And without knowing, when you’re dancing, you’re doing balancing and fitness, all designed for over 50s,” Ms Chisholm added.

“You don’t have to worry about tearing a muscle or hurting your bladder because it’s all designed for over 50s.”

To join in all the fun, contact Ms Sinclair on 9844 1199 to see when the group is next meeting or check the Weekender’s Community Noticeboard.

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Tight and tasty gig

FOR fans of 1970s FM rock boogie with tight-ass harmonies and tasty guitar licks, this could well be the gig of the year.

Southern River Band hits town early next month led by what Perth music bible X-Press Mag dubbed ‘possibly the best front man in Australia’, Cal Kramer.

The band’s latest single Second Best is from the forthcoming album Rumour and Innuendo that will be out mid-September.

As renowned Melbourne rock ‘n’ roll man about town and Cherry Rock impresario James Young attests, Second Best has soul, swagger and power-pop sensibilities.

“Don’t let anyone say that The Southern River Band sound like The Darkness or Lynyrd Skynyrd. They don’t,” Young said.

“When I think of Southern River Band, I think of Countdown on the ABC in the 70s. Colour, movement, magic and a guaranteed global smash hit.”

With a video for Second Best due on release, more new music on the way and some big news to come, Southern River Band are stepping it up in 2019 and ready to take on the world.

Following the release of the album, the four-piece will once again hit the road on a national tour building on the substantial fan base already enamoured with the band’s unashamed celebration of all things 70s rock.

The group will perform free at Six Degrees on Friday, September 6 from 8pm.

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All folk welcome

A NEW casual singing hotspot has arisen on the outskirts of Albany and current frequenters of the venue are encouraging others to come out and join in.

The Albany Shanty and Folk Club sets up camp at the King River Hall on Millbrook Road on the last Friday of each month for a social get-together and sing-song.

Next weekend’s August 30 event will be the third meet since the group began meeting at the Hall and shanty singer Nicky Guretti hopes more people will attend.

“There used to be a folk club that was very well attended at the King River Hall, so they asked us to try and get it up and running again,” the Shantylilly said.

“We try and keep the music traditional and encourage people to put their name on the board and get up and sing a song or two or three, or play an instrument, or both.”

The Shantylillies singing group is pushing for more families to attend their Hall event to improve community connectivity.

During regular club proceedings, The Shantylillies sing a range of shanty songs and songs about the sea, and people are encouraged to join in with these songs or get up on stage and sing their own.

The youngest to grace the stage so far has been Darcy Hamilton, at just two years old.

“There’s no need to get up and sing if you are shy,” Guretti said.

“Just come along and enjoy the entertainment and bring the whole family.”

There is no age limit for people interested in coming along to an Albany Shanty and Folk Club meet.

Entry is $5 per person or $10 for a family, and free tea and coffee is provided.

Bring your own drinks and snacks before the singing gets underway at 7pm.

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Glowing talent on show

AUGUST will wrap up with a bang at the Albany Entertainment Centre with a massive performance planned by secondary and tertiary music students.

The ninth annual Radio Active concert combining the talents of Albany Senior High School, Great Southern Grammar and WA Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) students will be held on August 30 and WAAPA Head of Contemporary Music Mike Eastman is excited to be a part of it.

He said WAAPA students would spend the week leading up to the main performance working with schools and the community in a variety of workshops, lending a hand with vocal and instrumental techniques, and stage presence.

One workshop will be held at Vancouver Arts Centre on August 27 from 5.30pm for anyone to attend.

“There’s so much talent in the Great Southern,” Eastman said.

“It’s why I love coming down and am really thrilled that Albany continues to support this project.”

Keely Brittan, current fourth-year WAAPA student and former Denmark Senior High student, is keen to perform in Radio Active for the first time after watching it as a teenager.

“I think it’s going to be really great working together with the high school students,” she said.

“Hopefully it will give them that drive and motivation and inspire them to come to WAAPA.”

Tickets to Radio Active can be purchased via the Albany Entertainment Centre and more information about the workshops can be found on the Vancouver Arts Centre’s Facebook page.

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Drawing on life

THE human form is the focus of a new art exhibition at Denmark’s Butter Factory Studios.

Life Lines is on display now until September 8 and features the work of resident artists Robyn Lees, Annie Nutter, Genesis Gutierrez, Ruth Halbert, Jasmine Heslop, Victoria Castiglione, Marie Kerr, Kerrie Wakefield, Suzie Kettle, Jessie Gloede and Jen Mitchell.

The artistic collective is part of a larger group called The Bodyliners who practise life drawing.

Mitchell regularly co-ordinates life drawing sessions at her home studio and said she was excited for the group to showcase their efforts.

“We have a wonderful time creating together, so this is a real joy to bring our work to a larger audience,” she said.

“I feel so lucky to have a large space that is perfect for this kind of session, and it is beautiful to be able to share it with other artists once a week.

“We put on old French records while we draw or paint and pause for morning tea – it is a lovely experience.”

Fellow artist Lees reiterated the importance of life drawing to artistic practice.

“Drawing and mark making is at the root of all visual communication,” she said.

“Life figure drawing in particular trains the eye to observe form, emotion and gesture; it teaches one to appreciate body language as a powerful form of communication.

“It can be a vital building block on which to base an art practice.”

Life Lines is on display now until September 8 at Butter Factory Studios Denmark.

Anyone interested in joining Mitchell’s life drawing sessions can reach her on 9848 2343.


Image: Robyn Lees’ work ‘Bodyliners’.

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Youth festival on ‘belonging’

A YOUTH health-themed performing arts event is coming to Albany next month and people are encouraged to come along and support local students who, if they perform well, will get a crack at the grand final in October.

The annual Act-Be-long-Commit Youth on Health (YOH) Fest Albany Heats will take place at the Albany Entertainment Centre on September 13 between students from Mt Barker Community College, Bethel Christian School, Great Southern Grammar, Mt Lockyer Primary and St Joseph’s College.

The theme for this year is ‘belonging’ and students will address this theme through dance, drama, art, film and music.

YOH Fest coordinator Karen Lyons said it was important regional students had the opportunity to participate in the competition.

YOH Fest Heats will this year take place in Kalgoorlie, Geraldton, Karratha, Bunbury, Albany, Mandurah, Subiaco and Broome, before the Mandurah grand finale.

“Remote, rural and Indigenous communities are at a disadvantage in society through reduced exposure to most educational and health-oriented programs,” Ms Lyons said.

“Because of this, they are at significantly high health risk than their urban counterparts.

“YOH Fest recognises this and has focused their efforts, helping to cater for some of their needs because we believe that participation in arts programs can be a key driver in development stronger, healthier communities.”

Tickets to the Albany heats performance on September 13 cost $14 and can be purchased online and in-person via the Albany Entertainment Centre.

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Joint trail exhibition

EXPECT the unexpected is what Kentdale artist Paul Moncrieff is telling people ahead of his inclusion in this year’s Southern Art and Craft Trail.

Moncrieff will this year be exhibiting at his own Kent River Studio alongside partner Jillian Green and long-time friend, Perth artist Bevan Honey.

“The presentation is split,” he said.

“Half is Jillian, and she does iconic images of some of the animals we have, like our mini donkey, and religious iconography.

“The rest is an amalgamation of Bevan and I’s work, and we’ve done something a bit unusual and difficult.”

Moncrieff explained that the two artists had played ‘swapsies’, adding to or finishing each other’s artwork in a type of artistic intervention.

“We’ve known each other for a long time so we trusted each other,” Moncrieff said.

“We both work in non-objective ways so we’re not painting landscapes or anything like that – I divide my work into shapes and colours in a geometric way.

“So sometimes, we’d paint over each other’s work, or change it a bit … kind of an odd thing but we’re always trying to show people something different.”

Moncrieff’s joint exhibition with Green and Honey is Venue 26 on the Southern Art and Craft Trail and you can find it between September 21 and October 13 at 4310 South Coast Highway, Kentdale.

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REVIEW: Albany’s Got Talent


It’s not often that this chatterbox is lost for words but by golly gosh, I was on Friday night at the opening performance of Albany’s Got Talent.

You often hear people say that the Great Southern is full of talent, but you don’t actually appreciate that until it’s right there in front of you.

If Albany’s economy was reliant on singing voices, the word ‘recession’ would never be uttered again.

Now, I only have so much space here to talk about how amazing everyone was, so I’m going to have to be highly selective.

So if your name doesn’t crack a mention here, please don’t think it’s because you weren’t any good – you were all incredible but my editor has given me a word limit.

Let’s start with young Ethan Grobbler.

This young man – only Year 4 – got up on stage with his loop station, beatboxed several different rhythms, recorded them live, and proceeded to sing George Ezra’s Shotgun.

While others of that age are still busy pushing each other around on the playground, Mr Ethan had practised and practised his sweet voice and beatboxing before getting up on stage by himself.

What courage and talent from someone so young!

I already hope to book Ethan as my wedding DJ when he’s a bit older.

Sebastian Commons.

I first met Seb when he worked at the Weekender for school work experience and he mentioned a couple of times that he made his own music.

He shared with us some of his original work and I was mightily impressed, but not as impressed as I was on Friday when he sat at the piano beside his mum and belted out his own rendition of Frank Sinatra’s Fly Me to the Moon.

Watch out Sinatra and Buble, there’s a new crooner to town.

Seb blew the audience away and was more than deserving of the massive applause and cheering he received.

Maddy Marsh.

My oh my, Maddy, were you incredible.

Not only did she take on and absolutely smash one of the biggest songs of the year, she made me question whether the original artist was any good in the first place.

Kate Miller-Heidke’s Zero Gravity shot to fame at this year’s Eurovision song contest and featured a lot of glam and high notes.

Maddy nailed every single one of those notes flawlessly, including that part of the chorus.

She ki-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-illed it.

And I don’t think I can end this review without a mention of Susie Chap-man and Deon Utber.

An absolutely beautiful song, Slow Down reflected on watching children grow up and the difficulty parents can have letting them go out into the adult world.

The tear-jerker was enough to make me doubly appreciate my parents and give my mum – who was sitting dabbing her eyes beside me – an extra big hug.

I cannot wait to see what talent emerges for next year’s show.

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Artist transformation

A DENMARK artist who recently completed a month-long residency in France has returned home full of inspiration for her upcoming exhibition.

Jen Mitchell went solo to the Ardeche region of France in June before touring Switzerland and northern Western Australia in July.

Her French experience came in the form of a self-directed art residency that she said renewed her commitment to aiding people around the world facing geopolitical and cultural challenges.

Mitchell’s initial desire to visit France stemmed from seeking inspiration for her Touchstones art project, a project based on looking at what grounds people in times of change. This includes items known as touchstones.

France is a meaningful country to Mitchell as her American grandmother was an expat artist in Paris in the 1950s and a visit to Monet’s Garden 15 years ago inspired Mitchell to become an artist.

“That year had felt transformational, and it has always held a special place in my heart since then,” she said, reflecting on her time spent studying at The Paris Institute of Political Studies in 2004.

“I originally went to study political science and economics, but the experience was much broader than I expected.

“In our first week of the exchange program we went to Monet’s Garden at Giverny in the north of France and to the Monet Museum, and it was a lightbulb moment for me – in the depths of my heart, I felt like I could learn to paint like that, and that the world around me was beautiful enough to try.”

Mitchell didn’t waste any time once she got her feet on French soil this year.

She painted, read, listened, walked and spoke to various people about their “lived reality” in France and took time to reflect on herself and her art.

She also kept busy learning more about what she describes as “the tale of shared humanity”, an idea that arose from visiting an exhibition of international photographer Steve McCurry.

“Whether discussing touchstones with United Nations employees in Geneva, or attending a Protestant fundraiser with a devout Catholic to support refugee families in a small rural French village, this humanity shares so many of the same hopes and dreams, and is also dealing with many of the same geopolitical challenges that we see here in Western Australia and the world,” Mitchell said.

Further to her humanitarian work, Mitchell learned more about herself than she thought she would.

“In the past when I travelled, I had always considered myself to be an American expat abroad, and this was the first time that I realised I feel more Australian than anything else,” she said.

“The landscape that calls to me is the Western Australian land- scape; the people that I want to paint are from our own diverse communities.

“Of all the beautiful places I visited in France and Switzerland, my favourite place was walking in my own front door here in Denmark.

“This may seem cliche, but for me this sense of rootedness was profound.

“I went to France seeking my touchstone on the other side of the world, but instead realised that it is right here on the south coast.”

Mitchell will be part of a Southern Art and Craft Trail exhibition at Denmark Artshouse from September 21 to October 19 where she will display the touchstones she collected from 14 countries and three continents, alongside other artists’ touchstones.

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