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Woden Arts lockdown commissions was a quick response project to the recent and substantial Covid -19 lockdown. The Woden Arts Program invited selected artists – who had enlisted on the Woden Arts Register, to write a proposal about what they would create if they received money to make new work during the lockdown.  The Artists had a month to create new work. Here are their results.  

Kim Yang

Photo by Dayna Ransley

ARTIST BIO:

Having multiple national radio airplays and performed alongside ARIA awarded musicians such as Josh Pyke, Ben Lee, Fanny Lumsden and StiffGins, Taiwan-born indie-folk musician Kim Yang is an emerging artist of the bush capital. Starting out her musical journey as a busker in 2017, Kim’s voice captures attentions of passers-by and she’s become a familiar name at cafes, markets, and music festivals. From an early age, Kim has shared her voice across the globe, from YouTube, intimate bookshops to national television. Writing songs that speak from her experiences as a partner, a daughter, a traveller and an insecure soul, Kim’s ethereal blend of sounds balances delicately between vulnerability and power. 

Receiving arts grant from artsACT, Kim released her sophomore EP Brave in September despite the global pandemic. In December 2020, Kim decided to invest herself in the music business as a full-time musician. She diversifies her income and arts practice by working as a live performer, songwriter, recording artist and a music teacher. Kim has since been accepted into the 2021/2022 ‘Women In Music’ mentor program via The Australian Independent Record Labels Association (AIR)

Photo by Creswick Collective

COMMISSION PROJECT:

‘Brave’ music video is a project completed during the 2021 lockdown in Canberra. It was done in collaboration with the public, local creative Sean O’Gorman and Fresh Funk. This video was commissioned by the Woden Arts Program of Tuggeranong Arts Centre and the ACT Government.
 
I released my 2nd EP Brave during the lockdown, but my scheduled EP launch did not go ahead as planned. The title track of the EP ‘Brave’ is about taking care of yourself, and it being ok to say no when finding yourself overcommitted to things. During the lockdown, I longed for connection with people, and I tried to find a way to share new work. People have been telling me how much Brave speaks to them. A friend sent me a video of her two beautiful children dancing to ‘Brave’, which gave me the idea to bring people together by inviting people to dance to Brave and film themselves at home or in COVID-safe locations to capture the lockdown vibe.  

Luckily, the Woden Arts grant allowed me to bring in some professionals for the video project. In addition to my partner and I filming myself singing and playing the song from my backyard, and some friends and their small children joining the project, I recruited two professional dancers from Fresh Funk. I’m very thankful to have had Sean to work on the visuals with me along the way. I wouldn’t be able to get the project together without Sean’s help. 

Thanks again to the Woden Arts Program and Tuggeranong Arts Centre for sponsoring my project and helping me bring people together.





Daniel Leone

Photo supplied by the artist

ARTISTS BIO:

My name is Daniel Leone and I am a visual artist. I grew up in a gallery that was attached to my family home where my mother taught ceramics classes and where I had my introductions to clay and clay workings. Art has always been an integral part of my life. I’ve studied with numerous schools and teachers in a range of disciplines and mediums. The last 6 years I have strived to make it my full time occupation mainly through but not limited to sales.  

My practice is about emphasizing, creating awareness and the continued appreciation of the native natural world. My art achieves this through many mediums such as Bonsai and plants, corresponding ceramics and furniture that houses these natural trophies.  

I also create a range of fun and interesting products outside of my more politically and environmentally charged art such as crockery, teapots, planters, flower arrangements, drawings, paintings, sculpture, clothing and jewelry. Over the years this artistic path has helped me to find my place within the community. I’ve been privileged to teach, demonstrate, lecture, run programs and collaborate with many organizations, programs and peoples. 

My practice is constantly evolving and changing to my surroundings and I try not to limit myself to making a single line of product. Instead I’m constantly experimenting, playing, researching and exploring. I’m always open to knew and exciting ideas.  

Photo supplied by the artist.

COMMISSION PROJECT:

With the generous funding from Woden Arts I created and cultivated a series of bonsai in corresponding ceramics that I hand crafted. I worked with several native species highlighting their importance and significance by isolating them in individual containers that act as kind of plinth for the plants. I felt compelled to create bonsai over any other form of art. I believe Australian plant species deserve awareness in a challenging political and environmental climate that’s under threat. I hope to educate viewers of their significance and wonderment as they grow old through the ages, one day growing into magnificent examples of themselves that could potentially be on display in a public collection and/or forum.  

I saw bonsai as a very appropriate medium to pursue during lockdown as the finished works require ongoing maintenance and monitoring especially after freshly repotting and pruning.  

I was confined to my studio space being able to give my practice my full attention as my regular outlets where closed. I saw this as a unique opportunity to study and educate myself further about the special species, advanced horticulture, my making processes and ceramic techniques. With more time allotted, I was able to experiment and play further in the studio with the ceramic forms some of which didn’t work but helped to further better my practice.  

I’m very proud of the final creations and look forward to working alongside the ever growing and evolving sculptures that is bonsai. With lockdown lifted I’m equally looking forward to exhibiting these pieces and the discussions that such work provokes amongst the community.    

 

Photo 1: Banksia Integfolia, in high fired scarva ceraminc (unglazed), 37cm x 10cm. Photo 2: Eucalyptus group planting, in high fired stoneware with copper glaze, pot: 51cm x 33cm X 11cm. Photo 3: staghorn fern, in high-fired scarva ceramics, 25cm long x 8 cm. Photo 4: charred driftwood in scarva ceramics, 55 x 24 x 15cm. Photo 5: charred driftwood in scarva ceramics, 55 x 24 x 8cm.





Harvey Welsh

Photo supplied by the artist

ARTISTS BIO:

Harvey Welsh, born on the third of September 1949, studied art and film. His first job was as a boom swinger at Crawford Productions, working on Homicide and later on Division four. He became a sound recordist after the first year and went on to work at Crawfords for another two years.

Harvey spent 11 years in Papua New Guinea with one year spent in Spain studying guitar. In PNG he recorded local musicians and played in bands. Moving back to Australia in the early eighties he continued to write and record music for film and television including publishing more that a hundred songs and co writing with other musicians. Situated in the ACT he is still producing music, painting and using the written word to express himself.

Photo by Akka Ballenger Constantin

COMMISSION PROJECT:

The creative process remains a mystery to me at the young and happy age of seventy two. I no longer care to think about it. I have found that patience and being prepared for what the brain is willing to offer is the best process when it comes to finding something original and it’s best to have no intellectual walls in place.

Golden Earrings, by Harvey Welsh
Sunshine, by Harvey Welsh
The Rains are Coming




Erin Stonestreet

Photo supplied by the artist.

ARTIST BIO:

Erin Stonestreet is an contemporary realist artist with a practice focused on figurative art and portraiture.  Working primarily in oils and drawing media, she is fascinated by the moment when patches of line, shape and colour morph into the illusion of reality,  and the way gesture and framing can influence our view of a subject.  Recognising that traditional portraiture has normally only reflected a small subset of the population, she is interested in expanding the tradition of oil portraiture to a wider, more representative community.

Erin has studied widely in Australia, the US and France, including with Robert Liberace, Ted Reed, Dan Thompson, Teresa Oaxaca, and Shane Wolfe, and has participated in group shows in both the US and Australia.  Her work is held in private collections in Australia, the US and the UK.

Photo supplied by the artist.

COMMISSION PROJECT:

Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on the arts sector (among many others). But at a grassroots level, many people have turned to traditional arts and crafts to help them deal with the mental impact of the pandemic, either taking up new hobbies, or immersing themselves more deeply into existing ones. Hannah Spinning is a portrait of my sister-in-law, a dedicated weaver and fibre artist, during lockdown, spinning at a Windwheel (a unique Australian version of a spinning wheel).





Louise Cooke

Photo supplied by the artist.

ARTIST BIO:

My goal is to combine my love for art, wellbeing, healing to empower others. I paint in mixed media, predominantly using ink, water colour and acrylic. I also love to take photographs. My subject choices include botanical and organic themes to the more esoteric. I believe that the act of creating art provides opportunities for transformative healing and personal growth. So my artwork usually tells a story. My intuitive artwork is inspired by the beauty found in nature, spirit and the world around me. My art work is usually stylised, colourful, layered, expressed through the flawed beauty or wabi sabi aesthetic.

Photo supplied by the artist.

COMMISSION PROJECT:

Finding sanctuary in nature

This series talks to how nature lifted my spirits and inspired my creativity through lock down.  In the crazy of the past two years, I found myself glad to be cocooned in my sanctuary to uncoil, rest, and rejuvenate through lockdown. In one way or other, we have all been impacted by the pandemic.

This is Canberra’s second experience of lockdown. I had some hic cups the first time around so this year initially raised some trepidation for me – I had to do this lockdown better – and drew on my learnings from 2020. I implemented strategies early on to support me and adapt to the uncertainty that comes with a pandemic. Key strategies included daily nature walks and photography.

Tuning into nature is a restorative practice, opening up a sense of calm, creativity and inspiration.  Nature is truly magical and I feel blessed to live in walking distance to a Mountain that gives so much to the surrounding community. During lock down, it was bustling with people and dogs like an ant nest before rain. The majority of photographs are on the Mount Taylor Nature Reserve, and a few on Cooleman Ridge Nature Reserve, Chapman and Westwood Farm, Kambah. My photographs reflect the life force energy I encountered and the accompanying words capture my thoughts. 

Creative Response

Engaging with nature and in creativity is acting as a buffer against the negativity associated with the pandemic and lockdown. While the current Canberra lock down has its share of deficits, it also has its benefits and tuning into nature is on the top of the list for me.

I feel grateful that I can work from home, with confidence, safely and with ease. My office job has me sitting in front of a computer. I quickly found that working from home, while very convenient, had the potential to make me even more desk bound with screen based meetings, and that wasn’t going to work for me. I found very quickly that I couldn’t just sit in front of the screen all day and needed to walk regularly.  Within the confines of lockdown, the natural world brings me solace and balance whether its in my own garden or through regular walks in nature.  I am not alone in dusting off my walking shoes, I have not ever seen the Mount Taylor trails as busy with people and their dogs.

My walks have become a daily ritual, as they are source of strength and motivation through lock down. Tuning back into nature is a restorative practice, which feeds my soul, nourishing and grounding me; opening up a sense of calm, creativity and inspiration.  

Over the pasts month, I will create a series of work to document my local walks during lockdown. I will compile photographs thematically through form, space, colour and line to create repetition, unity and harmony. I will journal my reflections against each composition. These reflections will speak to my observations of my walks and interpretations of my photographs.