Big plans see Dreams and Aspirations

Published on 15 November 2023

david goebel and sarah whiting.jpg

It’s almost time for an annual highlight of the Glenelg Shire arts calendar and if those behind Dreams and Aspirations are anything to go by, the exhibition is only going to get bigger and better.

Dreams and Aspirations, featuring creative works from the disability community, will run at the Portland Arts Centre from 23 November to February 2.

The annual group exhibition sees participants invited to create work based on their interpretation of the exhibition title, ‘Dreams and Aspirations’, using any medium, and works can be produced by individual artists or groups.

Portland Arts Centre invited local artist and disability support worker, Rory Carter, to facilitate collaborative drawing sessions, which produced large-scale drawings that feature in the exhibition.

Beyond the art itself, the sessions were structured to encourage and foster creative practice, play, and confidence building.

Mornings and afternoons were spent, drawing, talking, laughing, listening to music and being together.

Artists were able to spend as much or as little time as they liked on the work, filling in paper with no rules.

Several media were used – pencils, ink and watercolour, and the contributions ranged from tiny mark-making, portraits, patterns, shapes, and vibrant use of colour.

‘Dreams and Aspirations’ looks to build inclusion and skill building across other aspects of the exhibition, inviting participants to contribute to marketing, installation, and gallery roles during the opening event.

The creativity and freedom of expression shown by the disability community is sure to inspire all who attend the show.

And it has certainly inspired the artists as well as their facilitator.

Sarah Whiting, 22, is working on a painting of a peacock, based on a photograph she took while on holiday at Churchill Island.

“I’m looking forward to this exhibition and people seeing this peacock, they are magnificent birds,” she said.

“I’ve been doing art ever since I was 5-6 years old and I’ve loved it ever since.

“I like landscape (painting) the best. Rory’s been giving me good feedback about being free with the paintbrush. “The best thing about doing artwork is expressing your emotion, your imagination and your creativity and showing everyone what your creativity brings out, and inspiring others.

“I want to show more of it to other people.”

David Goebel is an artist well-known locally and a bit of an old hand at exhibitions, having done three previous solo shows.

Music is a common theme in his work, including the Guitar Graffiti show done in collaboration with local sculptor Phil Cousins – those guitars have now been turned into bird houses.

This time around Mr Goebel is also working on a musically themed artwork, which features a band made up of people he knows and wants to get together to rehearse.

But there’s more to it than that.

“There’s a seal in the ocean (at popular Portland surf beach Crumpets), the seal comes out and is going to eat people,” he said.

“The band is in the water as well.”

Mr Carter loves the ideas he’s seeing.

“With art you can bend and stretch the truth and it’s the reality on paper,” he said.

And Mr Carter’s equally impressed with the leadership the artists are showing.

“Dave’s helping lead this show with his ideas, he’s been leading the charge,” Mr Carter said.

“That’s been really cool to see and he’s talking about where things should go and the curation, which is really good to see, that depth of knowledge.” Some of those ideas could influence the future direction of the show to make it even more of an all-encompassing event.

“Dave wants the artists to have staff roles on the night, serving drinks, welcoming people at the door and going beyond the actual art and fulfilling roles in the creative sector but also the marketing, such as dropping off fliers,” Mr Carter said.

Other plans including eventually using the PAC theatre for performance art as part of the exhibition, and of course with Mr Goebel involved, music (and a meal) might well be part of future shows as well.

“The sector has many opportunities to break down the boundaries of what this space (PAC) can be,” Mr Carter said.

It seems only natural the way Dreams and Aspirations has grown and changed.

“I first was engaged with it in my role at Kyeema (Support Services) as a support worker,” Mr Carter said.

“In the past you put in works as an individual or group dropped off the works closer to the date but this year I’ve been really enthused about a little bit of pre-planning and different roles (artists) might fill.

“Also doing some of the workshops in the Arts Centre in the Green Room has been fun.

“We all just sat around with a huge piece of paper, had a good time chatting and talking and armed with pencils and paper as a by-product this art emerged.”

‘This art’ refers to a collaborative piece by several of the artists which has taken shape.

“I think that’s been really cool and contributes to the quality of the show,” Mr Carter said.

Photo caption: David Goebel and Sarah Whiting show off some of the art they are working on for the Dreams and Aspirations exhibition. In front of them is a collaborative piece by several of the artists.


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