The group exhibition, 3 Stone Fire; Sharing the HeARTh, kindled plenty of inspiration last weekend. Around 200 local art lovers attended Friday night’s opening celebration at the Parkes Library’s Coventry Room, with dozens more visiting over the weekend. The exhibition was a collaboration between three local artists, Rosalie Burns from Forbes, and Parkes’ own Maralyn Nash and Jo Laurie. The trio had planned the exhibition to coincide with the Artlands Regional Arts Festival that was held in Dubbo last week as they wanted to bring the celebration of art to our community.
Margaret Jones drew on her impressive career in education to deliver a rousing opening speech that reflected the importance of art and culture in the community. Although art is often seen as an individual pursuit, it plays an important role in bringing people together and reflecting who we are. While many would expect an exhibition
by professional artists to be a formal affair, this exhibition offered a more immersive approach to the practice. Whilst the artists’ work was displayed in the traditional sense, there was also an intentionally interactive component to the exhibition.
The community weaving project invited visitors to choose a strand from a basket of different threads and fibres and weave it into an evolving piece on a loom, providing a symbolic representation of the notion of community. One Thousand Bells of Gratitude asked visitors to write a note of gratitude, which was then tied to a bamboo structure.
Many others participated in the family art workshops. Tapping Your Roots, allowed budding artists to use clay or collage to celebrate their connection with family. Red Bend Catholic College student Molly Cowan entertained the crowd with a live music performance, which helped to build the vibrant and joyful atmosphere that was enjoyed by the guests.
The exhibition centered on the theme of purpose through unity. It borrows from the traditional practice of using three stones to balance a cooking pot over a campfire, where the fire burns hotter in the space between the stones. The artists saw themselves as the stones, each with their own strengths and differences and the fire of creation burnt stronger between them, demonstrating the power of women working together.
Aside from raising spirits, the exhibition also raised funds. The artists collected $700, which Quota will donate to the Forbes Women’s Refuge. Rosalie said that she was absolutely filled with gratitude for the overwhelming response.
“We were all thrilled and so happy to be able to offer a significant donation to the women’s refuge from a supportive community,” she said. The artists also acknowledge the in-kind support from the Parkes Shire Council.
The exhibition closed with a ceremony involving meditation and drum healing, which also paid tribute to the healing power of art. Jo practices Reiki and massage, and Maralyn is a qualified art therapist. “Art is an amazing communication tool,” Maralyn said. “It is a bridge across cultures, classes, genders and generations.”
By Raen Fraser