TONI TEN BENSEL
LINDA VAN NIEKERK
Date: 21-Apr-2007 – 13-May-2007
Location: Contemporary Art Tasmania
In 2006 Arts Tasmania funded CAST to commission a series of curators to produce an exhibition each of Tasmanian craft and design. The ideas behind the project was to support an ‘outsider’ to open up new perspectives on the Tasmanian craft and design sector and produce a different type of exhibition that could lead to new opportunities for engagement and relations both within the sector and between practitioners and new audiences elsewhere.
Making Relations (2006), curated by Suzie Attiwill, was the first exhibition and was exhibited at CAST Gallery before touring to Devonport Regional Art Gallery. Nourish is the second exhibition in the series. Curator Zara Stanhope is Senior Curator, Assistant Director at Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne. This project has two distinct parts – a voluntary register of Tasmanian craft and design practitioners that acts as a freely available promotional vehicle for participants and the sector; and the exhibition, Nourish, which includes the work of 11 Tasmanian practitioners whose work focuses on environmental issues and sustainability.
Stanhope’s intention with this exhibition was to build broader relationships with, and between, the State’s craft and design practitioners and to throw open the doors to all practitioners to include their work and themselves in the guide. 76 practitioners accepted the invitation to provide a high quality image of their work, an artist statement, introductions and contact details in the freely available catalogue – a successful outcome to Stanhope’s desired democratic opportunity to all who wished to be published. This guide also represents an effective bringing together of a disparate and often isolated group of practitioners.
While Stanhope describes this exhibition an ancillary to the register and believes that exhibitions in galleries can sometimes be static, fixed events, in CAST Gallery Nourish provides a focus and a welcoming introduction to a number of craft and design practitioners working in all media across the spectrum of professionalism and career positions and their audiences. It illustrates that there is more to fostering craft, design and contemporary art than just exhibiting works – there is the fundamental support, promotion, encouragement and belief in the practitioners themselves, in all their forms and across definitions that, ultimately, builds a strong and vibrant community of contemporary art, craft and design. It is the mediums of communication – the catalogues, the guides, the reviews and the opportunities that can arise from all these – that provide the bridges between the often intense, highly focused, works and the wider world.