Spreading their wings

This artwork by local photographer Cal MacKinnon, entitled One day John woke to find Minnie had left to join the circus, is one of the artworks on show in Chrysalis at the Lismore Regional Gallery.

When Arts Northern Rivers invited curators from as far a field as Sydney and Brisbane to visit the region and assess the work of burgeoning local artists, little did they know the result would be an exhibition Chrysalis: The Emergence of Northern Rivers Artists.

The curators were invited to take part in the Visual Arts Network (VAN) Curatorial Panels, where they met local artists, viewed their work and provided critical feedback and advice.

Its a bit of a two way process really, says VAN co-ordinator Melitta Firth. A way for local artists to look out at the national art scene and make some connections, and a way for curators to look in and get a feel for what is happening in the arts here. While the curators were here, they each selected one outstanding local artist to be featured in this exhibition.

Opening at the Lismore Regional Gallery this Friday, August 18, Chrysalis profiles the work of 20 emerging and established artists and builds on the North Coasts growing reputation as a place for serious art collectors to discover Australias artistic stars of the future.

Be it Avital Sheffers ceramic vessels influenced by her Middle Eastern background, Garth Lenas sculptures which draw from his indigenous heritage or Dan Clemmetts metal works inspired by his upbringing in a panel beating workshop, the artists in Chrysalis come from a unique mix of backgrounds and professions. This makes it not only visually exciting, but also means a rich variety of themes are explored, from identity and personal history to broader observations on politics, ecology and social history.

Chrysalis: The Emergence of Northern Rivers Artists opens at the Lismore Regional Gallery this Friday at 6pm. It will remain on show until September 31.

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