Students rumble at The Unconformity

The Rumble The Unconformity Art Biennale Queenstown Tasmania

Queenstown is a small mining town in remote western Tasmania that is facing acute socio-economic challenges.

“The Rumble” was the opening event for the Unconformity Biennial Art Festival, which was held in in October 2016. The concept involved a group of bespoke industrial vehicles, designed and modified by local residents, parading through the centre of town. The vehicles were designed to represent the changing industry and evolving identity of the community.

A $3,500 grant from the Small Grants for Rural Communities program, funded by the Bertalli Family Foundation, enabled youth to participate in the Festival, under the skilled eye of Tasmanian artist Selena de Carvalho. She completed a residency at the local school, working collaboratively with students and teachers, mentoring them in designing the vehicles that were the centerpiece of the opening event. A core group of 14 students were chosen to work intimately on the project.

Originally that was all that was planned, but the students branched off to create more works, which they called The Space in Between. This included digitally edited self-portrait collages, poetry vignettes exploring sense of identity and lifestyle in a remote community, and a zine documenting the creative outcomes of the project.

This was a rare opportunity for the students to gain personal tuition in art from one of Tasmania’s leading early career artists. Students participated in sessions about the creative process, as well as workshops to support the individual works they created. Students learnt skills such as writing, engaging with creative directors, editing digital artwork, photography and publishing a zine.

The impacts of the project extended to the teaching staff too, with Selena introducing dialogue on the value of artistic endeavor and creative subjects. Pleasingly, it will not be a one-off, with the school securing funding for a dedicated art teacher from mid-2017 and the artist agreeing to another residency in 2018.

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