HousingFirst’s third tenant art exhibition, I am art … and this is me, opens at The Laneway Artspace in St Kilda on 15 September and runs until 2 October.
It promises to both surprise and excite, said James Wray, PPHA’s Manager of Housing and Service Development.
“People are surprised to discover that such a wealth of artistic talent exists amongst our tenants, all of whom survive on a low income. When they see the exhibitions, they can’t help but be bowled over by the quality of the artworks themselves and the diversity of art forms adopted,” Wray said.
“All round, PPHA houses a surprising number of tenants who are artists. Some are untrained, some are emerging whilst others are more established. What they all have in common, however, is an amazing story to tell and a passion for art whether it’s painting, drawing, collage, printmaking, sculpture, photography, ceramics, textiles, jewellery or light and kinetic art.
“Our exhibition is a great opportunity for the public to purchase art works at affordable prices – and give a financial boost to our tenants at the same time. The great things about art is that it has no limits, knows no boundaries.”
The I am art … and this is me exhibition is being organised by the PPHA Artist Collective which raised nearly $1300 at a recent Bunnings sausage sizzle to pay for the materials used by the artists.
One of the regular participating artists is Elwood tenant, Lisa Fam, who participated in the first exhibition in 2013. Since then, Fam has continued as an exhibiting artist with the PPHA Artist Collective and has had the opportunity to use her art therapy qualification to run three art therapy workshops for PPHA tenants.Others who live at PPHA’s Ashwood Chadstone Gateway units have attended art therapy sessions on site with a teacher from the Amaroo Neighbourhood House.
This year’s exhibition will involve over 30 artists and 50-60 artworks. Works will be on sale with artists getting a 100% of the asking prices. The Laneway Artspace is also offering three People’s Choice awards with 1st ($300), 2nd ($200) and 3rd ($100) prizes on offer.
Running Late - Graham Willoughby's artwork for the exhibition
One of the participating artists is Graham Willoughby, 74, who moved into PPHA’s new Essendon development, Wominjeka Apartments, late last year. Willoughby has variously worked as a cartographer, cleaner and furniture salesperson, and is now a professional artist, despite suffering from ankle, knee and back problems and lupus.
Next year will mark Willoughby’s 50th anniversary of exhibiting his artwork. He engages in a variety of art forms – water colour, gouache and occasionally, sculpture. He is planning to enter a water colour triptych in the PPHA exhibition.
“Art is my life,” he said. “If I don’t paint or draw, I get really cranky. The real me is in the paintings. Each painting or drawing reveals a different facet of me as a person.
The exhibition is the first in The Laneway Artspace’s Spring/Summer 2016 season.
In concert with this exhibition, it is hosting The Key Project – a living installation made by visitors to The Artspace leading up to, during, and immediately following the exhibition.
The Key Project will provide visitors to the Artspace with the opportunity to reflect on what ‘home’ means to them. It is inspired by the manifestation of love locks attached to the Pont des Arts, Paris.
Visitors will be able to engage with the installation in a number of ways – by dropping off old, found or purchased keys to The Artspace and placing them in a huge glass cylinder prior to the exhibition – and then by writing and/or drawing ‘what Home means to them’ on a piece of card and attaching their key and their card to a cyclone wire fence. The gallery hopes visitors will share photographs of their contributions across social media platforms.
PPHA is an independent, not-for-profit community housing organisation. It owns and manages affordable housing for over 1400 people in 1100 units spread across 31 different properties in six different municipalities – Port Phillip, Melbourne, Glen Eira, Kingston, Moonee Valley and Monash.
Launch 6-8pm Thursday 15 September.
Runs Friday 16 September – Sunday 2 October – The Laneway Artspace, 148A Barkly St., St Kilda, 10-6pm.
0411 122 038