Opening Speech

Josie Cavallaro, Arts Development, Accessible Arts

_MG_2840webThank you for inviting me to Wagga Wagga Art Gallery for the opportunity to talk about the exhibition, 8 Artists.

My name is Josie Cavallaro and I work in arts development at Accessible Arts, the peak arts and disability organisation across NSW. Our mission is to promote full inclusion, access, opportunities and leadership in the arts for people with disability through advocacy, education and information.

Whilst other art forms such as theatre and music are often hinged by collaboration, for visual artists, collaboration is not always business as usual, but rather, a new opportunity to explore one’s own working method and ideas from others’ perspectives.

Collaboration is a testing ground for experimentation, new ways of processing materials and making art.  At their best, collaborations are an opportunity to be brave and work through creative failures, disagreements and successes together. However, integral to true collaboration is the building of trust and respect, which deepens as the project progresses.

8 Artists produced by Eastern Riverina Arts, enabled a 10 month gestation period to foster the rich outcomes that we see in the exhibition this evening.

In the collaboration between Vic McEwan and Scott Lea we see an immersive installation touched by the artists’ shared experience of loss. To reap the rewards of Remembrance Room, I encourage you to take the time to sit and reflect within this work.

Between artists Angela Coombs Matthews and Kellie Hulm – a shared love of mark making as a response to their physical environment appears to form the catalyst for their collective voice.

For sisters’ duo – Jacqui Meyers and Julia Davis – their collaboration was an opportunity to reflect on identity, home and belonging.  And I must say, collaborating with family is very brave – or maybe that’s my family I’m projecting about!

In the work produced by Wayne Emerson and Jeff McCann, we literally see the threads of conversation, the layering of themes and woven stories that formed the common ground in this collaboration- which to the viewer appears loud, robust and confident … looked like a lot of fun!

Accessible Arts congratulates Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, Eastern Riverina Arts,  Kurrajong Warratah and of course, the artists, for developing a progressive opportunity that aims for artists with and without disability to create and be received on an equal footing.

With this, I congratulate you all.