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UNLEASHED 2024

UNLEASHED 2024

Main Gallery | 22 June - 19 October 2024

  

Artists: Alicia Allan | Ash and Kirralee Robinson | Anita Wano-Sumner | Aurora Elwell | Bunda Art | EB Jewellery | Julya Hegarty | Rick Hayward
Exhibition: Unleashed 2024 
Celebrating Queensland's rising craft & design practitioners

 

artisan is thrilled to present the 2024 edition of our long-standing Unleashed exhibition, shining a spotlight on the next generation of Queensland's most promising craft and design talent. For over two decades, this exhibition has launched the careers of many of the state's talented emerging artists and designers. 

For 2024, Unleashed has brought together a curated selection of outstanding early-career practitioners nominated by arts leaders from every corner of Queensland. A panel of esteemed curators, educators, and artists - including Anna Varendorff, Delvene Cockatoo-Collins, Dr Elizabeth Shaw, Dr Carol McGregor, Ian Were and Trish Szonert - has worked with Artisan's team to identify a diverse cohort reflecting the incredible talents from across Queensland.  

This state-wide survey celebrates the future of Queensland craft and design, exploring how today's innovators are converging traditional techniques with cutting-edge concepts. From ceramics and furniture design, jewellery and more, experience the fresh perspectives and bold visions that make this exhibition a must-see biennial event. 

This is a chance to discover the Queensland’s pioneers poised to shape Queensland's creative landscape for years to come. Join us at the opening event on June 21 as we unveil and celebrate UNLEASHED 2024!

Opening Event: RSVP HERE

  

 

 

2024 UNLEASHED artists: 

 

 

Rick Hayward

Meanjin / Brisbane

Rick Hayward (2024) ‘A’ Chair, ebonised Blackwood and Danish Paper Cord. 190 x 90 x 45cm. Photography by Rick Hayward.
Rick Hayward (2024). Asym Mirror, ebonised Blackwood, 12k White Gold, 22k Moon Gold, Glass. 600 x 400 x 30cm. Photography by Daniel Mulheran.

 

Rick Hayward is a Meanjin (Brisbane) based emerging artist and maker with a passion for traditional craftsmanship. Originally trained as a traditional signwriter, he completed a Certificate IV in Furniture Design and Manufacture at the esteemed Sturt School for Wood in Mittagong, NSW, in 2023. Hayward's dedication and skill were recognised when he was awarded Student of the Year by the representative body Studio Woodworkers Australia and by his recent accolade as the winner of the Wootha Prize. He has since established his workshop in Red Hill, Brisbane, seamlessly blending his existing skillset with his newly acquired expertise.

Hayward's practice is grounded in traditional skills and techniques, exploring how the meditative qualities of discipline and process within craftsmanship can alter consciousness and perceptions of reality. Utilising a range of traditional mediums, including hardwood, gold leaf, and glass, he seeks to realise the union of the material and the metaphysical in creating harmonious, multi-dimensional works as explorations of the human condition.

Exhibited in Unleashed are three significant works that exemplify Hayward's mastery of traditional techniques. Meticulously crafted, Hayward's designs explore the harmonious fusion of form and function, investigating the proportion, space, and ergonomics in relation to the human form. With hand-cut joinery and hand-woven paper cord, his works invite both physical and mental comfort, offering a respite from the hustle of daily life.

 

 

 

Anita Wano-Sumner (nee Ah Wang)

Yuwi Country (Mackay)
Nominated by Artspace Mackay

Anita Wano-Sumner (2024), Big Waru (Turtle) My Totem, natural raffia. 97.5 x 105 x 4cm. Photography by Cherrie Hughes.

 

Aunty Anita Wano-Sumner (nee Ah Wang) was born and raised in Mackay. Her interest has always been in handcrafts whether it be crochet, or dressmaking/sewing and now as a weaver.
She uses weaving methods from her husband’s heritage; the cultural art of Ngarrindjeri (Lakun) weaving with reeds and rushes taught to her by South Australia local elders (2012 – 2016). She travelled to many areas in South Australia with her two Ngarrindjeri mentors Phyllis Williams and Eileen McHughes where she observed other traditional weaving styles of weaving from South Australia, Victoria, Northern Territory and Central Australia. She is using the Ngarrindjeri weaving cultural practice and through this she is connecting with her Torres Strait Islander heritage. Her Torres Strait Islander cultural practices have survived and continue to be expressed through her weaving.

Big Waru is an intricately woven design, made from collected natural raffia and lomandra grass. The work pays homage to the sea turtle, a deeply respected and sacred totem representing wisdom for Aunty Anita’s Torres Strait Islander family from Badu Island. The looping patterns evoke the webbing on a turtle’s carapace, while circles woven from twined raffia represent the interconnected families and communities of the Torres Strait. Big Waru emerged from Aunty Anita’s dedication to sustaining culture and building connections across generations through the cultural art of weaving.

 

 

EB Jewellery

Ebony Birks

Meanjin (Brisbane)
Nominated by QUT Art Museum and Blaklash

EB Jewellery (2024). Photography by Ebony Birks.
EB Jewellery (2024) The Reflect Earrings, silver. 10 x 3 x 0.175cm. Photography by Ebony Birks

Ebony Birks, jeweller and designer behind EB Jewellery, is a proud descendant of the Kamilaroi and Dunghutti people and draws inspiration from both her cultural background and modern influences when creating her hand-crafted pieces. Ebony takes artistic inspiration from an enduring sense of identity and personal relationship to country.

Her studio currently in Brisbane, Ebony is a young designer with a distinctive aesthetic to her art and jewellery. Using recycled Australian precious metals, Ebony’s brand aims to demonstrate the significance of the environment through jewellery design.

Ebony has recently started a new approach with her brand by taking a slow approach against the fast fashion world by producing and designing one-off pieces that will only be made once. A pathway for Ebony to continue designing and exploring jewellery that will be unique pieces of art.

 

 

 

Aurora Elwell

Yuggera Ugarapul lands (Lockyer Valley)
Nominated by Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery

Aurora Elwell (2023) Alter Ego (diptych), midfire clay and glaze. 64 x 18 x 18cm, 59 x 17 x 17cm. Photography by Aurora Elwell.
Aurora Elwell (2023) Balance, midfire clay and glaze. 50 x 30 x 30cm. Photography by Anna Singleton.

 

Residing in the Lockyer Valley, Aurora Elwell recently graduated with a Bachelor of Creative Arts with Honours from the University of Southern Queensland. 

Oversized ceramic vessels act as a metaphor for the human condition throughout Elwell’s work. Examining desires, ideas and emotions through the tactile medium and sculptural forms. The series featured in Unleashed explores notions of balancing complex and contrasting emotions. Diptych Alter Ego explores alternate sides of the artists’ personality, reflecting on the dichotomy through two contrasting yet complementary vessels. One exuberant and the other introspective, examining the desire to harmonize these internal elements. Balance examines the desire to gain harmony in a difficult environment. The deeply personal works emerge from Elwell’s reflections on her own emotional landscape.

 

 

 

Alicia Allan

Meanjin (Brisbane) 

Alicia Allan (2024). Unruly Garden, Silver. Dimensions variable. Photographed by Alicia Allan.

Contemporary jeweller Alicia Allan works primarily in sterling silver, copper, enamel, and gold from her home studio in Meanjin (Brisbane). After leaving an academic research career to focus on her artistic practice in 2020, Allan has built her creative career, exhibiting her work for the first time in 2022. With a background in psychology and research, her perspective is greatly informed by how we perceive and relate to the natural world.

Allan's Unruly Garden series celebrates the contradictions of gardening - our desire to cultivate and control nature, while nature insists on growing according to its own unruly rhythms. Meticulously crafted in precious metals, the pieces in this series immortalize ornamental and weedy plants that have demanded the artist's attention by straining against the boundaries of her own garden. In rendering these botanical subjects, Allan invites viewers to consider which plants we choose to celebrate versus contain, and how presenting nature in precious metal both venerates and possesses it for human purposes. The series explores our enduring compulsion to adorn ourselves with nature's beauty while seeking to manage the natural world.

 

 

 

 

Ash and Kirralee Robinson

Meanjin (Brisbane)
Nominated by Ipswich Art Gallery

 

Kirralee and Ash Robinson (2023) Spill. 135 x 50 x 35cm.

Brisbane craftspeople Ash and Kirralee Robinson owned and operated a small business making timber homewares. Kirralee Robinson’s practice revolves around the exploration of elemental phenomena through sculptures and functional pieces. Her works delve into the realms of light, optics, kinetics, and tactility, influenced by the worlds of science fiction, ecofeminist theory, and material conservation. Ash is a craftsman interested in learning new skills across all media and particularly enjoys restoring timber to highlight its natural grains. Together they have created a collection of furniture, and this is their first time collaborating since turning to study and new lines of work during Covid.

Spill is a range of furniture made from reclaimed materials such as Australian hardwood, which have been embellished with gold, copper and silver coloured leaf. The pieces take cues from the architectural world of imagined spaces depicted in Professor Lauretta Vinciarelli’s watercolour paintings. The Spill objects respond to their environment, becoming mediating conduits through which natural light is amplified, materialised, and experienced in real time.

These furniture pieces intrinsically and explicitly explore concepts and methodologies relating to material waste, while also emphasising ambient environmental shifts. They move our focus to the reciprocal relationship that materials have with social and ecological systems.

    

 

Bunda Art

Roy Gray (Gimuy Walaburra Yidinji Elder)
Jo-Ann Beikoff "Milba"

Gimuy (Cairns)
Nominated by NorthSite Contemporary Art Centre

 

Bunda Art (2024). Tree Totem Collection: Pandanus), Flame Tree, Paper Bark, mixed medium. dimensions variable. Photography by NorthSite Contemporary Arts.

Bunda comes from the Idinji word meaning "putting things together to make something”.
The family connection between Roy Gray (Gimuy Walaburra Yidinji Elder) and Jo-Ann Beikoff "Milba", spans 50 years. Through their multi-generational family friendship, they are creating their own contemporary take on traditional art forms that have impacted Roy during his lifetime. Roy gave the name Milba to Jo-Ann Beikoff. Milba means Clever. Through their artistic partnership and reconciliation, Roy's childhood stories and history are brought to life through Milba's artistic interpretation and presentation.

The Totem Tree Collection represent Gray’s strong childhood memories, learning the traditional hunter-gatherer way of life and appreciation of natural resources provided by the lands of Yidiny people. The series aims to honour and pass on the cultural knowledge and practices that sustained his long line of ancestors.

 

 

Julya Hegarty

Gubby Gubby Country (Sunshine Coast)
Nominated by Sunshine Coast Regional Gallery

Julya Hegarty (2024). Twelve Horses of the Apocalypse, hand coloured slip, vessel and base, hand cut black clay flowers, handmade ceramic unicorns, clear glaze and gold lustre. 51cm x 33cm x 33cm. Photographed by Julya Hegarty.

 

Julya Hegarty lives and works on Gubbi Gubbi country at the base of the Blackall Ranges in the small rural township of Woombye. Hegarty's practice is a tapestry of memories, experiences, and cultural narratives. She describes her work as familial memories and experiences of place, created through a combination of compositional experimentation and imaginative remembrance.

Hegarty’s series of ceramic works featured in Unleashed are as detailed as they are elaborate. Adorned with thousands of hand-made flowers and adorned with gilded unicorns, the designs capture and command presence. Hegarty describes the series as an exploration of deception, containing metaphors for lies and whispered untruths, inviting the viewer to challenge our perceptions and understanding of truth itself.   

   

 

 

 

Hero image:

Rick Hayward (2024) ‘A’ Chair, ebonised Blackwood and Danish Paper Cord. 190 x 90 x 45cm. Photography by Rick Hayward.
Aunty Anita Wano-Sumner (2024), Big Waru (Turtle) My Totem, natural raffia. 97.5 x 105 x 4cm. Photography by Cherrie Hughes.
Aurora Elwell (2023) Balance, midfire clay and glaze. 50 x 30 x 30cm. Photography by Anna Singleton.