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25 artists to showcase talents at Southern Cross University public exhibition


Jessica Nelson
6 August 2019

Southern Cross University has been a hub for artistic development and creativity since it began 25 years ago.

The University has supported the development of artistic culture regionally, nationally and internationally and the individual art practices of 700 students and 50 staff.

To celebrate its silver anniversary, the University has invited 25 high profile arts graduates to exhibit location-specific pieces across its Lismore and Gold Coast campuses on Australia’s east coast.

Senior Art and Design lecturer Dr Stephen Garrett said the curatorial team looked for artists who had sustained their art practice over time and who are continuing to achieve a high level of competency through single or diverse mediums and contexts.

The public exhibition entitled ‘25 Artists, 25 Years’ will run from today until 1 September, capturing the achievements of Southern Cross University’s art alumni and acknowledging the powerful exchange that happens in an educational setting for artists.

“The depth of the selected artists’ practices was considered not only for technical competence but also in terms of innovation and originality,” said Dr Garrett.

“The exhibition aims to showcase a variety of artistic expression including painting, sculpture, installation, video and mixed media, with a range of gender and age represented.”

Featured artists at Lismore campus include Karlee Rawkins, Chico Monks and Frances Belle Parker, while Gold Coast campus includes 3D works by Daniel Clemmett and Mic Eales, the iconic permanent 10-storey mural by Guido van Helten and Library exhibition including works from Valentina Palonen and Leah Thiessen.

Thiessen’s paintings examine the natural ecology of the Terranora Broadwater, with its mangroves and natural bush terrain as the catalyst for her work.

“In nature nothing is ever static, there is always sound, emotion, mood and memory that accompany the visual. I am able to store what I see in my subconscious mind until it’s ready to emerge, conveying a spirit of place,” she says.

Thiessen graduated in 2014, with what is now known as the Bachelor of Art and Design, and said having mentors that were actively exhibiting in prominent galleries gave her the skills and belief to pursue a solid studio practice and solo exhibitions throughout Australia.

“The painting studio was always alive with the buzz of three enthusiastic painting teachers, each teacher bringing different perspectives and skills to the class,” she says.

The Bachelor of Art and Design is offered at Southern Cross University Lismore campus, in the lush, green hills of the Northern Rivers; a creative hub that boasts one of the highest per capita concentrations of arts practitioners in the country.

Southern Cross University will host public Artist in Conversation sessions from 11am-12.30pm on Saturday 17 August at Lismore Campus Learning Centre with Melissa Harvey, Susan Gourley and Fiona Fell, facilitated by Peter Wood, CEO of Arts Northern Rivers, and on Sunday 18 August at Gold Coast campus Library with Annique Goldenberg, Daniel Clemmett and Leah Theissen, facilitated by Diana Warne, Head of Curatorial Projects at Home of the Arts (HOTA), Gold Coast.

The 25 Years 25 Artists exhibition is open to the public until 1 September with details at