beyond empathy | Your everyday stories in the art gallery
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Your everyday stories in the art gallery

Your everyday stories in the art gallery

The Armidale community transformed its everyday stories into art this month in an exhibition at the New England Regional Art Gallery. The installation will be on display until the 19 March.

This art installation is the last stage of the Australia Council funded community arts project Private Posts, which invited the whole community to create a postcard beginning with the prompt “I wish I had told you …”

Over the last six months, a pop up art cart has been wheeled into many public locations around Armidale. The community was invited to engage in the healing process of writing a message to someone who may now be unreachable, or revisiting a moment already past to say the words that had been left unsaid.

The original postcards are on display. They are a beautiful collage of many individual reflections. There are glimpses of deeply personal stories, insights into long-held regrets or lost love, some dreams and fantasy and a few humorous quips. Then there are stories from the everyday that resonate because of their familiarity.

Also on display is an animated film created by Jonathon larsen. He has merged the postcard text and images to create an exciting animated community story. “It has been very challenging and time consuming but in the end rewarding experience. Benjamin Thorn helped out by finding common threads in the text and cleverly knitting the story together. Strangely it all seems to make sense in the end” Jonathon said.

Another layer of the project involved using the postcard text as inspiration for a drama workshop. The outcomes of the improvising and devising drama workshop were filmed and are also part of the installation. Local thespian of note, Alex Robson worked with budding actors to create theatrical ‘portrait’ pieces inspired by the shared story.

For those who are less theatrically inclined, the familiar Private Posts pop up art cart has been wheeled into the exhibition space. You still have the chance to make a postcard and continue the community story.

The “I wish I had told you” animation and filmed workshop outcomes that feature as projections in the multi-platform installation at the New England Regional Art Museum will have an ongoing virtual presence online. Check out the web site www.privateposts.org.

Private Posts is a multi-layered Community Arts and Cultural Development project created by Project pARTners and managed in partnership with Beyond Empathy with the support of the Australia Council, New England Writers’ Centre, New England Regional Art Museum, University of New England, Locals4Locals and Armidale Regional Council.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.

 

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