The Warrnambool Art Gallery (WAG) will celebrate the early days of summer this year and invite you to “get your glow on” at the Wallawar Festival for 10 days from November 26 to December 5.
This dynamic program offering free and ticketed events will bring exhibitions, art and dance performances, conversations, workshops, a children’s entrepreneur market, gala events, and a sense of celebration to the Gallery precinct.
Wallawar is Peek Woorong language for glow and the Gallery team has worked to develop an immersive event that will bring life and energy back to Warrnambool after a long winter.
Warrnambool Mayor Cr Richard Ziegeler said Wallawar was a chance for everyone to reconnect with art and expression and bring some joy back to the community.
“It’s wonderful that the WAG is able to offer events like painting en plein air at the Tower Hill volcanic landscape, challenging and stimulating exhibitions, talks and events where people can come together for conversations, ideas and celebrating life in south-west Victoria,” Cr Ziegeler said.
WAG Director Vanessa Gerrans said the Tower Hill en plein air painting day on Saturday, November 27, was a rare opportunity for people to come and watch or paint the majestic scenery with 30 of Australia’s leading artists including Rick Amor, Sue Anderson, Philip Davey, Amanda Johnson, Martin King, Carmel Wallace and Joseph Zbukvic at work.
Wallawar will begin with a launch party on Friday, November 26, from 6pm to 8pm featuring three new exhibitions, Black & Gold, Pakayn Marree Weerrath Women’s Tools curated by Gunditjmara woman Dr Vicki Couzens, and Justin Shoulder’s Carrion: Origins.
The launch will also feature a video installation by RDYSTDY and artist Gosia Wlodarczak in action as she uses a gold pen on the wall of the Black & Gold exhibition space to encode and capture the gestures and glances of visitors.
Artists in action is exciting aspect of the Wallawar Festival where audiences can watch artists and see works evolve before their eyes, inside and outside the gallery.
“Ash Keating’s action painting Sunset Response will be a dynamic experience as he uses fire extinguishers filled with paint to spray the entire Gallery façade with colour over five days from 29 November and recreate some of those seemingly impossible colours of the skies and atmospherics of the South West,” Ms Gerrans said.
Maar Nation stories from Elders ‘What the Ancestors Would Have Seen’ shared by Kirrae Whurrong artist and curator Sherry Johnstone through her designs on a three-metre inflatable ‘Moon’ for the Civic Green; for three days from Friday, December 3.
“Sherry had a yarn with Elders including Dennis Rose and Uncle Robbie Lowe Senior and heard early stories about – looking out over Lake Condah and seeing lava flows; lightning and fire pits; finding stone tools buried in the lava flows at Tower Hill; seeing glow worms in the Otways and when the ancestors began to see the fires of white settlers glowing in the distance,” Ms Gerrans said.
“We are also using the Wallawar festival to engage with the local community and hear their views on the future of the WAG and the options to extend the current building or build a new gallery at Cannon Hill.
“There will be drop-in sessions and workshops with the project consultants SMA Tourism, so people can have their say.”
Other highlights of the Festival include a Friends of the Gallery art appreciation and morning tea, a Christmas shopping event in the Gallery shop with generous discounts and the launch of the Ngatook Collective products, developed by young Aboriginal women from the South West.
Young budding entrepreneurs are encouraged to take part in a children’s market on Saturday, December 4, where they can book a one-hour slot in one of 8 mini-sized stalls to sell things they have made.
“Keeping the creative, entrepreneurial spirit of Warrnambool fuelled with new ideas is an important part of our culture and encouraging young people is essential. We will hold some workshops before the market for children to come and make things to sell,” Ms Gerrans said.
Wallawar will culminate with music and a Golden Dance Party on the Civic Green on Sunday, December 5. Everyone is invited to wear something golden and hear Bernie Opperman and friends play, followed by the celebration of Senior of the Year, dance performances and an invitation for everyone to dance away the rest of the afternoon to the music of swing, line dance and Zumba.
Wallawar has a full and fun program which can be downloaded from the WAG website www.thewag.com.au or pick up a copy at the gallery.