YOUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO WHAT’S ON IN CANBERRA THIS WEEKEND! Every Monday for more than eight…
This Friday 30 January, RAW Canberra will bring together over 30 local emerging artists for their latest arts showcase VISIONARY. The one night extravaganza will be the first of six events to be run by RAW Canberra in 2015, which will feature artists from a diverse range of practices including fashion, music, visual and performing arts and more.
Founded by Heidi Luera in Los Angeles in 2009, RAW: Natural Born Artists is “an independent arts organisation, for artists, by artists.” RAW currently runs events in nearly 60 cities across the United States, Australia, Canada and the UK. Essentially, RAW provides a platform for artists to come together and show off their work to the local community.
If you’ve never been to a RAW showcase before then just try to imagine an art market, a fashion parade and a live music concert, all rolled into one big night.
Historically, the Canberra events have been held at Academy and Uni Pub, but this year will see RAW move to Belconnen Arts Centre. Showcase Director Sarina Del Fuego is excited to launch the 2015 RAW showcases at the new venue.
“Belconnen Arts Centre is great. It is a big open space but contains some fun areas to wander through and find treasures,” says Sarina.
“It’s great to hold an arts event in an arts space and one so supportive. With high ceilings, great sound and outdoor area; we believe this is just going to be a wonderful way to start 2015 for RAW. There will be a pop-up food station and bar created by Treehouse. We have had a sneak peak at the menu and can’t wait to taste-test the delights.”
Sarina is no stranger to the arts – the burlesque and cabaret performer has been involved as Director of RAW in Canberra since the first showcase in September 2013.
“I’m a part of RAW because of the challenges; there are so many variables with events and the arts – that’s what makes it so rewarding when it all comes together. Simple challenges like just getting set up on time, to big challenges like finding the perfect combination of artists.
When asked what her favourite RAW moments have been so far, Sarina doesn’t hesitate to answer.
“My favourite memories and experiences were, and are, meeting the artists for the first time and seeing their displays or work come together on the night,” she shares.
“Then the biggest one is seeing where they go after RAW. It is so great to see the smile on an artist’s face when they sell their work or get on a RAW stage for the first time.
“We have been lucky enough to play a small part in helping local artists move to the next level in their creative careers. We get so much joy out of seeing an artist who has showcased as part of the RAW family go on to bigger and better things.”
Another first for RAW Canberra in 2015 is the debut of the first mother and daughter to exhibit work in the same show.
Hanny Dewar of Hanny-d Creations will be presenting her latest collection of bespoke handmade clothing, handbags and accessories.
“Hanny-d Creations is committed to bringing awareness to the need for sustainable and eco-friendly practises in the fashion industry. I use recycled resources whenever possible,” says Hanny, who personally designs and creates each item by using a combination of new and upcycled fabrics and materials.
Hanny explains that she began designing clothes almost by accident.
“Growing up in a poor migrant family, money was scarce,” she says.
“If I wanted something to wear it was either make a trip to the St Vincent de Paul op shop or make something for myself. I would use different combinations of pattern pieces my mother had and changed the designs to my liking. I designed my first outfit from scratch at the age of 16, preferring to be an individual rather than a trend follower.”
Her daughter Kristi will be exhibiting her work as an artist under the name Kristimade.
“Kristi has always been interested in art and craft for as long as I can remember. I thought she showed talent from an early age [but] it wasn’t until high school that I realised just how much talent was lying hidden – now you can’t stop her!” Hanny says.
“My other daughter, Lee Mackay is helping me backstage in the green room, so it’s truly a family affair!”
One of the great things about RAW is that each event brings together a unique group of artists, with different experiences, techniques and styles.
For textile designer Claudia Owen, VISIONARY is just the beginning of a big year ahead.
“This year I will have some of my work at the Hong Kong Houseware Fair, Canton Fair in China as well as Surtex in the United States which is one of the largest art licensing shows in the world,” says Claudia.
Formally trained in graphic design, Claudia fell in love with surface pattern design and currently has her designs available for sale as fabrics, furnishings, accessories and homewares across a range of sites online. However, this will be the first time she has exhibited her work in-person.
“The majority of my work is done online and because of that, as a challenge and as a way to grow as a designer, I decided that it was time to step out of my comfort zone and have my work on display at an actual physical venue,” she confesses.
“I’m looking forward to connecting with people in my own local area. I’m really happy that RAW will allow me to do that.
“I’ve been wanting to do a RAW show for months now but it has taken me a long time to put a collection of work together that I was happy with. I think this will be the perfect way to launch my collection and I hope it is well received.”
Not all the artists at RAW are new to exhibiting in Canberra. One such artist is Tabitha Mann, who graduated from CIT at the end of last year with a Bachelor of Photography. The photographic based artist describes her work as “dreamy, visceral and soft”.
“This is the second RAW showcase I have exhibited at,” says Tabitha.
“I chose to become involved again when I saw that RAW will be at the Belconnen Arts Centre because I believe this space will be an excellent venue for my art. I have previously exhibited at the Huw Davies Gallery, The School of Art Gallery, The Front Gallery, The High Court, Ona Cafe & Gallery and ANCA gallery.
“I am so excited to be working on a new mixed media series to exhibit at the next RAW showcase. I have been developing this concept for months now and seeing it all come together is both thrilling and lovely. I am working on a new body of work for the upcoming RAW showcase, I cannot reveal too much but I am experimenting with collage, polaroids and flowers.”
When asked about the challenges and benefits of working as an artist in Canberra, Tabitha says, “I believe Canberra is becoming a much more artistic and creative place to live and work then perhaps it once was. I have found Canberra to be a supportive community for an artist to work in, with many galleries offering group members exhibitions, many types of grants available and so on.”
What: RAW Canberra presents Visionary
When: 7.30pm, Friday 30 January
Where: Belconnen Arts Centre, 118 Emu Bank Belconnen
How much: $16.50 online or $20 on the door
Contact: Sarina Del Fuego 0451 114 360 or email Sarina for more information