Dubbo festival event draws established Australian artists

A winner of the Archibald Prize is among a throng of visiting and Dubbo artists set to participate in an event on the 2017 Macquarie Credit Union DREAM Festival program.

Wendy Sharpe, who won the Archibald Prize in 1996 with a self portrait called Diana of Erskineville, will take part in Dubbo’s inaugural Feast of Artists on October 20.

She will be in good company with 2015 Sydney Peace Prize winner and six-time finalist in the Archibald competition George Gittoes and his partner, performer Hellen Rose, also headed to Dubbo.

Academic and art critic Dr Andrew Frost, performance artist Frances Barrett and sculptor Caroline Rothwell will be presenters at the Feast of Artists.

All six artists will attend the Blood Mystic Dinner at Dubbo RSL Memorial Club on the night of October 20, to which the public is invited.

The Feast of Arts is a visual arts study day for art, photography and visual design students who will be in year 11 or 12 in 2018.

It has drawn about 380 registrations from students “all around the state” including Broken Hill, Leeton, Temora, Sydney, Canberra, Bathurst, Orange, Cowra, Canowindra and Nyngan.

Western Plains Cultural Centre, Dubbo RSL Memorial Club and Charles Sturt University in Dubbo will host workshops by 39 artists.

They aim to show students “diversity in art practice” and pathways to careers.

At night the Blood Mystic Dinner will be held at Dubbo RSL Memorial Club with Mr Gittoes as guest speaker.

Feast of Artists coordinator and Dubbo teacher, Tamara Lawry, said the artist and filmmaker was renowned for his “peace work” in war zones in Afghanistan, Bosnia, South Africa and Rwanda, where he took photographs of genocide for the Australian War Memorial. 

“Blood Mystic is a dinner for the general public, war veterans, servicemen and women and those interested in art, history and film,” she said.

The dinner, named by Ms Lawry after Mr Gittoes’ autobiography called Blood Mystic, will include performances by Ms Rose and Dubbo’s Allyn Smith. Tickets costing $60 are available from the Dubbo RSL Memorial Club.

Ms Lawry said Ms Sharpe had also worked as a war artist and was currently completing a residency at the State Library of NSW.

The coordinator revealed that Mr Gittoes was making more than one contribution to the festival, set to be launched Thursday in Dubbo’s central business district.

“George’s film Snow Monkey will show at the Dubbo Regional Theatre and Convention Centre on Thursday, October 19, alongside local films by the Dubbo Filmmakers,” she said.