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Community & Business

10 April, 2023

Local artists on show at CHC

Artist Leilani Knight, is proud to see her work on display in her hometown.

By Emily Middleton

Her exhibition “In Situ”, is at the Coo-ee Heritage Centre until next month - alongside the work of another artist, Clementine McIntosh.

Leilani’s eight pieces on show were created from an amalgamation of very intricate settings, including the natural beauty of the landscape, and the imposing town and architecture.

“In Situ” therefore attempts to reflect all of this; while also demonstrating her lived experiences.

“I, as an Indigenous woman and artist, cannot exist without both. I am as much intrinsically connected to land and lore as I am to the urban settings in which I live,” she said.

Gilgandra has always had a special place in her heart, and her works ‘Integration’, ‘Scrap’, ‘Honey Ants’, ‘New Work, No Lines Marked’, ‘Walkabout’, ‘Burn’, ‘Suckle’, and ‘Toil’, all reflect her relationship with the space.

“As the destination of my adolescence, I am drawn to memories of both immense joy and sadness,” she said.

“My identity as an Indigenous woman from prominent families within the town’s history, had a deep impact on my life, deep cultural connections rooted within the earth were always merging with social inter- actions within the town’s setting. I want my audiences to discern my existence from these works and engage in discussions about what exactly being an Indigenous per- son within a small town means; from racial struggles, to cultural norms, to social interactions.”

Coming from a family with a very strong connection to culture through art, Ms Knight has always practised these through traditional forms, such as ochre, clap sticks, and dance. However, after studying for a bachelor of fine arts at the University of NSW, this has also allowed her to embrace a contemporary outlook.

“(This) is where I began embracing brighter colours and unusual practices.”

She has hosted several Indigenous artist workshops throughout Sydney, with various exhibitions such as ‘Love Letters to the Horizon’ last year, and a large Indigenous mural at UNSW.

However, bringing her work back home to Gilgandra, has given the emerging artist an opportunity to expand this repertoire.

“The chance to exhibit our pieces in a professional gallery setting, is something we are not regularly- afforded amongst the art community, so it’s an exhilarating experience to curate and host such an exhibition,” she said. 

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