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Detritus Solo Exhibition by Insingane at Frankston Arts Centre

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Be swept away on an emotional tide
30 July marks the opening date for Detritus Solo Exhibition by Insingane, a collection of artworks by South African born artist Nicoleen Agnello.

Detritus Solo Exhibition by Insingane will showcase 20 pieces of work for the first time, after Nicoleen's piece 'Tonight I float in a sea of stars', won the People's Choice Award at Frankston Art Centre Open Exhibition.

'Tonight I float in a sea of stars'

Detritus Solo Exhibition by Insingane, subtitled "Be swept away on an emotional tide as Insingane explores the flotsam and jetsam of memory", exhibits a series artworks reflecting a powerful journey of raw emotion. Nicoleen, going by the artist name Insingane, works in explosive large highly textured acrylics, creating vivid graphic style pieces.

Delving into the thoughts and inspiration behind Detritus Solo Exhibition by Insingane, former Art Director and Seaford resident Nicoleen has taken some time to answer some questions related to her forthcoming exhibition, in an interview with Weekend Notes:

Nicoleen Agnello
Nicoleen Agnello - Insingane

1.Tell us about your exhibition and how it came to be?

The beginning of my journey was the end of something else, going through a particularly traumatic time in my life, I had to pause and stake stock as I found myself reflecting on what I needed to do to move forward. I was searching for something to take my mind off things and I saw a call for entry to Frankston Art Centre's open exhibition and seized the escapism it offered me. The theme was Infinite Space. My interpretation a dark figure swimming naked at night. 'Tonight I float in a sea of stars, in infinite space'. Not knowing which way was up, for the first time in my life I was simply being. To my immense surprise my painting was awarded the People's Choice Award, and the prize was a solo exhibition of my very own. Now a year and a half later with a beautiful baby girl beneath my easel I am ready to exhibit the fruits of my labour. I have named the exhibition 'Detritus', meaning the flotsam and jetsam of memory.

2. What does your artist name Insingane mean and why did you choose it?

My name means sweetheart in Zulu and it is the childhood nickname given to me by my beloved Zulu nanny. I chose it because it symbolises what is unique about me. Growing up in unconventional circumstances in South Africa has given me a unique voice as an artist.


3. What materials do you use for your work?

For this exhibition I have worked in large format highly textured acrylics and scraperboard. My background as an Art Director and Graphic Designer has influenced me to create a vivid graphic style. I feel my strength is conveying a singular thought or emotion through expressive use of colour and line. My work is often introspective, dark and brooding and deals with universal themes such as depression and loss.

Scraperboard print

4. What can we expect from your exhibition?

My solo exhibition opens on 31 July with at Frankston Art Centre's gallery Cube 37 from 6.30 till 8.30pm. I hope to sweep you away on an emotional tide. The subject matter is turbulent and I hope to move you.

5. How many pieces will you be exhibiting?

I will be exhibiting 20 pieces, half of which are large format acrylic paintings on wood or canvas and half which are black and white graphic scraperboard prints. They will be arranged in price points from entry level framed or unframed limited edition graphic prints up to high quality large format statement hero paintings. My passion for craft has also led me to develop a range of contemporary art merchandise, some of which include original plywood brooches, tribal inspired tote bags and greeting cards.

6. What is your favourite medium to work with and why?

I am really enjoying working with scraperboard for this exhibition. My South African childhood has greatly influenced my aesthetic and I am heavily influenced by the amazing Zulu tribal crafts I grew up with. The scraperboard series I have created is a mix between western street art and traditional African wood cut. I have also enjoyed experimenting with large format acrylics mixed with beach sand. I love texture and this exhibition is influenced greatly by my love affair with the sea. I grew up in a tiny beachside village in Southern KwaZulu Natal and I now reside in Seaford next to beautiful Port Philip Bay.

Scraperboard print

7. What are the biggest challenges faced in the lead up to an exhibition opening?

Throughout my career as an Art Director in advertising I have always used my creativity to solve problems for big brands through commercial art. Although I love the problem solving nature of my work I feel like someone else has always benefited from my creativity, and now as an artist I feel like this is the first time I am using my talent for my own benefit. The challenge is without a brief to answer to you can be like a rudderless ship on the ocean, not knowing which direction to go in in terms of what work will create a successful exhibition. My other challenge is something which I am sure everyone can relate to…time! I have a beautiful baby girl who has just turned one and a busy four year old son to look after. Unfortunately I have recently been diagnosed with a condition which causes me chronic fatigue so it is sometimes challenging to find energy to work at night, however as the saying goes, 'where there is a will there is a way'.

8. What are you hoping to achieve as a result of your exhibition?

Release. I have named the exhibition 'Detritus', meaning the flotsam and jetsam of memory. Working on this exhibition selfishly, I have used it as a means to purge my mind of the remnants, the little sharp shrapnel memories embedded in my mind. It has been an extremely cathartic experience for which I am extremely grateful.

9. What can we expect of Insingane in the future?

I am passionate about arts and creativity, especially in the bayside and Mornington Peninsula area. I am still working out what that means for me but I am considering creating an ezine or culture blog. I will also strive to develop my range and experiment through other mediums. I would love to be represented by a gallery. I also have an exciting project in the pipeline which I hope to work with Artswell in Frankston Art Centre on. It is an installation piece about miscarriage and still birth and I will be encouraging community involvement so please sign up to my newsletter to keep in touch at or like Insingane on Facebook.

10. Who or what is the inspiration behind your work?

My personal experiences inspire my work. I am a quiet person who doesn't say much about what's going on in my life and I use my art to express myself and free myself.

The opening night for Detritus Solo Exhibition by Insingane will be held at Frankston Art Centre, Gallery Cube 37 on 31 July 6.30-8.30pm. It is free to attend, however RSVP is essential. Telephone the Frankston Arts Centre on 9784 1896 or email to confirm your attendance.

Following the opening night, Detritus Solo Exhibition by Insingane will be open Mon-Sat 10-5pm, 30 July - 9 Aug.
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Why? Solo exhibition by People's Choice Award Winner
When: 29 July - 9 Aug 2014 (Opening night 31 July)
Phone: Frankston Art Centre 03 9784 1896
Where: Frankston Arts Centre, Cube 37 27-37 Davey St, Frankston
Cost: FREE
Your Comment
Lovely interview. Good way to write up a WEN article in an interesting way.
by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (score: 3|5927) 2293 days ago
'Tonight I float in a sea of stars' is absolutely beautiful.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|12622) 2317 days ago
I am so looking forward to seeing your show and meeting you. Thanks for posting your insights to the show. Mine will be next year and it helps to read your process and how many you have in the show. Thanks for posting on my Web Page..Morington Peninsula Artist Noticeboard. I am going to print your interview out and post in my visual diary. Belinda Nye (Printmaker/Painter).
by belin (score: 0|4) 2316 days ago
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