Sean Goedecke is a freelance writer trying to visit every cafe in Australia. If you enjoy his articles, it can't hurt to click the 'like' link at the bottom or subscribe.
The Stories From Clay exhibition is an upcoming display of ceramic sculpture at the Alcaston Gallery at 11 Brunswick St. It will run for under a month, from the 4th of October to the 21st. Alcaston Gallery specialises in contemporary Aboriginal artwork by living artists, and the pottery on display in this exhibition comes from artists in Hermannsburg, Northen Territory. It's an interesting mix of traditional designs and modern images – check it out if you're interested in Aboriginal art.
Not the kind of jar you'd store biscuits in.
The Aboriginal artists living in Hermannsburg were first introduced to pottery by missionaries in the 1960s. Back then the artists were all men of the Western Arrernte people. Later, women took up pottery too, and now the potters are a mostly-female group. They build off the tradition of Aranda – or Arrernte – art that originated with Albert Namatjira, also from Hermannsburg. Look for the bold colours and evocative outdoor expanses, partly stylized and partly realistic.
The artists (called the Hermannsburg potters) have forged a distinctive style. Perhaps the most noticeable feature is the small figures of animals or plants that are sculpted onto the lid as well as painted on the body of the pot: from native koalas, wombats and kangaroos to more exotic zebras and sharks – and even mythical creatures like dragons.
The exhibition is called 'Stories From Clay', and looking at the artwork it's easy to see why. You can glimpse the life of the artists through their art, in the way that modern images relate to and exist side-by-side with more traditional motifs. Likewise, each pot is captioned by both the Arrernte Aboriginal name and the English name of the thing depicted.
Alcaston Gallery shuts at 6pm on a Friday night (and 5pm on a Saturday). Brunswick St is full of great places to eat and drink, so why not weave Stories From Clay into a night out? It's likely to be entertaining – and inexpensive, which is also important. There's no better way to impress a loved one or some artistically-inclined friends. Who knows? You may be tempted to go home and try some amateur pottery yourself.