SUPPORT is being thrown behind the Riverina's art scene with new exhibitors to be showcased at the Wagga Art Gallery.
With both the Regional Exhibition and E3 Art Space programs running through 2020 and 2021, Riverina artists, or creators with ties to the region, have the opportunity to share their work with the city.
"The Regional Exhibition program will run quite differently this year," art gallery director Caroline Geraghty said.
"Normally, it's just Riverina artists included, but now we've invited artists who are producing work on the area, so we've broadened the parameters."
Ms Geraghty said the result was three times the number of applicants and a diverse range of artists.
"We have about six artists for the main gallery, which is all the actual art exhibits, and another six for the E3 art space which does have the exhibition element but focuses more on education with workshops to be run by the artists too," she said.
"That side of the work is really good for those just starting out and building their careers."
One local artist to be exhibited is 22-year-old Alice Ham. The Oberne Creek girl's work addresses the entangled nature between landscape and culture, and the history of colonial Australia.
"The landscape around my family farm near Tumbarumba has always been a big part of myself, so I really wanted to explore it further with my work," she said.
"Then, when I went to uni, the idea of colonisation was really prevalent and I wanted to find a way to explore that sensitive issue in a more personal way."
Miss Ham linked her knowledge of natural dyes and the introduced blackberry species with the region's historic roots to produce a textile-focused exhibition.
"It will be my first solo exhibition which is pretty exciting," she said.
"I put in the application thinking I may as well give it a try, and then I got accepted and it was a bit of a shock to think other people wanted to recognise my work.
"I'm hoping to do some natural dye workshops as part of the exhibition too."
The first artist selected to exhibit at the Gallery is Leeton based musician Jason Richardson, who has incorporated the Riverina surrounds in his work since 2006. His exhibition Soundscapes opened in The Channel space on Saturday, July 25.
Multidisciplinary artist Amanda Bromfield will explore the life and times of inspirational Mt Erin nun, Sister Liguori, connecting her story with contemporary society through ceramics, found objects, video and performance.
"It's an absolutely fascinating story, and one of great bravery and resilience, I think," Ms Bromfield said.
The story of Sister Liguori follows her challenges escaping the Catholic convent in Mt Erin where she once taught, eventually making her way to Sydney and fighting for her freedom through the courts.
Sister Liguori, once known as Bridget Partridge, travelled to Australia in 1890 at 18 years old.
"I think her story not only acts as an inspiration to young women nowadays to fight for what they believe in, but also really resonated with my own youth in Wagga," Ms Bromfield said.
"I grew up as a teenager in Wagga and I actually was a student at Mt Erin, but I'd never heard that story before.
"It's crazy to think I would have walked in the same footsteps as Sister Ligouri and never knew."
Ms Bromfield's art has a great focus on women's rights and creating awareness on important societal issues.
"I love telling stories, and to be able to do that while tying it in to my own background is a great opportunity," she said.
Established painter Mark Dober and fellow exhibitor will undertake a residency in Wagga later this year, creating large-scale watercolour works on site, centred on the Murrumbidgee River.
A collective of contemporary artists from Wagga-based supported studio, The Art Factory, celebrate five years since the establishment of the studio with a group show in mid-2021.
Annabel Nowlan will explore her connection to regional NSW, incorporating rural themes and her relationship of place and personal experience at her family farm in Bimbi.
The E3 Art Space Program continues with exhibitions and workshops by the Wagga Potters Club, Karen Walsh, Lorraine O'Hara, Millie Hocking, Susan Wood and Yolanda O'Neill Keane.
Exhibiting artists will also be invited to present talks, workshops and performances to supplement their exhibition, and give the community an opportunity to engage directly with the artists.
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