Avoca artist to speak at Canberra conference

An art piece called Underland made by Avoca Beach artist, Jane Gillings, in partnership with Lucy Barker

Avoca Beach artist, Jane Gillings, will be speaking at the Art Activism by Great Women Conference in Canberra, on Sunday, March 28.

Gillings will be one of four female artists to speak out about the change they wish to make globally and how have overcome barriers to pursue their goals.

In her multi-layered speech, Gillings will talk about her art and its link to waste reduction, the power of education and teaching children, and how to be resilient in COVID times.

Gillings said she uses recyclable materials to create her art, raising awareness around consumption, waste, and pollution.

“My speech will talk about pollution, waste, what we can do now to make a difference,” Gillings said.

“I actually feel like I fell into my area of activism.”

She is currently involved in a residency project at the old Quarantine Station at North Head Manly (Q Station) with another artist and will be responding to this historically significant site with a series of art installations made from waste materials.

“With recycling, we were getting there before COVID by using Keep Cups etc,” she said.

“But now we are back to where we started – two steps forward, one step back.”

With over 30 years of experience as an exhibiting, practising artist and educator, Gillings’ work ranges from large-scale sculptural installations to detailed drawings, which often reflect her relationship with the planet and deep connection with the small community in which she lives.

As an educator, she has worked with at-risk people and those with different abilities, mental health issues, homelessness and drug and alcohol issues.

She currently runs weekly art sessions in her home studio for school-aged children and occasional free community art sessions.

“I want to also talk about in my speech how to keep going and keep up the fight,” she said.

“I think all types of artists have been particularly affected, so I would like to share that message.”

The event, to be presented by Lerida Estate and aMBUSH Gallery, is part of the successful HERE I AM: Art by Great Women festival and will include speeches from Aretha Brown, Claire Martin, and Kaff-eine.

Details at kambri.com.au.

Jacinta Counihan