THE ACT Legislative Assembly’s newest art acquisition is an unusual one—a textile artwork titled “Cyclorama”, a collaborative piece by artists of the ‘tACTile’ group, whose work is presently on show at Belconnen Arts Centre.The quilted textile work has been created by Helen Gray, Beth and Trevor Reid, Beth Miller, Jenny Bowker and Dianne Firth in five panels, one by each artist, different work reflects the changing seasons and light in Canberra.
Adapted from Robert Coulter’s 1911 paintings “Cycloramic View of Canberra Capital Site”, a print of which hangs in the Speaker’s meeting room of the Assembly, the work was chosen by the Assembly’s Art Advisory committee to mark Canberra’s Centenary. The work, chosen from the recent exhibition “100: Celebrating Canberra” at Belconnen Arts Centre, depicts the rolling hills and picturesque landscape of the national capital site.
Chief organiser of the enterprise, the textile artist, quilter and architectural academic, Dianne Firth, told “CityNews” that the original work by Coulter, now carefully archived and framed in five pieces, was executed in five discrete sections, but when the image was given to John Sands for reproduction, the sections were amalgamated to form a diorama.
She said that there were photographic images all the panorama still in existence but they were very dull in comparison to both Coulter’s painting and a new textile works, which presented the familiar landscape of Canberra through artistic eyes.
On hand this morning from the handover to the assembly elections art curator, Merryn Gates, assembly were Acting Speaker Mary Porter and member for Ginninderra, Chris Bourke.
The Assembly’s art committee, headed by the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Vicki Dunne, is responsible for selecting and acquiring artworks on behalf of the Assembly.
From afar, she said, “I see this work as being very symbolic of the progress that Canberra, as the nation’s capital, has made since the days of the dusty, treeless limestone plains of the early 20th century to its status today as a world class city.”
The current thinking is that the new work will hang adjacent to the Coulter painting in the Assembly.