TO mark its 15th year, Aarwun Gallery has invited 15 longest standing and best-loved artists to exhibit five pieces each.
Members of the Canberra public are invited to help celebrate this Friday, March 20, when there will be celebratory wine, 15% (of course) discounts and a salon performance by former “CityNews” Artist of the Year, David Pereira, of a new work inspired by David Boyd’s “Beauty and the Beast Under the Flame Tree”, which is hanging in the gallery.
It will be a great day for Aarwun director and cattle farmer Robert Stephens, who came to Australia as a child migrant from England when he was just eight years old. He spent his remaining childhood at Fairbridge Farm School in Molong. His reading and writing skills were largely self-taught but he started working life on the railways and several businesses later – including a laundry, a health food shop and a delicatessen, he finally achieved his dream of owning an art gallery.
Aarwun Gallery opened its doors in Gold Creek’s Federation Square in 2000 after a meeting with the landlords, John and Lynn Anderson. With their support and encouragement Aarwun was able to start operating.
In 2015, Aarwun now has over 50 artists on its books, as well as a treasure trove of collector’s items from artists like Norman Lindsay, David Boyd and Pro Hart. Soft traditional landscapes hang next to contemporary canvases layered with impasto paints.
The exhibiting artists have nothing but praise for the gallery and its founder.
Velia Newman comments, “Bob came across my paintings just at the right time, back in the days in Sydney when there were many more art galleries, art dealers & art shows. today the old school boys (gallery dealers) are left to only a handful, and one of those is Bob…a man who rarely sits still… the gallery has always been the best in Canberra.”
Sandra Hendy says, “The most significant thing regarding Robert Stephens Directorship of Aarwun Gallery is the respect in which he treats his artists… Robert has a most charming but genuine manner to not only artists but also those clients with which he deals and consequently when many other galleries closed over these past years Robert has been able to continue his gallery and all the time make improvements and changes. His natural salesmanship is outstanding which benefits not only the artists but also the clients.”
Sandra House praises “A great atmosphere, friendly helpful staff, colourful diverse work and Bob. What more could you want?” and Robert Pengilley speaks of the approachability of the gallery, saying, “For one to witness first hand a gallery owner getting down to the nitty gritty, hands on and developing this gallery from infancy to its present state has been inspiring and encouraging.”
In short, Aarwun Gallery has something to celebrate on Thursday.
“5×15”, Aarwun Gallery, Shop 11 Federation Square, O’Hanlon Place Nicholls, open 10am-5pm 7 days a week, inquiries about the birthday event to 6230 2055.