Winter (festival) of content at the NPG

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Dan Edwards' woolly pole
Dan Edwards’ woolly pole

THE NATIONAL Portrait Gallery thoroughly revamped its normally respectable image over the weekend with a jolly festival of winter fun.

Featured artist Dan Edwards had wrapped a pillar with wool and the gallery’s entrance foyer was full of Christmas-like trees dripping with beanies, sock and scarves.

Most impressive of all was the sight of dads helping their kids to knit, crochet, bling their beanies and create snow-flakes.

Glen Smith icy version of   Deborah Mailman (image of portrait at base)
Glen Smith icy version of Deborah Mailman (image of portrait at base)

Sunday’s handover to St Vincent de Paul of winter woollies was the centrepiece of a day-long event  that also saw (outside) several ice sculptures,  including a large  interpretation by Glen Smith from Ice Designs of Evert Ploeg’s  Deborah Mailman portrait, held in the NPG.

This,the NPG’s third winter festival, manager of Learning Programs at the gallery, Krysia Kitch, told “Citynews,”  signalled ?that “we should celebrate winter in Canberra, not just whinge about it.”

Erin Macarthur and Gary Crowder from St Vinnie’s were found packing  scarves, socks and beanies into their van ready for distribution to the homeless in Canberra, Goulburn and further west – everywhere in the boundaries of the Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra and  Goulburn.

Families join in
Families join inAccording to Kitch, the gallery had been deliberating as how it could make the event about a bigger community. Last year they raised funds to buy swags for the homeless, but this year they decided on a more formal collaboration and, together with St Vinnie’s, put out a call asking people to knit scarves and beanies and socks for the homeless.

While they had expected a response from the ACT and  were thrilled when Lyneham Primary School got on board,  they were quite astonished  to get knitted items from as far as Perth and Darwin. As well, a group of knitters from Brisbane had sent a large contribution of knitted works, saying, “We live to knit and crochet but we can’t use what we knit.”

City without a soul? Not this yesterday, anyway.

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Helen Musa
“CityNews” arts editor

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