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10 May 2006. Parramatta Advertiser (Australia)

Press Release
Seven Ripples have ‘Come Full Circle’
May 5th - 30th July 2006

Indira Fernandes
Some dreams are like stubborn foetuses in the mind refusing to die; waiting for life to be breathed into them. Setting up the Seven Ripples artists’ group has been one such dream for artist and art educator Indira Fernandes. The idea for Seven Ripples came out of Indira’s several year’s involvement in visual arts education at Catherine McAuley College, at Westmead in Sydney’s West. The Seven Ripples artists’ group developed from conversations with visual arts teachers who had connections with the College and her former visual arts students who had distinguished themselves with their HSC art works making the cut into the prestigious Artexpress arena.

Visual arts teachers Nadia Matteucci and Indira Fernandes who currently teach at Catherine McAuley and Chris Commerford and Victor Kustra who have been associated with the College in different ways and three former visual arts students of the College, Megan Yeo, Danielle Saez and Amanda Como who presently are working in the visual arts field met together in early 2005 to make plans for a group exhibition. The Parramatta Heritage Centre the artistic hub of the area was chosen as the venue for the group exhibition by these seven local artists. The exhibition title Come Full Circle was arrived at because of all the artists’ direct association to Catherine McAuley College and significantly to the charism of the Mercy Order – the Circle of Mercy, as well as to Parramatta.

Using a theme to present an exhibition of art works by a group of artists is not a new concept. The idea of a theme is to link the works together under the one title with the aim of making them more meaningful and accessible to the viewer. It also provides a challenge to the artists, who are expected to respond to the theme in a fresh and original way.

In the Seven Ripples exhibition Come Full Circle, it is evident that the connecting thread is the circle despite the wide variety of interpretations given to the title by members of the group. Ironically, it is this diversity which also provides the exhibition’s strength and interest. Not only have the artists been challenged, but the viewer as well. The artists explore their individual associations to the charism of the Mercy Order which has played a significant role in the development of each artist and their links with Parramatta, the place of meeting and gathering of people to create culture. What follows, is a visual story of celebration and reflection and the interconnecting relationship of the circle of life and the circle of art. The artworks explore this rippling effect and respond to a sense of connection and belonging. The artists in this exhibition have attempted an intuitive and sometimes an intellectual response or a more complex interpretation of the title. Returning to physical and spiritual sources has been an important way for these artists to build successful bodies of work. And viewers can derive much pleasure from delving into the artworks and sorting out their own responses.

For Chris Commerford who has worked, among other things, as a Visual Arts teacher and professional photographer in Western Sydney for many years, photography has always been a natural medium of self expression for him and a starting point for explorations into other media. His photographs explore aspects of the Christian heritage to be found in the local environment of Western Sydney and are a reflection of his interest in traces of Christian influence on our culture. Some of the black and white photographs are quite literal and can be read in a documentary sense, and others contain elements of symbolism, more open to interpretation by the viewer.

Danielle Saez, an artist and interior designer in her own right has drawn on her life experiences of living within the Parramatta community. Working as an interior designer she has found that the design process has become an essential element and been infused within her artmaking process.

For Victor Kustra this poem evokes the richness and diversity of his artmaking life and being part of this artists’ group:

The Circle of Life reflects one’s life
to do well, and come back, home.
But the Seven Ripples of Come Full Circle
is the passion of art:
blue, green, yellow, and purple
The web of life brings out the nature
and its artist – the orb,
It is the orb that reflects, designs, directs
and infiltrates the cycle,
the circle of life,
the universe
and the Seven Ripples of the ebb of tides.

Amanda Como who is presently working as a children’s photographer has explored the culturally diverse and dense parts of Parramatta. She has chosen to ‘snap’ the way in which the community has assimilated to the notion of multiculturalism. She poses a question “Have the mind’s of foreigner’s adapted to the Australian way, or have Australian’s accepted and embraced the idea of an enriched multicultural society? Working in an unobtrusive manner, her black and white photographs portray the connection between people, places and culture.

Nadia Matteucci an artist and art educator has responded to the concept of people and their connection to place. She has been inspired by the history, heritage and topography of the Parramatta region. She has explored the natural and man-made forms which literally and figuratively ‘bridge’ the gap between people and place: past, present and future. The Parramatta River has been her visual reference, whose qualities she has explored through texture, patterns, layering of surfaces and imagery, using the expressive medium of printmaking.

Megan Yeo is currently majoring in painting and drawing at the College of Fine Arts (UNSW) and is also a practicing artist. Her work is an exploration of her cultural heritage. The basis of her art practice stems from her curiosity of the past conflicts in Ireland. Making a short trip to Ireland has inspired her further into her Irish background. In Come Full Circle, experimenting with a variety of mediums, her paintings and mixed media works have a powerful and textural quality.

Indira Fernandes an art educator and a practicing artist has played a pivotal role in the formation of the Seven Ripples artists’ group. Her work is a fusion of the inner spiritual and outer material world. She has drawn on the natural beauty of Lake Parramatta and the heritage buildings within Parramatta as a reference for her work. She uses the interplay of images and text and takes advantage of the narrative possibilities offered by painting on clay, digital media and mixed-media techniques of collage. She says “my work is about connections – idea to image, people to their environment, me to you”.

The exhibition Come Full Circle can be viewed at the Parramatta Heritage Centre from 5 May 2006 – 30 July 2006, in conjuction with SPIN 5 an exhibition celebrating young peoples’ creativity and culture expressed through a range of art forms featuring HSC level art from regional schools.

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