Little monsters making big exhibition

(From back, left) Edwina Circuitt, Indi and Savannah Bain, Jake Wharton, Dallas Bain and Grace Jefferies; (front) Layla Werner, Gabriella, Phoebe and Monique Crothers and Marlie Mison. Photo by Laura Green

Children aged eight to 12 years from Deniliquin and district are getting the chance to put on their own art exhibition, thanks to the creative minds behind Outback Theatre for Young People.

OTYP has set up a pop up art studio in the vacant building behind the Pastoral Times office — the former Salvation Army Store in Edwardes St.

It is filled with media for creating drawings, paintings and sculpture.

With a background in professional arts and visual arts outreach, facilitator Edwina Circuitt said the idea grew organically.

‘‘It was my nieces who told me there are not enough arts for kids in the area, so we decided to facilitate an art workshop, but one that offers something different from school,’’ Ms Circuitt said.

She added there is ‘‘so much talent’’ in regional and remote communities, and programs like these help seed the idea of creative pathways in children who might wish to pursue them as they grow older.

The theme of the project, which will result in an exhibition for the participant’s parents, is ‘Monsters have feelings too’. Each creator is tasked with painting various installation artwork, or painting their own conceptual ‘monsters’ with UV paint. The exhibition will incorporate black lights to create a glowing art space.

One young artist, Phoebe Crothers, said the project has already helped her and her friends to ‘‘think outside the box’’.

Phoebe spends her time at home painting cityscapes at sunset, but she said the theme of monsters has ‘‘definitely helped’’ her explore her creativity.

Another painter, Indi Bain, started painting spider-monsters after looking at some of the biggest spiders in the world, saying they are ‘‘inspiring’’ to look at and creating a rich backstory for her subject.

Monique Crothers has adopted the idea of cacti as a living monster into her work, beginning with drawings and moving into sculpture and paintings with her most recent pieces.

Ms Circuitt said the pilot project, which began this week and runs into the next, has already been a ‘‘real success’’.

‘‘With the disruptions to school due to COVID, it hasn’t been as joyous of a time for kids. This program aims to bring them some wonderment and creativity.’’

Not only will the children create art for the exhibition, they will also receive guidance from Ms Circuitt and assistant facilitator Grace Jefferies on how to install an exhibition.

The exhibition will be held from Saturday, January 29 to Wednesday, February 2.