From our archives : Exhibition April 2018

Alice Springs is renowned for some of their quirky and entertaining festival and events. They also have exhibitions that capture the heart and bring a smile to your face. Following on their 2017 exhibition – sculptural birds of Tjulpu Thipe! the Greenbush Art Group from the Alice Springs Correctional Centre presented at Araluen Arts Centre their 2018 exhibition Big mob of dogs!

Big Mob of Dogs, 2018
Midnight by Angus Dixon (left), Fred by Alwyn Gallagher (2nd from left), Dog with a Bone by Carly Thommers (centre), Mingkiri by Katrina Connelly (right)

For all those dog lovers, this exhibition captured the variety of characterisation that can be found in our lovable family friend and showcased the talent of some amazing artists. For those who did not make the exhibition, we present our photos of the beautifully portrayed Big Mob of Dogs!

In 2017, the Araluen Arts Centre invited students from the Alice Springs Correctional Centre, studying visual arts with Batchelor Institute, to hold a group exhibition. Bringing together a larger survey of their sculptural works than had previously been exhibited was one motivation. Another was the cumulative reputation, forged over time by a number of past and present artists from the Correctional Centre, for works that are simultaneously bizarre, humourous, playful, acerbic and articulate observations of behaviour, idiosyncrasies, character. Such was the popularity and success of that exhibition (with birds as subject), the current students return this year with Big Mob of Dogs!

Dogs are the first domesticated species. Bred over millenia, the human relationship with them runs incredibly deep, historically, emotionally, economically. It is an almost universal connection but it could be argued that dogs occupy an exceptional place in the culture and collective psyche of the Australian desert and its people. Dogs have history here, are ubiquitous here and are iconic here.

The connections are as strong and tightly interwoven for the students of the Correctional Centre. Some of the works in Big Mob of Dogs! have real-life counterparts providing real-time inspiration from outside the razorwire. Some are magically brough back to the world via memories of the past. And some are totally the work of imagination. In another sense, due to the artist’s circumstances, all these dogs are imaginary: incarceration, and its attendant limits on research and access to materials, seems to generate its own highly creative freedom, imagination and innovation.

Source: Big Mob of Dogs! exhibition catalogue, Batchelor Institue Visual Art Students From the Alice Springs Correctional Centre, 23 March-7 May 2018
Big Mob of Dogs, 2018
Alphonse by Ben McLean & Wayne Roberts-Barlow / Big Mob of Dogs, 2018

Check out the Araluen Arts Centre website about their current exhibitions…