Group of Artists from Casterton, country Victoria, and further afield in Australia
The legacy of the poet John Shaw Neilson, born in 1872 in Penola, South Australia, lives on. Each year, as part of the Coonawarra Arts Festival, reading his poetry is a prerequisite for inspiration for the annual John Shaw Neilson Art Prize. This year’s entries were as varied as ever, each work an inspiration in itself. How artists interpret his words can be a very personal choice. Something strikes a chord, a word image erupts into the mind, an association is ignited, which is then transferred and transformed into a visual and individual take on a line, a verse or a complete poem, written decades ago. Like Neilson’s poems, this year’s entries had the power to fascinate, to make one question, admire, and ponder.
It’s always interesting to see more than one interpretation drawn from the same poem, as is often the case in this exhibition. Just as no two people view the world and their environment identically, neither do two artists discover identical visual triggers in the same written words. The mediums used were as varied as the interpretations, making the exhibition a pleasure to view.
The opening night, which several members attended, was an evening of art appreciation, delicious finger food and wine, and the opportunity to meet with other artists from the district and further afield – always welcome.