FEDERAL Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce said the Federal Government’s Visions of Australia programme will be funding the New England Regional Art Museum’s [NERAM] The Art of Wool exhibition to parts of regional Australia.
Mr Joyce said the exhibition was curated by NERAM and shown there last year, bringing together artworks from the nationally significant art collections held at NERAM alongside garments from the International Woolmark Prize archive, owned by Australian Wool Innovation, the owners of Woolmark.
“It will be an opportunity to introduce regional areas of Victoria and New South Wales to the works in the collections at NERAM as well as fashion designed from wool grown in our region.
“The New England is renowned for its wools, especially its fine and superfine clips and this exhibition pays tribute to this wonderful, sustainable fibre,” Mr Joyce said.
“Much of 20th Century regional Australia was developed with the economic power of wool and it’s certainly true the country once rode on the sheep’s back.”
He said the exhibition will open at the first venue in April 2016 at Taree before travelling to Goulburn, then the Victorian regional centres of Hamilton, Warrnambool and Geelong, before making its way north through Albury, Dubbo and Tamworth over the next two years.
NERAM Director Robert Heather said the Museum’s staff and supporters were “excited to be touring our wonderful exhibition The Art of Wool throughout regional Australia with support from the Australian Government through the Visions of Australia funding program”.
“This exhibition has been a great opportunity for us to work directly with the wool industry to showcase the beautiful artworks in our collection, the quality of Australian wool production and the innovative fashion designers who use it in their work.”
Artworks from NERAM’s extensive collection of Australian art emphasise the significance of wool in the artistic and design imagination of Australia.
Exhibition curator Tanya Zoe Robinson said the pieces of visual art are complemented by stunning garments chosen from the International Woolmark Prize archives with an emphasis on the work of young and emerging international fashion designers including 2013/14 International Woolmark Prize winner Rahul Mishra and Australian designers Alistair Trung, Christopher Esber, Dion Lee, ELLERY, Magdalena Velevska and STRATEUS.CARLUCCI.
"NERAM’s extraordinary collections are rich with artworks that depict all aspects of the wool industry - from prize sheep to shearing sheds, farm work to hand knitting. Sheep and wool have provided inspiration to generations of Australian artists," Ms Robinson said.
"We are very fortunate to be working with AWI. Their International Woolmark Prize garments help us present new relationships between art and fashion that add to an understanding of the place of wool in the artistic imagination."
Mr Joyce said Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) is the research, development and marketing company for the Australian wool industry, which represents over 45,000 Australian woolgrowers in the domestic and overseas markets for wool. AWI is also the owner of the Woolmark brand – the most recognised textile symbol in the world.
Caption: The Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce with Kristina Jackson, Creative Consultant, Australian Wool Innovation Limited, The Woolmark Company and NERAM’s Exhibition curator Tanya Robinson at the exhibition opening last year.