Art pays for Cairns teenagers

Published: 21 Feb 2020

Two young Cairns artists have sold out their entire collections within a week of opening their first solo exhibitions at Tanks Arts Centre Gallery.

The exhibitions of emerging artists, Alissa Tyrrell, 18, and Kahli Henderson-Powell, 18, have been extended because of the interest in the recent high school graduates’ work.Alissa Tyrrell at Tanks with a piece from her exhibition Different Encounters, which was inspired by her family and cultural heritage.

The teenagers’ works will continue to hang in the gallery until March 24, to complement the Flame exhibition, which is part of celebrations for International Women’s Day.

Ms Tyrrell and Ms Henderson-Powell were chosen by the Tanks curatorial team to develop solo exhibitions after winning awards at last year’s Energy Exhibition for high school students.

Buyers and collectors snapped up most of the 13 available works on opening night of the exhibition, with the remaining few pieces sold during the week.

A Trinity Bay State High School graduate, Ms Tyrrell said her exhibition, Different Encounters, was inspired by her family and cultural heritage.

“I particularly want to suggest how ancient the landscape is – that Kahli Henderson-Powell, said her ink drawings in the Flightless Birds exhibition were a meditation on contemporary social and cultural issues.there are unseen forms and shapes lurking underneath the ground,” said Ms Tyrrell, who used layering with gesso mixed with a medium and pastels to create her works.

“Throughout this process, I’ve learned a lot about being an artist. Creating art works for this exhibition that were different but linked together was challenging.

“The most rewarding aspect of it all was seeing people react to my artworks.

“I can see art playing a part in my life in my future by hopefully creating art for people to enjoy.”

Freshwater Christian College graduate, Ms

One of her featured works will be displayed in the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane later this year as part of the Creative Generation exhibition.

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said the curator’s exhibition had been running for 12 years and encourages young people to maintain their artistic practice after they finished school.

“When the students leave school, they do not have a studio anymore, they start doing other things and there is not a teacher pushing them. Their art practice very easily evaporates,” Cr Manning said.

“This is one important way Council and the arts community is supporting our young artists.

“Through this program, the artists are mentored by the Tanks curator and, often, other established artists, and encouraged to help them see what place art might have in their futures.”

Both artists received a $500 donation from the Peninsula Art Educators Association for supplies and materials, and spent time in the Tanks Artists Residence studios in Collins Avenue in the lead-up to the exhibition to help them to finish their pieces.

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Last updated: 21 February 2020