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Contemporary Art on Display at Abbotsford Convent

20 Aug 2007

A new artists' Studio Gallery at the Abbotsford Convent will stage its inaugural exhibition of contemporary artworks on Saturday 1 September and Sunday 2 September between 10am-4pm.

The exhibition, titled 'Contemporary Works', will show case 22 paintings and drawings by artists in the Arts Education program run by Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT) on the convent site.

The NMIT Arts Education program is designed to enhance the educational opportunities for people with mild intellectual and physical disabilities in areas of visual arts, theatre arts, music and movement.

The program approach emphasises engagement in collaborative projects with community organisations.

The new Studio Gallery, located in the Arts Education offices, was previously a disused heritage stable and redesigned and renovated by NMIT in collaboration with the Abbotsford Convent Foundation with support from the Colonial Foundation, The William Buckland Foundation and the Eastern Metropolitan Region of the Department of Human Services.

Abbotsford Convent Foundation CEO Maggie Maguire said the studio/gallery was purpose built for NMIT's Arts Education student artists and the display of their artworks.

'It's another step in the constant development of an arts and cultural educational precinct which is the Convent. The Foundation worked with NMIT to ensure the architectural design and the building met the needs of these students.'

Maggie added that as the Convent was building a community within the site, it wanted to ensure that it reflected the creativity of the broader community by embracing people with disabilities, people from other countries and both the old and the young.

'The exhibition is a unique project within a unique arts community at the Convent site'

Exhibition curator Rose Rokicki, who has her own artist's studio at the Convent, said the artworks selected were created by the students over the past 15 years and reflected their own distinctive style and approach.

'The artworks are bold, expressive and colourful and push the boundaries of contemporary art. They represent the students' self-expression and their own experiences of the world and their environment,' Rose added.

She said the works were very uninhibited and selfless, making the exhibition quite distinct from others.

The exhibition also features a group installation project of sneaker shoes- 12 pairs of white sneakers painted and designed by the students after an excursion to the National Gallery of Victoria which staged its own sneakers' exhibition earlier this year.

ll the artworks on display at the exhibition are for sale, with prices ranging from $200.


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Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener, on (03) 92691579, 0413 483 182 or

NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) - Situated on seven campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne's north, NMIT delivers vocational training, higher education and lifelong learning capabilities for a global workforce. NMIT forges partnerships with community, industry and government to produce practical, solution orientated graduates capable of making meaningful contributions to their chosen field of endeavour.