2018 Australian Spirit NSW Touring Exhibition & Book Launch
Poetry and Visual Arts Honouring Returned Service Personnel. A collaborative 4 year project raising awareness in support of sacrifice and storytelling.
The Art Studios Co-operative proudly presents the Australian Spirit book launch and compelling exhibition commemorating our returned service personnel and the ANZAC and World War 1 Centenaries. The collaborative four-year project was launched in 2015 by accomplished artist and Art Studios Co-operative Co-founder, Leasha Craig, culminating in successful multi-disciplinary art and poetry exhibitions across the Central Coast, concluding each year on Anzac Day with displays in the veterans’ associated clubs.
“Our objective is to raise public awareness and support for the service and sacrifice of our veterans and their families,” said Leasha. “These are living stories that need to be told and I hope that we have given creative justice to the services and recognition to the sacrifices made by both our veterans and their families for our country.”
The Australian Spirit commemorative book showcases the diverse, engaging collection of art, poetry and biographies of all 76 participating Central Coast veterans whose emotive stories and memories were captured by talented local artists, poets and photographers. A fitting legacy of the highly successful project as it enters its final year.
Rising above the critics who told her she would never do it, Leasha’s inspirational vision, drive and determination have earned her well-deserved recognition, including the 2018 Australia Day Community Service and Activity Award (Central Coast). Dr Brendan Nelson, Australian War Memorial Director, has also congratulated the Co-operative on an ‘excellent initiative’ and ‘heartily’ commends it to new supporters.
The 2018 Australian Spirit NSW regional touring exhibition encompasses:
Port Macquarie (April 4), Tamworth (April 5-6), Dubbo (April 7-8), Bathurst (April 9), Parkes (April 10), Wagga Wagga (April 11-12), Albury (April 13), Canberra (April 14-15) and Goulburn (April 16). Selected works will be on display at participating Central Coast RSL venues and the Entertainment Grounds on Anzac Day.
Inspired by a moving recital of ‘The Anzac On The Wall’ by award-winning poet Jim Brown at a 2014 Anzac service, Leasha hopes to inspire artists and poets across Australia to emulate this concept in support of their local veterans.
“The exhibition really brings the stories and memories alive in a way that history books and classrooms are unable to do,” said Leasha.
Australian Spirit Finale Event
The Australian Spirit project concludes on November 10 with an exciting finale event at the Central Coast Entertainment Grounds, believed to be the first of its kind in NSW.
“It’s our hope that this unifying event will create new networks for veterans and their families, new opportunities for support, assistance and social inclusion with other veterans and the wider community,” said Leasha.
The finale event is a dynamic collaboration fuelled by dedicated volunteers from the Art Studios Co-operative, Central Coast Entertainment Grounds, all local RSL Sub Branches, Legacy, Vietnam Veterans Peacekeepers and Peacemakers Association of Australia (VVPPAA), National Servicemen’s Association, Soldier On, Homes 4 Heroes, Australian Light Horse Association and contemporary veterans.
Further information can be found at http://www.australian-spirit.com
The Art Studios Cooperative would like to acknowledge the philanthropic nature of our community and thank you all for your generous support.
Image: Legacy of Word (detail) by Leasha Craig, 2015