Three new exhibitions opening at The Courthouse Gallery are linked by their connections to Hedland Senior High School.

Renowned Melbourne-based painter Gian Manik spent a month in the Pilbara in early 2017, developing new works at FORM’s Spinifex Hill Studios in South Hedland. The centrepiece of Manik’s residency was an experimental collaboration with 53 Hedland Senior High School students (ranging from years 8-12) over three days while he was a guest artist at the School. Manik mentored the students in painting technique, and encouraged them to sketch and paint details of the South Hedland landscape on to a 10-meter long canvas. This was then over-painted by the artist with his own impressions of the town. The resulting monumental collaborative artwork signified an exciting new direction in Manik’s practice: a chaotic, layered aesthetic combining diverse mark-making and humorous juxtaposition.

FORM is delighted to bring the outcomes of Manik’s residency back to Port Hedland following successful exhibition in Perth, Sydney, and Melbourne, in his solo exhibition, National Trust. Manik will return to Port Hedland for the exhibition opening, and will create a new collaborative work for the show with HSHS students during the week leading up to the exhibition opening.

Opening alongside National Trust will be two other solo exhibitions by talented local artists with connections to the School.

Somewhere Here Now premieres new work by South Hedland’s Michelle Sicilliano in her first solo exhibition since moving to the Pilbara four years ago. Siciliano is an art teacher at Hedland Senior High School and was one of the teachers involved in Manik’s collaboration during early 2017. Her own exhibition works have been informed by road trips across the Pilbara, and utilise found objects from her travels that the artist has embellished with a range of textiles techniques. Ranging from the whimsical and quirky to the insightful and somber, collectively these objects present an insight into the complexities of ‘being’ in the Pilbara, expressed with a high level of technical skill, wit, and charm.

Finally, the Courthouse Gallery is honoured to present Howard Holder’s first solo exhibition, Spirit of the Pen. Born and raised in Port Hedland, Holder attended Hedland Senior High School during the 2000s and has since become well-known as a frequent prize winner in the annual Cossack Art Award and Hedland Art Awards. Working predominantly in acrylic paint, fine-liner pen, and pencil, Holder is inspired by the Pilbara’s natural and industrial landscapes, as well as sci-fi movies, video games, social media, books, music, and subconscious thoughts. His exhibition presents two bodies of work, a collection of abstract drawings showcasing his skilled use of ink pen, and a series of surreal interpretations of Hedland icons including the Port and South Hedland water towers, ore trains, and ore ships.

“These exhibitions showcase the rich artistic talent that exists in Port Hedland, and highlight the significance of Hedland Senior High School to the community”, states FORM Curator Andrew Nicholls. “We are particularly delighted to have brought one of Australia’s most respected contemporary painters to Port Hedland to work in partnership with local emerging talent. Each of the three exhibiting artists has created a new body of work that playfully and inventively reinterprets that landscapes of Port and South Hedland, and their surrounding region, and FORM is very excited to share their unique visions of the Pilbara with the Hedland community.”

Gian Manik will be in Port Hedland from 22-28 July, and Michelle Siciliano and Howard Holder are based in South and Port Hedland respectively. All artists are available for interviews and photographs.
 
For further information or images of the artists and their works, contact the Courthouse Gallery on (08) 9173 1064 or mail@courthousegallery.com.au