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FeatureCulture

Calling for rain.

French artist, Sofie Dieu, has fallen in love with regional Australia. Can you help her East Gippsland workshops?

Jan 19, 2018


Words: Sofie Dieu
Images: Supplied

CALLING FOR RAIN

From artist Sofie Dieu:

Sofie's running free workshops with East Gippsland's communities early next year. She needs your help raising funds to make this unique project come true! She will address the hardship caused by the current drought and inherent risks of summer fires. All the artworks produced will be exhibited at East Gippsland Art Gallery (EGAG) in March 2018 for a whole month.

How Can You Help?

If you're looking to be involved in the East Gippsland community and its art scene, please help Sofie promoting her fundraising campaign by tagging #calling4rain and @sofiedieu in your social medias and by making a donation through her website (safe link to Paypal).

Everything you need to know is there, from video content, to why she is doing this, her love for East Gippsland, where the money will go to and how to pledge. It's all covered on her website!

You might already know Sofie, as she was invited by the Great Alpine Gallery last August to take part in its residency program. For two weeks she painted and wrote poetry about the Tambo Valley and its residents. She later even wrote a book about it called, On the Great Alpine Road; (released 01/12/17)

She loves this part of Victoria so much that she is coming back early next year with a large-scale exhibition project that will fill the two gallery spaces of EGAG. Her huge portraits of East Gippslanders (2 m x 1.5 m !) will hang next to all the artworks produced during the workshops.

The artist likes to call these participants' work “offerings to the gods of rain”, and they will be exhibited in an immersive and sensorial installation.

The following artistic statement/musings are from Sofie's website (to give you a lil' more background):

Going on an art residency is supposed to be the start of a great adventure, so I have heard, not an end in itself.

My great adventure has started a few days ago when I left Sydney to go to Swift Creeks, a one-pub town in the Tambo Valley.

Look at a map of East Gippsland, and it's right there, lost in the middle of the mountains. The climate is harsh, especially this winter, as it has hardly rained. The bed of the river is wide and rocky, with a few pockets of quiet waters hiding behind a bush of reeds.

Walking along the river is ankle twisting, but it's so peaceful and serene that it is worth spending some time there.

I have found some stunning stones along the water, with skylines running through them and constellations trapped in rough, twisted shapes. I look at them and see the universe, mirror of a macrocosm inside these microcosms.

Chinese have a word for such rocks, "dream stones" also known as "cloud roots". Chinese intellectuals would collect such objects and look at them to escape the boredom of everyday life.

I look at the Australian stones and feel transported. They tell me about their journey from the mountain to the ocean where they will become sand. I read in them so many stories that my paint brushes can't keep up.

The Great Alpine Residency is a bliss. Only a few weeks left before I head back to the real world.

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