Artworks convey uplifting message

ONE of the unique aspects of Australian culture is its obvious breadth, which has come from the incredible diversity of migrants who make up the population.

This has been the inspiration for a new exhibition by ceramicist Ann O'Connor called Vessels of Change.

"The idea was inspired by my grandparents, from both sides of my family, who migrated from the UK last century," she said.

"As a child, I loved playing with the trunks and suitcases they travelled with and would imagine travelling across the sea in a ship. I thought it was a very romantic notion."

Such simplistic childhood ideas have matured, but without losing their whimsy and are now expressed in fine ceramic sculptures.

Russian Drama features a lady in fur-trimmed winter clothes clutching a precious Faberge-style egg. Along with her cases of personal belongings comes a boat of Russian-domed buildings, suggesting how migrants cannot just leave everything behind.

Several of the works explore bird and fish travels. Again, many with a wonderful sense of humour.

School Excursion is a shoal of fish and a boat, leaving it to the imagination as to which is moving the other, but with a positive sense of direction and purpose.

Travelling Picnic has a seagull perched on a boat intently eying an onboard picnic basket with a fish on it, while Bird Migration is a small series of hand-carved orbs beautifully encapsulating the global journeys so many species undertake annually.

The uplifting message in this exhibition is that people relocate for a better future and that widely different cultures can all continue contributing to make that a fascinating and enlightening future.

It is also a collection which will genuinely delight, no matter what your age or background.

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