Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Benedict House: Arthouse

Written By Emma Davidson

Over the border in Queanbeyan lies a treasure trove of beads, art, and vintage fashion. Benedict House is a former convent, turned into a hub for great design and art by its new owners around 2005-06. The building has been part of local culture for a very long time, with former Prime Minister Ben Chifley named after it. Paul Keating, another former PM, was the building's owner during the 1980's.

So I trekked out there on Saturday morning with my four and three year old girls to check out the art:house exhibition. Despite feeling like a broken record (“it's just for looking – don't touch”), we managed to spot some interesting and inspiring new works.
Yumiko Starke grew up in rural Japan, and now lives in Canberra. She creates delicately stylised images that often feature her two children. Check out the showreel in her online portfolio – very creative!
Claire Cimbora has a lovely selection of her very etsy, and a little Lauren Childs-ish pictures. I'll be looking out for her first children's book, which she's just completed. Find her here on Canberra's Got Style and on etsy.
A quick trip into the cafe and I spotted a stunning large piece by Payal Sehgal Mahajan. Is it a ghost, or someone in a transient moment? I don't know, but I love that I can't quite tell. More work online.

In the hallway near the bead room is a little domestic moment, captured by the camera of Amanda Hardwick. Interesting colour and line in an everyday object – fabulous eye, and she's only 21 years old. See her work before she disappears to “see more of the world”.
While you're at Benedict House, you can stop for coffee and cake at The Refectory. The courtyard is lovely on a sunny day. And have a squizz at the vintage fashions in the front room before you leave – the Eliza Clare bags caught four year old Sophia's eye as well as mine.

Benedict House is now showing art and design festival Art:House a month long summer festival celebrating art + design in the local region. From visual art, photography, illustration and graphic design- the art:house festival aims to bring together emerging artists and designers in a program that will showcase and celebrate our regions creative talents. On until Feb 28th, check out the website for full details.

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