"Like a patchwork quilt with its intimacy of home, my work is a narrative of each ingredient. It’s not just pretty, one can learn about each item."
Kangaroo Island’s residents choose to live or move here because of the freedom and inspiration of this lifestyle, so it’s little wonder that Kangaroo Island is celebrated artistically by both local and visiting artists.
An Artist’s View
With its remarkable profusion of wildlife and its unspoilt environment, Kangaroo Island is home to a disproportionately large art community. Nearly 10 percent of the Island’s total population identify as members of the creative community and participate in visual art mediums, sculpture, craft, drama, music and writing.
The isolation of the Island gives artists the impetus to peer more deeply into what is actually here. Imagine the wealth of subjects in this environment for an artist – gazing out on the vast ocean from high on a clifftop; a solitary walk on an empty quiet beach with only the sounds of gentle waves and birds calling to each other; a stroll on a bush track, wildlife at every turn, with nary a sound of civilization to be heard.
While some artists hone in on nature, others theme their work on the island’s heritage, but all seem to revel in their personal connection with the environment.
Kangaroo Island art is, above all, about relevance – to the community, to the natural world, to living on an island and its remoteness from the mainland. The art world here is peopled both by those who have lived here all their lives and have a historical connection with it as well as those who are drawn to the island as a muse for their creativity Both traditional and contemporary art is respected here.
Inspired by nature and expressed freely in a community that welcomes interaction, artictic pursuit brings people together.
A Culture of Art
Kangaroo Island artists open their galleries and studio doors to visitors in Kingscote, Baudin Beach and in rustic bush and beach settings around the island. There are two community galleries here, staffed completely by volunteers, two commercial galleries and a number of individual artist studios that are open to the public.
Paintings, prints, jewellery, sculptures, glasswork, ceramics and multi-dimensional pieces are produced here and often find their way to the far corners of the globe.
The Island’s Calendar of Art Events is full and active. Art Feast in October each year and gives visitors and locals the chance to experience art in all its forms. There is also an annual Easter Art Exhibition.
In the performing arts, The KI Players stage an annual show which is always a sell-out. The production often involves the Island’s children either in the play itself or associated workshops.
Kangaroo Island artists also take their work to Adelaide for the annual SALA (South Australian Living Artists) Festival, a month of art exhibitions across South Australia. This festival gives them a chance to showcase their work at the National Wine Centre to an even larger audience.
Art Every Day
Art is so important to the Island community. Like sport, it brings people together, but art communicates through the senses and permeates this small but impressive society – it is its conscience and its vitality.