Image: Tarnanthi 2021, Christina Gollan ceramic installation, Art Gallery of South Australia, Catapult mentorship program, photo: Saul Steed
The Catapult + Tarnanthi 2020 mentorship saw Kaurna, Boandik and Ngarrindjeri artist Christina Gollan undertake mentorship opportunity to further her creative practice.
Across 2020 and 2021, Christina Gollan (with mentor Kirsten Coelho) dedicated studio time to strengthening technical, conceptual and critical skills, culminating in the showing of works in Tarnanthi: Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art in 2021.
Christina Gollan worked with renowned ceramicist Kirsten Coelho (SA) to hone her skills in a dedicated ceramics studio. She entered the mentorship with the aim to develop her use of colour and expand her practice to include large works and sculpture, expanding her decorative techniques that can be seen in the carved details on her works.
Now on show in Tarnanthi: Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, Gollan’s pieces are a celebration of colour, storytelling and the Australian wildlife. Responding to the natural world with personal narratives delicately interwoven through the colourful hand build pieces, Christina’s work draws your focus to what is often overlooked.
Making something out of a block of clay into something amazing is the most wonderful feeling ever. Even the smallest seed pods or animals can show you life is so precious and beautiful, big or small. I love making things people might not notice.
Image: Mentor Kirsten Coelho and Christina Gollan in the JamFactory studio, photograph: Saul Steed.
Christina Gollan is a Kauna and Ngarrindjeri woman, a child of 1960’s born in Adelaide. Her connection with art started in her youth, with a love of drawing and expanded to clay when she was 15, making her first clay statue at high school. Juggling parenthood with her art practice, Christina studied art at Tauondi College after her fourth child. Lecturer Silvia Stansfield was a monumental influence and support as Christina’s ceramics lecturer and encouraged her to pursue a mentorship at JamFactory for further learning, and together Siliva and Kirsten Coehlo provided direction and skill development to the artist.
‘I was surrounded by so many beautiful ceramic artists. Making something out of a block clay into something amazing is the most wonderful feeling ever.Even the smallest seed pods or Animals can show you life is so precious and beautiful big or small I love making things people might not notice’ – Christina Gollan
Christina has exhibited as a Finalist in the Shepparton Indigenous Ceramic Award, Shepparton Art Museum (VIC) and her ceramic work is available at the JamFactory store, she has exhibited in Adelaide at the Migration Museum, Tanadanya, JamFactory and Adelaide Festival Centre.
Kirsten Coelho works in porcelain creating functional forms and vessels of other-worldly perfection that fuse the formal with the abstract. Her work has been influenced by the history of ceramics, in particular the aging surfaces of nineteenth and early twentieth-century domestic enamel wares – jugs, flask, bowls, beakers – echoes of the pleasures of daily life which she reiterates in inviolate meditations on the history, purity and order of daily rituals and routines.
Having returned to Australia from London in the late 1990s, Coelho’s concern with the formal archetypes of the historical household turned to the nineteenth-century Australia settler/migrant experience. The extraordinary dreams, ambitions and failings of these experiences are referenced in the luscious thick white glazes and pared back simplicity of Coelho’s works, which consider how objects and art shape history and cultural memory.
Coelho was included in the 2018 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Divided Worlds curated by Erica Green. Recent solo institutional exhibitions include In The Falling Light, Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University, Canberra (2015), touring to Newcastle Art Gallery, Newcastle (2015). Coelho accepted an invitation to undertake a residency at Tweed Regional Gallery, Murwillumbah, in 2015 which resulted in a solo exhibition at Tweed Regional Gallery the following year.
Kirsten Coelho holds a Master of Visual Art from the University of South Australia. Her work has been exhibited internationally at Sullivan and Strumpf Singapore, Art Basel Hong Kong (2017); PAD London (2018); TEFAF, Maastricht (2020); and Masterpiece London (2019).
Coelho’s work is represented in numerous institutional collections including the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth; Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; Art Gallery of New South Wales; Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane;; Chatsworth House, UK; and the Boymans Van Beuningen Stichting Museum, The Netherlands. She has been the recipient of numerous awards including the City of Hobart Art Prize (2015), the Sidney Myer Ceramic Award (2012) and the Josephine Ulrick Ceramic Award (2005).
Kirsten Coelho’s practice was the subject of the SALA 2020 monograph written by Wendy Walker and published by Wakefield Press.