Textile artist Valerie Kirk, Head of Textiles in the ANU School of Art has been awarded the 2013 ACT Creative Arts Fellowship for a community tapestry project to commemorate the Centenary of Canberra. The $45,000 Fellowship will give Valerie the opportunity to connect with the Canberra community through her tapestry work.
This project involves the nation in creating tapestry to celebrate its capital through two components. The first component, Valerie's, will be a major 1.4 by 2.7 metre community tapestry designed by Annie Trevillian, produced by members of the community in Canberra, and permanently displayed in the ACT Legislative Assembly.
Valerie says, “I’m delighted to have won this award. It feels like such a great acknowledgement of my work. It’s also an opportunity to focus on the production of new work.”
This project engages with the community to produce tapestry to celebrate 100 years of Canberra as the capital of Australia: a commemorative gift to the city and the nation. Community tapestry projects began in Australia 30 years ago and have gained prominence through the versatility of the medium, the involvement of everyone from children through to skilled weavers, and by affirming the value of culture and community building activity. The tapestries affirm the value of artistic activity through the benefits to the individual and wider public who can appreciate the time involved in creating a tapestry, the skill required, and the enduring nature of the rich, tactile artform. The community tapestry will highlight the Centenary of Canberra and create awareness of the celebration across the country. Using social media networking, a blog, an e-newsletter and traditional media the reach and understanding of tapestry can be expanded.
"The outcome of this project for me will be a much broader connection to the Canberra community through engagement in tapestry activities: giving talks and demonstrations in schools, retirement homes, weekend markets, shopping and arts centres," she says.