NVI: Sirens of Gunnedah exhibition draws crowds

The Sirens of Gunnedah exhibition is off to an explosive start.

Locals packed into the Gunnedah Bicentennial Creative Arts Gallery like sardines on Friday night, awaiting the surprise reveal with bated breath.

Two Cats Creative’s Alyssa Barwick and Marie Low kept more than 50 conceptual photos of local women under wraps for 18 months but the wait was over after their mothers, Niki Low and Helene Barwick, opened the exhibition.

There were tears, exclamations of surprise, and plenty of selfies after the doors opened and the crowds poured in. Some people even hotfooted it down after seeing it on TV.

The exhibition featured five current and former NVI staff, a koala carer, radio host, dance mums, and even Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning, Sarah Mitchell.

NVI caught up with Ms Low and Ms Barwick after the exhibition and they said it “exceeded every expectation”.

“We’ve had an overwhelming response. We’ve had people who’ve told us they were so emotional they cried from one end of it to the other; those are not people who are in the exhibition either,” Ms Low said.

“There’s a photo [taken of siren] Kate Knight and her husband Ray, and the look on his face nearly made me cry, it was so proud.

“It was everything we hoped for and a whole lot more.”

Locals crowd in to see the exhibition.

 Locals crowd in to see the exhibition.

Ms Barwick said she “couldn’t believe it” when she walked out of the gallery space ahead of the opening and saw a queue winding all the way out the front door.

Ms Low said “the element of surprise made it really successful” and many commented that sirens were unrecognisable.

“Part of what I’ve loved about it is that nearly everyone has had a different favourite,” she said.

“There was a lot of fun with people recreating siren’s photos as well.”

Ex-NVI employee Carly Webster features in the sirens' calendar.

 Ex-NVI employee Carly Webster features in the sirens’ calendar.

Ex-NVI editor Ron McLean is among those lavishing praise on the creative duo and wrote to NVI saying he was “struggling to find the words” to describe the exhibition.

“Commonplace words such as amazing, incredible, outstanding and exceptional are barely adequate to describe this exhibition, which is a photographic treat encompassing fashion, design, dance and hair and make-up,” he wrote.

“It was brilliant – the concept, the time and extraordinary detail, which must have been required to put it together, [and] the catchy accompanying text to the photographs.

“It dazzles and sparkles and it’s not possible to convey a word picture of what you see – you will have to see it for yourself.

“It’s another example of the deep well of flair and creative talent of people in Gunnedah. Five stars to the creators.”

It dazzles and sparkles and it’s not possible to convey a word picture of what you see.

Ron McLean

Ms Low and Ms Barwick offered their thanks to “the masses of people who made it a reality”.

“Thank you to people for … having faith in us to let us not only take their photo, but the people who came and were excited and celebrated it,” Ms Barwick said.

“I wouldn’t change anything.”

  • Merchandise and limited edition prints are available.
  • The exhibition will be on display until January 18.
  • A Sirens of Gunnedah workshop will be held on December 12 at 6pm. For more details, visit the Sirens of Gunnedah Facebook page.

By Vanessa Hohnke / November 25, 2019 / Source: www.nvi.com.au

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