Laurie and Marian Collins have recently returned from taking an exhibition of Gippsland art to the small Canadian town of Quesnel. The exhibition opened on July the 8th and continued all month at the Quesnel art gallery.The opening was attended by nearly 100 people and music was provided by the younger members of the old time fiddlers. There was a steady stream of people looking at the work over the time and many positive comments were written in the visitors book. The exhibition was organised by Laurie and featured Laurie’s work but also included work from other local identities Laurel Billington, Lucy Chapman, Marian Collins, Noeleen Downie, Anita George, Lisa Kurec , Jessie McLennan, Gary Miles, Sue Osborn, Adam Price, Joan Price, Helen Timbury,Ingrid Thomas, Kerrie Warren and Travis Wiltshire.
A teacher from Quesnel ( Jim Benson)who had worked for a year at Drouin Secondary College, facilitated the exhibition and the Collins’ stayed with Jim and his family for part of the time they were in Canada. Some of the travel arrangements were handled by Jaqui Turner travel agency and Laurie and Marian toured through quite a bit of British Columbia and its near neighbors looking at art and culture and sketching and taking photos of a range of subjects. Much of this will provide inspiration for a new exhibition to be held later in the year called “Reflections on Canada”. This will be at Gary Miles’ Gallery Bradley Hall and also will include work by most of the people who were part of the Canadian exhibition.
Marian wrote an extensive blog of their travels and this can be seen on Laurie Collins website( www.lauriecollins.com.au)
Asked about his impressions of Canada, Laurie said” It sure is a big country. We saw lots and lots of trees, giant pines and birches and real mountains as we passed through the Rockies. We found lots of inspiration in the art of the first Nation tribes but felt that Gippsland had a more vibrant art culture than many of the places we visited. There was a certain conservatism of outlook and a lack of curiosity about different ideas. However, we found Canadians to be a very polite and helpful people and we really enjoyed the experience although 6 weeks is a long while to be away from my shed!.