It’s Back!! The great Sketching – DAC:CAC…

8 08 2008

(above) Nigel McRae’s ‘fat cats in city apartments’ piece (below, r) Beam’s entry



Last year Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre kicked off the inaugural Sketching – Designing a Capital: Crafting a City program; an annual two week investigative culture-fest bent on rallying the collective Canberra consciousness in the lead up to the Territory’s Big Centenary in 2013. DAC:CAC poses the all the big questions…Does Canberra have a pulse or is it languishing in the bland zone? Is it merely a sheep yard with a very shallow dam?

“With barely five years to go there is much to do, say, and think about this meticulously planned city. Are we not the very epitome, the zenith even, of the Great Australian Dream? Is our social fabric not the quintessential warp and weft of middle-class aspiration? Are we not model citizens in the model city? How do we define ourselves, and what are the defining arty-facts of our uber-suburban bush-bound life?” 




(above) Heather Burness uncovered a world of games


All this and more will be teased out over the next few years and with any luck, come the 100th birthday bash, we will have discovered a quintessential peculiarly local cultural identity. But it’s up to YOU. Yes folks, this is a grass roots initiative – modelled along strict egalitarian lines


                Bernie Slater’s citizen 


DAC:CAC is an action packed fortnight of forum and fun, with the centre stage of the first week taken up by Shifting Perspectives II, an all-in contemporary art scrum where people of all media persuasions are encouraged to submit works pertaining to all things Canberra. This is not a selected show. The floor of Craft ACT’s gallery is thrown open to all comers; members of Craft ACT, students from ANU School of Art/UC/CIT, practicing artists, wannabe artists, and, yes, even pretentious others. This is your opportunity to express yourself on the subject of your environment (political/social/natural/whatever.) The set-up is simple. You bring your work in to the gallery any time from day one of the exhibition, and it grows like Topsy from there. Craft ACT’s curatorial staff have control over where the pieces are placed, but apart from that it’s a totally evolving, organic affair.



                             Alex Asch at his topical best



Last year was a wonderful experiment in social democracy. Much of the establishment arts and craft mob stood back in quiet (even muttering) disdain to begin with- but once the show started to gain momentum (and people started to ‘get it’) many threw caution to the wind and got with the program. By the time of the closing party on the following Monday the gallery was chocka with the most amazing Canberra-centric esoteria imaginable. It was vibrant and animated and relevant. Bloody marvellous, in fact.  And unquestionably a huge success. Not the least because it threw lots of unconnected people together in a lively cacophonous embrace. We’re hoping that this year people will take up the call with no less enthusiasm. Anybody whose interest has been peaked, go to the Craft ACT website to download the program (…go here and scroll down the page.)



(above) Rachel Bowak’s Canberra – an empty stubbie pack


This is a rather hurried post, we’re sorry, because the Gang’s about to fang up the Monaro to catch the rounds at ArtWranglers and Helen Maxwell Gallery tonight. We’ve popped in just a few of the 2007 offerings and next week will bring you the full spread – if only to whip up a little incentive…