Charity art and design auction for animals

By Penny Craswell

A diverse range of pieces from 31 designers and artists has been curated by Liane Rossler for Compassionate Voices, a charity art and design auction being put on by Voiceless, the Animal Protection Institute.

Part of Sydney Design Festival, the opening night will be held at Sydney design brand Koskela’s Waterloo store on 14 August with Dr Charlie Teo as MC, the auction itself run by Christie’s Ronan Sulich and vegan food by Kitchen by Mike. Live entertainment and a children’s workshop round out the proceedings.

Artist: Anna-Wili Highfield
Roos. Artist: Anna-Wili Highfield. Image: Petrina Tinslay

Sydney artist and sculptor Anna-Wili Highfield has been commissioned to create one of her wonderful intricate pieces stitched together from archival cotton rag, minimally portraying a kangaroo, which is the centrepiece of the show. Hermes fans may have seen Highfield’s work in their shop windows in Sydney and Brisbane. She also worked as a scenic artist for Opera Australia before setting up her business in 2008 making sculptures independently by commission.

Designers contributing to the auction include Sydney-based industrial designer Andrew Simpson from VERT who has designed the Whittier Whittier birdhouse specifically to protect and feed wrens (including the Superb Fairy Wren) which are in decline in Sydney. The birdhouse consists of two timber pieces and two glass parts designed specifically to provide food and water to the birds.

Adelaide-based furniture designer Khai Liew has used his expertise in timber to create a table called Double Dutch. The tabletop continues on a downward slope past the legs which can be a reference to a Dutch nun’s habit or to the hanging ears of a dog.

Andrew Simpson (left) and Khai Liew (right
Whittier Whittier birdhouse by Andrew Simpson (left) and Double Dutch table by Khai Liew (right)

Melbourne designer Dale Hardiman from LAB DE STU also has dogs on his mind with Polly Shelter, a piece which, like his Polly Popper lamp, is made entirely from polycaprolactone, a non-toxic and biodegradable polymer used in the medical industry. Handformed simultaneously by three people, Polly Shelter is a multi-coloured environment for a dog.

Still on the shelter theme, artist Jasmine Targett’s work is called Architecture for Bees, a response to Colony Collapse Disorder, the phenomenon of bees disappearing around the world. Fascinated in the overlap of art with science, Targett has used handblown sandblasted glass originally engineered for the visor of NASA’s space suit helmets to create the work.

Dale Hardiman (left) and Jasmine Targett (right)
Poly Shelter by Dale Hardiman (left) and Architecture for Bees by Jasmine Targett (right)

Two weaving artists from Elcho Island in Arnhem Land are also included in the exhibition: Mavis Warrngilna Ganambarr has created a dog basket for the exhibition using natural dyes and native bamboo, and Judy Manany whose work Barramundi is one of her series of playful works in soft sculpture.

Mavis Warrngilna Ganambarr (left) and Judy Manany (right)
Dog Basket by Mavis Warrngilna Ganambarr (left) and Barramundi by Judy Manany (right)

Other representations of animals include ‘Mambrino by George Stubbs’ by Brisbane artist Michael Zavros, a work which shows the artist’s mastery of charcoal in a subject that harks back to the 18th Century animal painters, and Sassy Park’s ‘Brush Bronzewing and Red-tailed Phascogale bowl’, a work that also shows the artist’s attention to detail, this time painted on slip-cast porcelain.

Michael Zavros (left) and Sassy Park (right)
Mambrino by George Stubbs by Michael Zavros (left) and Brush Bronzewing and Red-Tailed Phascogale bowl by Sassy Park (right)

Curator Liane Rossler says: “I selected the artists for their personal approaches and for their works. Many of them I had met through collecting their work, others through previous collaborations, and others I had admired. The range is extremely diverse in terms of approach, response, materials and  experience. They are all compassionate, creative and talented artists, and I love how they have all approached the brief so uniquely.”

Sasha Titchkosky from Koskela says: “We worked with Voiceless last year on their annual fundraiser with Gene Sherman and felt that we might be able to broaden their message by possibly tapping into our client base and working with some of the artists we had worked with.”

Animals are always a popular subject for those buying art. These custom pieces created with animals in mind provide wide-ranging concepts in a variety of different media from all corners of the art and design universe, all for a great cause.

More on Compassionate Voices including tickets

More on Sydney Design Festival

More on Curator Liane Rossler

More on Koskela

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