NZ Artist Heather Watt arrives in Broken Hill

New Zealand artist Heather Watt

The Broken Hill Art Exchange (BHAE) welcomed New Zealand artist Heather Watt for an art residency in Broken Hill this week.

Ms Watt’s residency is for between 8 and 10 weeks; in that time, she hopes to run workshops and engage with the Broken Hill community through her art.

“I decided to come to Broken Hill for the art residency because I think being in a different environment and having this new experience will be good for creating my artwork,” Ms Watt said.

The workshops will focus on mixed media techniques, including multi-layering and collage techniques and will show people how to build up paint and learn aging techniques.

These are techniques Ms Watt uses in her artwork.

One work, ‘Moving Forward,’ repurposes an old tea chest and uses aging and collage techniques to create the artwork.

‘Moving Forward’ beckons the viewer to inspect the work in more detail by moving closer. That’s when the viewer begins to see what is happening with the materiality and texture of the artwork.

Ms Watt uses mixed media and aging techniques on corten steel, corrugated iron, wood, paint and paper in her artwork.

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“Our workshops are designed for the general public and new and emerging artists. Most of our workshops are targeted at people who want to learn a new skill. Participants don’t need to have any prior experience, and they will come away with a new skill or a work they’ve made,” Susan Thomas from BHAE said.

The BHAE is planning to run a two-hour workshop and a full-day workshop said Ms Thomas.

Ms Watt hopes families will also come along as a group and learn something new.

Ms Watt has a practice in the Coromandel region of New Zealand. Even though she has been making artwork for the past 20 years it was only in January 2020 that she decided to take up full-time art practice in Whangamata.

A month later, Ms Watt won the Harcourt Art Challenge run by the Whangamata Art Collective and received the supreme award, first prize in 2D for her work ‘Scratching the surface’.

Ms Watt worked in the Middle East and Europe. While working in Bahrain between 2008 and 2012, she completed two art courses through the Metafora International Art School in Barcelona, including a Diploma in Art Therapy which helped her learn the principles of art therapy at the introductory level.

The Little Gallery in Tairua and Whangamata has works by Ms Watt for sale and these can also be viewed on their website.

“My artwork draws on the coastal environment where I live and deals with ideas of history,” Ms Watt said.

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The BHAE is a not-for-profit organisation and is run by artists and volunteers, they have three artists in-house and provide affordable accommodation and studio spaces for up to 30 artists visiting or living in the city and have gallery space for exhibitions.

Ms Thomas explained that BHAE’s annual general meeting will be held at 6pm on July, 4 and is open to anyone interested in supporting or volunteering with BHAE.

One way the local community can support the artist run organisation is by considering holding a position on the BHAE committee.

If anyone wants to learn more about the BHAE or Ms Watt’s upcoming workshops, or the BHAE committee they can contact Susan Thomas at the BHAE on
08 8088 4698.

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