City Gallery a cultural hub

The colours and excitement of Italian culture are set to be highlighted using ceramic art. Wollongong City Gallery will celebrate multiculturalism through its Potter’s Brush exhibition and Italian cultural event this weekend.

‘Celebrating Italian Culture in the Illawarra’ is being held on Sunday to recognise cultural diversity in the region. Wollongong City Gallery is using its ceramic art exhibition The Potter’s Brush, as a springboard for the event.

“The exhibition presents the work of Italian ceramic artist Marino Moretti who works in traditional maiolica techniques but translates them in a contemporary context,” says Wollongong City Gallery program director, John Monteleone.

“By engaging with art we can open ourselves to new or other ideas which can have a profound impact on how we view the world.”

Mr Monteleone says at the ‘Celebrating Italian Culture’ event, there will be a talk in both Italian and English about The Potter’s Brush exhibition.

“It (art) is often inspirational and represents the best of human achievement. It is something that can be embraced by everyone,” Mr Monteleone says.

The work of local lustre ceramic artist John Kuczwal, is also showcased in The Potter’s Brush exhibition. Mr Kuczwal invited Mr Moretti from Italy to participate in the show.

“The tradition of lustre or maiolica making originated in the Islamic world but travelled to Italy and became part of their tradition,” says Mr Kuczwal.

“Ceramics can reflect different cultures. To my eye, Marino’s work is very Italian in the shape, images and colours used. His work could only have come from Italy.”

Plans for Sunday afternoon are designed to reach out to Italian migrants living in the Illawarra community. Through live music, traditional food and a card playing competition, Mr Monteleone aims to attract anyone who is interested in exploring Italian culture.

Lecturer in Italian at the University of Wollongong, Mariolina Pais Marden, believes the Italian community in the area is active in keeping their culture and traditions alive.

“I think it is very important because it allows many people that have strong emotional bonds with Italy (and, also people that have an interest in the culture and the Italian language) to maintain this bond,” says Ms Pais Marden.

“I think it’s important to promote the Italian culture in any way possible,” she says.

“I attend organised events because it’s a way to stay in touch with the Italian culture and especially the Italian people in my city.”

*Interview with Mariolina Pais-Marden was translated from Italian into English

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