What does Townsville mean to you?
While the city means different things to different people, there are some features that stick out as ‘iconic Townsville’.
These are features Sylvia Hewitt has encompassed in her new exhibition at the Drill Hall Studio, Glimpse: Through a Townsville Window.
“The images in the exhibition are things that resonate with me – like mangoes falling on cars. You can never park your car in the wrong place because mangoes will drop on it. There’s a car on Bundock Street and when mango season comes along, it’s always covered in them,” Sylvia said.
“I spent a lot of my childhood in Cronulla, so when my husband takes me to Magnetic Island on a windy day, if I squint my eyes it reminds me of that. It’s the little things that mean a lot to me and represent Townsville – like the Curlews screaming at night! The first time I heard them I thought what the hell was that, because we didn’t have those things down in Sydney, especially in the city.
“This exhibition really started about 10-15 years ago when my husband and I found some Silky Oak louvres from an old Queenslander at the dump. I got my husband to sand them back and cut them as frames, and it kind of started from there. I had to write a TAFE assignment as a mock-up Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) grant so I even called it ‘Through a Townsville window’ back then too. It’s been on my mind for many years to actually do it, but couldn’t find the right medium to put in with them. Then at the beginning of this year I had the spark to do them as collagraphs. The collagraphs work really well with the frames, look fabulous, and really emphasise my relationship with North Queensland and Townsville.”
As well as having a solo exhibition in the Studio’s gallery space, Sylvia is one of the Drill Hall’s resident artists and holds several classes there each week.
“I teach the charcoal and beginner art classes; an introduction to everybody about all the different mediums so they can go and choose the medium they’d like to pursue. I worked in art shops for 10 years as a sales assistant and people would come in buying tubes and tubes of paint and I’d hear them saying ‘I didn’t like that, it dried too quickly or didn’t work right.’ These beginner classes each week they try a different medium and broaden people’s knowledge of how to use these materials. I know some have gone on and done further classes, it’s like a taster smorgasbord of art. It’s a fun way of meeting people as well.”
Catch Sylvia Hewitt’s Glimpse: Through a Townsville Window at the Drill Hall Studio until 7 July. For information on classes and workshops at the Drill Hall Studio, find more information on their Facebook page.