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Overwintering: Art and students set to soar

Art students flying high

Students across South Regional TAFE have embraced art and conservation in an international printmaking showcase.

Twenty six students from the Denmark and Margaret River campuses and others from North Metropolitan TAFE will have work exhibited at the Overwintering exhibition from June 22 to July 7.

The Overwintering Project is a travelling international exhibition of printmakers responding to migratory shore birds eating and nesting from Australia to Alaska and Siberia. Since its inception, the program has included over 350 artworks and over one thousand artists.

In early 2022 the Overwintering Print Portfolio was exhibited at the Butter Factory Studios in Denmark.

Lecturer Nikki Green took her printmaking students to see the exhibition and they were inspired by the diversity and depth of work on display.

Nikki recognised the opportunity for students to contribute to the project and set about working with her students and eventually finding a venue to exhibit the project, with the student’s artwork a culmination of 12 months of dedication. 

The project had a great impact on the students with Denmark printmaking student Leah Matek saying: “Through the use of observation and a desire of creativity we discover the true importance and deeper understanding of nature.”

South Regional TAFE Managing Director Darshi Ganeson congratulated staff and students who made the exhibition possible and the Overwintering Project itself for what they do in using art to raise awareness of the plight of migratory birds.

"There are wonderful artistic skills that have contributed to the exhibition, which is a wonderful example of collaboration between two TAFE colleges and we are excited to see what other opportunities may come in the future," she said.

Elsa Marshall (Printmaking student, SR TAFE Denmark); Kay Gibson (Visual Art Lecturer, SR TAFE, Margaret River); Julie Lehane (RCM SR TAFE, Denmark/Mt Barker); Kate Gorringe-Smith (founder Overwintering Project, Melbourne); Leah Matek (Printmaking student, SR TAFE Denmark); Nikki Green (Visual Art Lecturer, SR TAFE, Denmark); Darshi Ganeson (MD SRTAFE); Paula Dewhurst (Director of Training, NMT); Back: Mark Henderson (Printmaking student, SR TAFE Denmark)

Art and conservation

All the artworks are 28 by 28cm and are inspired by the extraordinary migrations of migratory shorebirds over the East Australasian Flyway. Some of these remarkable birds, which may weigh the same as a biscuit, are critically endangered. These shorebirds fly miraculously over twenty-three nations and nest and breed throughout various sites in Australia.

Margaret River TAFE Art lecturer Kay Gibson said “Projects like these show students that art has a place in commenting on current world events. The Overwintering print collection is exhibited to audiences in many regions through Australia and New Zealand giving our students an authentic experience in the art world.”

Kay looks forward to more opportunities for South Regional TAFE to collaborate with other learning areas and other colleges in Western Australia.

Each artist contributes two prints to the portfolio of the Overwintering Project. One is set aside for sale, while the other is part of a substantial permanent collection that is displayed in sites across Australia on a regular basis.

Collaboration across learning areas

The Overwintering Project is an opportunity to make art while simultaneously raising awareness of the endangered Migratory Shorebirds as an international phenomenon.

Projects like this provide students with the opportunity to have their work exhibited in the metropolitan area, to participate in an authentic experience of the Visual Art Industry, to gain a deeper understanding of the threatened status of migratory birds and to gain an understanding of the printmaking process.

Further Information:

Gallery Central – 12 Aberdeen Street, Perth

Exhibition hours: 11am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday.

From June 22 to July 7