Sugar cane on the line
Is the sugar cane industry headed for a sticky end? Can it survive by switching tracks? Coolum artist Gillian McConnell boils down the issues of this controversial crop in her latest offering, 'Bittersweet'. This exhibition of 'eye-candy' landscapes in mixed media includes a multimedia presentation to provide some food for thought. Exhibition visitors have an opportunity to win some great prizes, featuring major prizes of an original work from 'Bittersweet' by Gillian McConnell and a beautiful gold ring courtesy of MADInItaly.
'Bittersweet' will be accompanied by a luscious display of unique gold jewellery courtesy of MADInItaly, located at the Jewellery Lounge, Sunshine Coast airport. A timely exhibition that a diverse audience will appreciate, Bittersweet runs from 22 January until 5 February at the Access Gallery, Noosa Regional Gallery, Tewantin. Viewers are invited to meet the artist and enjoy some 'bittersweet' treats at the official opening, 2pm, Saturday 24 January. The opening includes free tasting of some lovely wines and bubbly from Naked Wines Direct. A local, family-owned mail order wine supplier, Naked Wines Direct supplies premium wines for the discerning palate.
'Bittersweet' follows hot on the heels of 'Terra Australis', Gillian's recent exhibition of abstract Australian landscapes at the Blue Dolphin Gallery, Mooloolaba. In her latest works, executed in paint and collage, Gillian has narrowed her focus to her local landscape. Says Gillian, "I've grown to love the pattern of the sugar cane seasons - rows of green, sweet-scented crops, followed by the drama of cane fires, smoke-stained sunsets and the clickity-clack of cane trains at harvest-time."
The sale and subsequent closure of the Moreton Sugar Mill prompted Gillian to learn more about the sugar cane industry. Her research included a book about the history of sugar by Australian author Peter Macinnis. By coincidence, the book is entitled 'Bittersweet', and bitter is its story.
"My discoveries engendered some mixed feelings" Gillian explains. "Sugar cane, discovered in Papua new Guinea approximately 9,000 years ago, is possibly the oldest agricultural crop. It is also one of the most controversial. The environmental, health, political and economic issues currently crushing one of Australia's major export crops, are but the latest episode in a dramatic saga. Since its humble beginnings, the sugar industry has involved 150 countries and made fortunes for a few, at the expense of millions."
Is la dolce vita on the Sunshine Coast really bittersweet after all? Cane farmers, developers, environmentalists, politicians, the health conscious and sweet tooths all have their point of view. 'Bittersweet' provides an opportunity for everyone to take a closer look and decide for themselves.
For further information:
Gillian McConnell Ph 5446 4648 Mobile 0412 531 068
Maryke Stagg, Noosa Regional Gallery
Thursday to Sunday Ph 5449 5340
Noosa Regional Gallery
Riverside, Pelican St, Tewantin
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