Artists’ debut exhibition at River of Art

Artist Sally Veer (pictured seated above with Bound to Earth cafe owner Khobi Graham) has just returned to the Far South Coast and will make her artistic debut with an exhibition that’s part of the “Art on Parade” program in the 2017 River of Art festival.

Her work, inspired by memories of growing up on the coast, will be on display at the Bound to Earth cafe in Narooma from May 19, when the festival kicks off with shops and businesses from Durras to Bermagui displaying local art as part of the festival.

Ms Veer grew up in the Quaama Brogo area before heading off to the city as a 17-year-old girl to attend the University of Technology Sydney where she obtained a Bachelor in Design degree, focusing on fabrics and textiles.

She landed a great job working for fashion designer Lee Mathews and helped build up her women’s fashion label over seven years.

After starting out working on various fashion lines, she progressed to brand management overseeing the whole operation and making sure it fit in with Lee Mathew’s vision.

But then she and her partner 16 months ago had their first child, Mali, and decided to move back to where she grew up to start a new life in the country. She said she wanted her daughter to have the same childhood experiences that she did.

“I loved growing up here and we spent a lot of time camping at Mimosa Rocks National Park,” Ms Veer said. “Mum worked on Dalmeny so we would be on the beaches at Narooma all the time.”

They have now bought a little house in Narooma and real estate was another reason for their move, and as we all know entering the housing market in Sydney is near impossible for young people.

“We couldn’t afford a house in Sydney and so many of our friends are now moving back to where they grew up with their young families,” she said. “But then you sit back and think, what are we going to do for a job.”

Ms Veer hopes her first artistic exhibition in the River of Art will be a springboard to a new career in art on the South Coast, although she still has some plans to do overseas textile sourcing trips for Lee Mathews.

“I wanted to do the River of Art exhibition as a way of getting back into creativity and have been doing lots of painting and sewing,” she said. “I am hoping to use the exhibition as a launching pad to start producing fabric from my drawings, combining art and fashion.”

Her long-term goal is to open an open, collaborative studio where she and fellow local artists can start creating and showcasing local talent and the area’s natural beauty.

“I’d love to have a shop front eventually and I like the idea of using local products and collaborating with local artists to work on things that showcase the area,” she said.

Her exhibition in the River of Art will be called “Returning South” and will feature a mix of watercolor and acrylic paintings and postcards, as well as some hand-stitched creations.

“The running thread through the exhibition will be the stitched line because that is my expertise and where my knowledge is,” she said.

Her inspiration are her childhood memories of the rock formations and landscapes of the coast, with lots of earthy tones, ochre colours, deep blues and charcoals. She has resisted painting from photographs, because she said she wanted her work to be spontaneous, coming from her memories.

She will donate part of any profits from the sale of her work to the South Coast branch of the Australian Seabird Rescue organisation, as she is friends with a couple of volunteers at Bermagui. She recently went to check on a few little penguins being nursed back to health for release at Montague Island.

She is also pleased to have been paired with fellow young, female entrepreneur Khobi Graham and her Narooma cafe Bound to Earth, which also has a focus on locally produced food and drink.

Ms Graham is equally excited to have “Returning South” exhibition coming to her cafe in Midtown Narooma and plans to rearrange some of her shelving to make room for 15 larger works as well as multiple smaller postcard-style drawings.

The pair plan to have an opening celebration at the cafe on Saturday, May 20 at 10am.

Story courtesy of The Narooma News, 28 April 2017.