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The Condensery new commission sparks curiosity around the tale of the red deer

The Condensery - Somerset Regional Art Gallery in Toogoolawah is celebrating a $30,000 grant from the Australia Council for the Arts.

Published: 31st August 2021

The Condensery - Somerset Regional Art Gallery in Toogoolawah is celebrating a $30,000 grant from the Australia Council for the Arts for a commission of work by Brisbane-based, Gympie-born artist Caitlin Franzmann.
Somerset Deputy Mayor Councillor Helen Brieschke said Caitlin will be in residence at the gallery a number of times in the lead up to her exhibition, currently scheduled to run from November 2022 until February 2023.
“We’re absolutely delighted,” Cr Brieschke said.
“Caitlin will be speaking with community members and groups about the history, landscape and geography of the region, including stories of the red deer, which will influence her new work.
“We have also received funding to develop an education and engagement program to accompany the exhibition.
“The investment by the Australian Government in an artwork that will explore our region’s histories and landscape represents a very significant outcome for the Somerset community.”
Gallery Curator Rachel Arndt said it was a first for The Condensery to introduce an artist to the region to work closely with the community and respond to our unique and precious history, heritage and natural environment.
“Çaitlin Franzmann is an artist of international repute – she explores how art can bring together multiple perspectives and promote conversation, deep listening and awareness of critical issues impacting the environment.
“She creates work and situations that encourage slowness, contemplation and social interactions,” Ms Arndt said.
Red deer arrived in Somerset as a gift from Queen Victoria to celebrate the naming of Queensland in her honour. They have since been considered a distinctive emblem of the region which has sparked many questions for Caitlin.
“I’m curious to learn how the landscape and communities have been shaped by the deer over time and to understand the multiple perspectives of locals co-existing with the deer – as a threat, resource, iconic symbol, or simply a creature of wonder”, Caitlin said.
Her research will explore the multi-species relationships and histories that are formed through habitation, farming, hunting, conservation and recreation in the Somerset region.
Ms Arndt said Caitlin will sensitively explore interactions between First Nations peoples and settlers to understand the history and to promote links between their descendants in the present day. Awareness of such histories will be woven through the work and accompanying programs.
Caitlin stated “At the initial phase of this project, I will be reaching out to traditional custodians of the region in the hope of building mutual respect and creating opportunities for furthering cultural awareness of their connection to this land that spans tens of thousands of years.”

Picture Caption: Artist in residence... Caitlin Franzmann's commission is a first for the Condensery.



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