17 MARCH 2018




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Franki Sparke

calling the earth to witness

Project Information

Franki Sparke will be exhibiting brand new work created specifically for the festival in the Nishi Gallery exhibition Shake It Up, curated by Professor David Williams AM and Anna Trundle. 

CALLING THE EARTH TO WITNESS began with yellow clay taken from the building site next door - a material so basic to art and life it prompted a re-think, literally from the ground up. The title refers to a well-known Buddhist gesture - the right hand touching the ground - by which the earth itself is invoked to witness the Buddha's personal struggle with extremism, discouragement, distraction and displacement. It is about paying attention, being a witness. Paying attention to what is happening now - people displaced, people forced over the edges, people drowning and laid out in rows on the beaches of the Mediterranean. Paying attention to what is just next door.

Franki will also stencil an ad hoc series of related images on the ground at various locations throughout the festival site. These ephemeral pieces will disappear naturally over time, be it a few hours or a few weeks; each piece speaking to the nature of the ground on which they’ve been made, and the environment that they were created in.

About the Artist

Franki is an established visual artist with over 35 years experience in Canberra - primarily as a printmaker and illustrator. Her work has been awarded locally (eg. CAPO Creative Fellowship (2011), M16 Drawing Prize (2006), Australian Graphic Design Association Distinction Award for Illustration (2006)) represented in the Australian National Gallery, and can also be seen in many of Canberra's public places (eg. CMAG). She has been recognised internationally; as Bridgeguard Artist-in-residence in Sturovo, Slovakia (2013), represented at Krakow Print Triennial in Poland and Guanlan Print Biennial in China (2015), and as an illustrator at Bologna Children's' Book Fair Illustrators Exhibition in Italy (2007 and 2010) and this year’s NAMI Concours in South Korea - and awarded First Prize in the 14th International Competition of Illustration held by the Associazione Culturale Teatrio of Venice in 2008.

Franki works from a studio at Gorman House Arts Centre and at Megalo Print Studio - mainly with simple printmaking techniques such as relief-print and stencil and, most recently, risograph. Much of her artwork is improvised at the printing stage and includes either text and/or narrative elements.