Araluen Arts Centre commemorates artist Iain Campbell


The Araluen Arts Centre will open a new exhibition I used to be an artist to commemorate the life of Alice Springs artist Iain Campbell this Friday.

I used to be an artist is a line that comes from a poem titled Gum Trees by Iain Campbell.

“The Araluen Arts Centre will acknowledge the significant contribution that Iain Campbell made to the visual art sector in Central Australia by exhibiting works from the Araluen Art Collection and the estate of the artist,” Director of the Araluen Cultural Precinct, Dr Mark Crees said.

“Iain was a painter of stories: stories of place - this place - and stories of people through portraiture. His paintings offer a personal and thought-provoking view of the connections and at time disconnections between people and their social, physical and psychological environment.

“His paintings are also an important historical record of Alice Springs and highlight the many changes it has gone through over the past four decades.

“The works in this exhibition are a testament to Iain’s capacity as a painter, his considered, thought-provoking and at times challenging eye and his capacity to captivate audiences locally and nationally.

Iain Campbell was born in 1938 in Glasgow, Scotland.  In 1956, he commenced his studies at the Glasgow School of Art and in 1961, completed his Diploma of Art.

Mr Campbell moved to Australia in 1971 and came to Alice Springs in 1975, where he remained until the time of his passing.

He was an active member of the community who originally taught at the Alice Springs High School, and then at the Department of Creative and Applied Art, TAFE College, Alice Springs, now known as Charles Darwin University. He held the position of Head of Department of Creative and Applied Art from 1986 until 1996.

Mr Campbell held major exhibitions in Scotland, Cyprus and New South Wales, and held six solo exhibitions in Alice Springs including two major retrospectives at the Araluen Arts Centre: Looking Forward in Retrospect in 1999 (a retrospective of works between 1958 -1998) and Reflections in 2014 (a second major retrospective of the artist’s work from between 1962 to 2013).

Mr Campbell was a regular participant in the Portrait of a Senior Territorian Art Award (which he won twice), the Advocate Art Award and the Alice Prize.

The Araluen Art Collection is pleased to hold seven of Mr Campbell’s works that date from 1983 to 2014.

In 2016 Mr Campbell started working on a major new series that concentrated on key moments that took place during his life, including a work titled In search of lost artworks that was exhibited in last year’s Advocate Art Award, winning the Stories category.

“Iain Campbell forged a strong connection to Central Australia, not only through his paintings but also through his teaching and role with the Central Australian Art Society over many years,” Dr Crees said.

“He also loved to connect with people and forging genuine relationships with others was a key priority for him.

“He will live on through the numerous paintings he created during what was a full life.”

The Iain Campbell exhibition I used to be an artist will open this Friday 17 March with a celebratory morning tea at 10am.

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