Celebrate the magic of the face

The inaugural Festival of the Face will be launched at the Bega Valley Regional Gallery on Friday, coinciding with the opening of the Shirley Hannan National Portrait Award.

Locations throughout the Bega Valley will be showcasing the region’s creative talent by celebrating the face and everything to do with it, with works across a vast array of mediums on exhibition.

Highlights include pop-up galleries at the old Retravision store and various locations throughout Bega; ‘Show us your Selfies’, on TV monitors in selected shops; the Faces of Australia’s Oyster Coast photographic exhibition by Heide Smith, at Tathra Wharf Locavore; and At the bar, portraits of Commercial Hotel regulars by Andy Brown.

Several community events will also be held at Littleton Gardens, while a number of theatre events will be held throughout June.

And it’s not just about admiring the works of others, with the Bega Valley Regional Gallery’s ‘Face Up and Make a Portrait!’ program, from May 28-June 5, giving visitors the opportunity to create a portrait of their own to hang in the gallery for all to see.

“We are looking forward to seeing how creative people can be – making their own portrait after seeing the best from around the country,” Helena Bezzina, the gallery’s access and learning facilitator, said.

“Visitors, young and old, can use free art materials in our lovely new space, which includes children’s furniture provided by Bandara Children’s Services, and they can create a self-portrait, a portrait of a family member or friend, or even a portrait from memory.”

Local artists are eagerly anticipating the festival, and Ben Marden says the human face isn’t the only one that will be celebrated.

The photographer’s Portraits of Pets exhibition will be on display at Bega and Cobargo Veterinary Hospitals, and he says he enjoyed a different challenge from what he is used to. 

“As a specialist people photographer I just love to be able to show something of the ‘real’ person in front of me,” he said.

“Most people don’t enjoy the idea of being photographed and it can bring out a whole range of insecurities, but animals never worry about how they look; they are only ever raw and honest in their body language and expressions, and I love that.

“But of course they rarely do as they are asked, although that is part of the magic; reading them and being quick enough to capture their individual and unique personalities.”

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