Canberra ceramics artist Anita McIntyre graduated from the Canberra School of Art in 1976 and since then has had nine major solo exhibitions and been part of countless more, both locally and overseas.
She has exhibited at the Beaver Galleries in Deakin for 20 years and has a new exhibition there now.
McIntyre could lay claim to being Canberra’s first lady of ceramics.
Her latest exhibition , Stories, Family ,Place, at Beaver Galleries until November 19, continues “my exploration of family history that I call ‘ Home Country’, my visual expressions of the Kimberley’s (called my ‘Heart Country’) and visual explorations of the exotic Angkor Watt and the Mekong river”..
“Always, I find our all travels inspirational whether it’s the Australian outback, the Brindabella ranges or overseas,” she said.
“A trip to Cambodia and Angkor Watt – a place I have wanted to visit since I was 15 – in 2014 was visually overwhelming .I was astonished to find that I made so many visual connections with my work particularly with imagery of animals and life on the Mekong in an astounding variety of boats that were the lifeblood of the people and the river.”
The Queanbeyan-born artist says being an artist in Canberra “like anywhere in Australia can be a difficult road to travel”
“However, here in Canberra there is such great support from local government and the institutions,” she said.
“The development and support, particularly when our then chief minister Jon Stanhope was also minister for the arts , has helped countless emerging artists and small arts organisations. This, of course ,has a flow-on effect as those organisations also help develop and expose young artists to an audience .”
McIntyre is the wife of former Canberra Raiders chairman John McIntyre, the couple a powerhouse of arts and sport.
“He has always supported my art practice,” she said.
“Our joint love of the Australian bush has taken us on many travels all around this big island where I gather stories and memories of place for inspiration in my work.
“His passion for sport matches mine for the arts so while it seems like a strange mix it is one that has worked for us for many years – too many to count!
“And he is lucky as I also love the Canberra Raiders and what they brought to the Canberra community “.
So what inspires her to keep making art more than 40 years after graduating?
“That is easy. I am always about three years behind my sketch books of ideas,” she said.
“However as I grow older, ceramics is a very physical art endeavour and I find my work becoming smaller and so to present large works they have to be constructed of multiples. Also the thrill of people who buy and enjoy your work helps one to continue in your chosen art practice.”