Mighty oaks from little acorns grow....
This old proverb can apply to the Kirra Illuminating Glass Award (KIGA) exhibition and to the progress of Kirra Galleries which before its formation was just a wish.
A year ago, whilst opening Kirra Galleries Light in Winter exhibition, Kate Brennan, then Chief Executive Officer of Fed Square Pty Ltd challenged us to partner Fed Square in an Australian and New Zealand competition featuring light transmitting glass art. Without realising the full extent of the effort and work involved to mount such an exhibition, we accepted the challenge and the results are in this catalogue. When Kirra Galleries were invited to mount the exhibition, in turn the Australian and New Zealand glass art practitioners were challenged to produce a new genre of light emitting glass sculptures. How they rose to the occasion for the first such competition is truly amazing.
When we decided to mount this exhibition I wrote a small introduction to a document outlining our hopes and aspirations. I think for the introduction to this catalogue it is worth re-printing as it explains how the past was our inspiration for the present and hopefully for the future:
"Soon after electricity was harnessed and became freely available, in the late 1800s and more prominently in the first decades of the 1900s, European Glass Artists turned their talents towards the creating of free standing decorative lights, plafoniers and chandeliers. The period was a hot house of creativity -- artists such as Emile Gallé of Nancy and René Lalique produced enormous quantities of art glass.
The period was short lived as the production processes often involved dangerous materials and were hazardous to the practitioners.
Believing that the glory years of the Art Nouveau period can be updated, modernised and re-visited, over the past 5 years Kirra Galleries have provided an annual exhibition of illuminated glass with handmade one-off pieces of contemporary Australian Art Glass."
This was our aim and in this catalogue are images of the pieces in the KIGA Competition, the realisation of our dreams and the manifestation of the multi-faceted talents of those practicing artists working in glass as a medium.
The pieces on exhibit and pictured in this catalogue represent the realisation of fifty percent of the design concepts submitted, from which the judges selected the finalists. Judging was a long and difficult process and very often the decisions which to accept and which not to, was based on a split vote. We thank the artists whose submissions did not make the list of finalists, and encourage them to submit their concepts for the next year's KIGA competition.
The KIGA concept could not have become a reality without the full blown participation and encouragement of Kirra Galleries' Landlords, Fed Square Pty Ltd, with whom we are proud to partner this exhibition.
It could also not have happened without Kirra Galleries' dedicated staff who went the extra mile in ensuring that work of high quality was delivered intact, ready for display from all corners of Australia and New Zealand.
Finally, I wish to thank the judges who have consented to judge the exhibition under difficult conditions as the display could only become available to them shortly before the opening.