Creating art alive with memories and meaning

May 3, 2019

The first thing Lachlan Tekema-Cutts tells me on my visit to Dulkara (Centre for Life Skills and the Arts) at Inala in Cherrybrook is:

‘I fell in love with New York. I would move there in a heartbeat.’

The Big Apple has indeed cemented itself in his heart – as well as his art – ever since he first visited in 2016 with his dance group. It features prominently across all mediums he is engaged in at the Day programs at Dulkara, from drawing and painting to the felting work that are all featured as part of the upcoming art exhibition, Contrasts: a delicate balance, to be held from Friday 31 May until 14 June at Dulkara.

Proudly holding a book with magnificent photographic interpretations of the city, it is the architecture, the parks and above all the people that draw him in and move him to express this passion through his art.

As he draws my attention to a photo of Trinity Church on Wall Street, I see the intricate details of the spires, windows and turrets reflected in the careful pencil work that is washed over with brightly coloured watercolours, pastels and even chalk.

The happiness he clearly still feels when recalling his visit is evident in the joyous use of colour, layered for effect. There is a luminosity within that imbues his work with such energy, capturing my attention as I discover more and more features within.

Val Grady, Art Liaison Coordinator at Dulkara and curator of the upcoming exhibition says Lachlan was a big influence on the theme for the art show this year.

‘As the feature artist, Lachlan’s nuanced land and cityscapes in different mediums, filled with vivid statement colours balanced with delicate detail, have inspired us to notice the contrasting elements in the art – and indeed the world – around us.’

Lachlan’s felting work is very different to the mixed media work seen in his depiction of Trinity Church. The softness of the felting and the subtlety of the complementary shades of blue, grey and cream that are interwoven together – almost as clouds blending one in to the other – still reflect this young artist’s muse, New York, but this time it is Brooklyn Park that has captured his imagination.

‘I crossed that bridge,’ he says, pointing to his representation of the time spent walking through the city’s more natural landscape. His fondness for New York is clear in the piece. There is a sense of calm, and indeed a feeling of deep contentment that is built over the time taken to bring these pieces to life – the emotions and the dreams that live in our memories.

‘It grabbed my attention more than any other city,’ he says as my fingers trail the at once rough and smooth wool that has been hand coloured, felted by needle and heat washed to make this stunning piece.

Lachlan’s work, together with pieces from other artists at Dulkara, will feature as part of the exhibition on 31 May. The threads that tie them all together are the artistic integrity, the layers of detail or bold statement colours, and the flow and growth to be found in immersing yourself in art. Something Dulkara is doing daily – creating pieces of meaning and beauty along the way.

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