Lithgow Library is preparing to display a very different kind of collection, with more than fifty skulls moving into the library over the week.
The opening night of the Lithgow Tidy Town’s annual Lithgow Skulls exhibition, part of the town’s massive Halloween celebrations, could not have fallen on a better date – Friday, October 13.
Works by new talents, amongst the group of over fifty artists contributing to the collection, illustrate that skulls aren’t always harbingers of doom and gloom.
Sculptor, Kay Booker, who won Lithgow’s inaugural contemporary art prize in July, has created a colourful portrait of a lady of the night entitled ‘Alas poor Yorickica, I knew her well’.
“Yes, it is a reference to Hamlet’s Yorick, that’s where my skull comes from but I made it a female. Sometimes I think skulls seem more male so in mine I am expressing the femininity of the skull,” Ms Booker said.
Ceramicist Sarah O’Sullivan has contributed her first skull to the annual exhibition after moving from Sydney to Lithgow this year. She works out of the old Lithgow Pottery.
“The skull I made, like most of my art practice, is concerned with our human relationship to the natural environment,” she said.
“Coral has been collected, carved and kept for ornamental purposes for hundreds of years. Yet it is another living part of our ecosystem that should be valued as more than just a token or trophy.”
Jenny Sewell has submitted her first skull in 2017, despite creating art since childhood.
“I’ve always done art all my life, but I was only doing sketches. So because my children have grown up I’ve started to take art seriously. It’s me time,” Ms Sewell said.
Ms Sewell said she has started to extend into new materials like pastels and acrylics.
“Oh I will definitely do another skull next year. I found it challenging, with the shape of the skull, I absolutely loved it,” she said.
“The title of the skull is ‘A Circus Lives Inside My Head’. It’s about what we deal with in our everyday life and how hectic and crazy our days can be, this can be seen in the faces of the people on the skull.”
A lot of Ms Sewell’s current art uses the theme of the circus to dwell on everyday life.
“Circuses are lots of fun, there are bright lights but there is always that dark element in the corner, there’s that unnerving side as well.”
To see the full collection of skulls visit Lithgow Library before auction night on October, Saturday 28. Money raised goes towards the Lithgow Tidy Towns Laneways Project.
Opening night kicks off on Friday, October 13, at 6pm.