Thursday, August 24, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life


The Main Gallery of Artspace Mackay is set to showcase one of Queensland’s most successful contemporary painters, Davida Allen.

Opening today (February 17), the exhibition, entitled Davida Allen: Colourful Expressions, has been completely curated by the Artspace Mackay team.

Artspace director Tracey Heathwood said Allen received one of Australia’s best-known accolades in 1986 when she won the Archibald Prize.

“In this show some of Allen’s most intimate portraits are displayed, including Josephine, a portrait of the artist’s daughter,” Ms Heathwood said.

“Her signature, highly textural oil paintings are executed using anything and everything – from palette knives, large brushes and fingers, to sticks and other found objects,” she said.

“Tracing a period of almost thirty years, these works highlight Allen’s ongoing affiliation with Central Queensland and career-long refinement of an expressive, abstract and very colourful painting style.”

Mayor Greg Williamson congratulated the Artspace Mackay team on the exhibition, as well as the two other exhibitions opening on Friday, “Deanna Hitti: M is for Madraseh (School)” and “Glen Skien: Summer of the Seventeenth Doll”.

“Artspace Mackay is turning 20 this year, and to celebrate this, the team are focusing heavily on our own collections and are curating a series of celebratory exhibitions,” Mayor Williamson said.

“With Colourful Expressions, our Artspace Mackay curator Lauren Turton has brought together work from northern Queensland regional gallery collections – including our collection – and the artist’s archive to celebrate Allen’s impact as one of this state’s most revered painters,” he said.

“And it’s tremendous that we have Davida herself coming for the opening night and presenting a free artist’s talk on Saturday, February 18, at 10.30am.”

Ms Heathwood said Deanna Hitti: M is for Madraseh (School) was opening in the Foundation Gallery and contained an exciting large-scale installation.

“Hitti invites the viewer into a world gilded by imagery and language – her works are a symbolic response to her experience as a woman of Lebanese-Australia heritage,” Ms Heathwood said.

Glen Skien: Summer of the Seventeenth Doll is a series of twelve etchings that proudly forms part of the print folios and artists’ book holdings by Skien in the Mackay Regional Council Art Collection.

For more information on any of the exhibitions, or to book your spot at the Davida Allen artist’s talk, head to

Davida ALLEN Josephine (detail) 1985, oil on Belgian linen. Image courtesy the artist

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