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Page 8 Tuesday, 1 April, 2014

Connecting people and communities RTM

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Youth art gives a raw insight By REBECCA BILLS A GROUP of 56 students from 18 local schools will have their artwork simultaneously displayed as part of the VCE Creative Showcase. Celebrating the artistic excellence of talented VCE art graduates from across the Yarra Ranges, the artwork is on display at three galleries - Jarmbi Gallery at Burrinja Cultural Centre, Red Earth Gallery at Mooroolbark Community Centre and The Studio at the Upper Yarra Arts Centre. Mater Christi College student Sierra Laird completed the Year 12 art subject in Year 11 and said she is honoured to have had her work selected to be on show at Burrinja. Ms Laird said her piece ‘District’ was made with the intention to emphasise strength and beauty beneath the frightening aspects of poverty. “It’s a piece based around poverty and it’s meant to emphasise that behind every bad moment there can still be something beautiful,” she said. “A lot of people have interpreted it in different ways but my main one was that there is still beauty beyond any pain.”

Sierra Laird with her inkjet printed photograph ‘District’. 117180 Picture: REBECCA BILLS Yarra Ranges Mayor Fiona McAllister said the showcase offers great insight into the raw experiences of young people and their wonderful talents. “Each student is unique and this is reflected in the diverse range of work on display,” she said. “The showcase is thought provoking and demonstrates the creative skills and courage of a new generation of emerging artists. “I am so pleased we are able to support these new talents in our community and watch them grow into the future.” The exhibition explores a

wide range of media including photography, sculpture, digital media, textiles and painting. Cr McAllister said it is inspiring to see young adults critically examine and express their feelings and experiences through artistic practice. Ms Laird’s inkjet printed photograph titled ‘District’ alongside 27 other artworks will be on show at Jarmbi Gallery at Burrinja until 13 April. The VCE Creative Showcase will also on show at Red Earth Gallery at Mooroolbark Community Centre until 17 April and The Studio at Upper Yarra Arts Centre until 3 April.

Nikki Staples from Tesselaar’s with daffodil bulbs among flowering dahlias. PICTURE: ROB CAREW

Next generation turning pages By REBECCA BILLS MACCLESFIELD Primary School kicked off the 2014 Victorian Premier’s Reading Challenge with a day of non-stop reading. From 9.30am to 3.30pm last Monday students, teachers, parents and grandparents took turns sitting in a special reading area to kick start the challenge. Principal John Chiswell said the students loved the launch and thought it was very special to read stories to one another. “We have done the challenge every year and we see it as an important way of promoting reading at home and school,” he said. “The students keep a record of how they are going and that is on display in the classroom. Then the classroom also has on display how the students of each class are going as a whole.” This year is the 10th annual Victorian Premiers’ Reading Challenge. It encourages all children and young people to develop a love of reading with the support of their parents, teachers, early childhood professionals, schools and classmates.

Children reading in the special reading chair, from left, Jude 5, Ronan 12, Gemma 5, Harrison 8, Lucy 7, Tilly 8, Lauren Picture: ROB CAREW 11 and Tia 10. 117696 Mr Chiswell said it is great to see the students so excited about reading and it is important as a school to show students the important link reading has with school, pleasure and recreational activities. “Making sure we capture all those elements of reading is essential and there is nothing more important than adults modelling healthy reading habits to their children,” he said. To take the challenge, children must read a set number of

books and record their efforts online. Since the challenge began in 2005, nearly 1.8 million children and young people have turned the pages of more than 30 million books. Mr Chiswell said a timelapse video of the reading challenge launch at Macclesfield Primary School is available to watch at the schools website, www.macclesfieldps.vic.edu.au. The reading challenge concludes in August.

Fashion round-up for turn-out THE women of the Inner Wheel Club of Wandin are teaming up once again with Monbulk fashion leaders to raise money for cord blood research. On Friday 11 April the club will present its annual fashion parade at the Wandin North Hall in conjunction with Jenny’s Shoppe and RJ Shoes. The parade has become an annual fashion pilgrimage for local women and other Inner Wheel club members and Wandin president Pauline Barrett said they are again expecting great support. “It’s great fun for a great cause,” she said. Secretary Anne Wettenhall said it is the 15th year of fundraising for cord blood research.

Maree Budweg and Roslyn Champion are excited for the Fashion Show in Wandin. 117235

Picture: ROB CAREW “We, along with members of Inner Wheel across Australia, will be working toward our goal of $2 million and we are only about $40,000 short of that target,” she said. Ms Wettenhall said to date Inner Wheel had given 33 research grants to scientists working on various projects using cord blood.

“There have been many success stories of stem cell transplants from this cord blood,” she said. In addition to fabulous clothes, accessories and models, there will be raffles and merchandise for sale and a delicious country-style supper. Tickets are $15. Phone 0427 031 007 to book.

Garden gurus gather at expo Kelvin’s sci-fi military mix THE 8th Tesselaar’s Gardening and Plants Expo is on this weekend with more than 50 nursery and plant growers ready to unearth gardening treasures. Set in the historic Tesselaar Gardens, home of the iconic Tulip Festival, it is a place of inspiration for all keen gardeners. Tesselaar spokesperson Wendy Barnes said it’s a great day for all gardening connoisseurs and novices to come together to share and learn. “It’s not like our Tulip Festival where we have an abundance of food and entertainment, as the focus of this expo is on the plants and the gardens,” she said. “All the exhibits are run by specialist growers which is really great as it gives people the rare opportunity to talk with the

growers of the plant.” Ms Barnes said gardening doyen and celebrity Stephen Ryan will host the weekend with other gardening gurus like David Glenn and Meryl Johnson imparting their wisdom in free talks. Roses, spring flowering bulbs, orchids, dry garden plants, clivia, ferns, perennials, annuals, carnivorous plants, heirloom vegetables, seeds, herbs and tree growers are just some of the specialists that will be available to chat to over the weekend. A range of locally made food and refreshments will be available all weekend. Ms Barnes said if the weather is nice, a picnic lunch may be a good alternative for visitors. Well-behaved pets are also

welcome as long as they are on a lead. The 8th Tesselaar’s Gardening and Plants Expo is running from 9am to 4pm on 5 and 6 April at 357 Monbulk Road, Silvan. Tickets are $16 for adults and $13 for concession available online or at the gate. For more information or to book, visit www.gardeningandplantsexpo.com.au. The Mail is giving 15 lucky readers the chance to win a double pass to the 8th Tesselaar’s Gardening and Plants Expo. To go into the draw to win, visit www.facebook.com/ MailNewspaperGroup and like, comment ‘plants’ and share the related post. Winners will be announced on Wednesday 2 April at midday.

LOCAL Ferntree Gully resident Kelvin Kwa has created a world where the Chinese and American navies battle to retrieve an important military satellite. From the depths of the Arctic Ocean, as the two forces pursue the satellite, they are hunted by a malevolent sea-monster. Mr Kwa works in IT engineering by day and tends to a busy family life with a newborn son. He has been a keen reader for many years, honing his writing skills by enthralling himself in sci-fi fiction novels. “I started developing the basis for the story about six years ago when writing was just a hobby,” he said. “It sounds a bit strange but the idea came to me in a dream when I was struggling to fight

off a terrible fever and pounding headache brought on by the flu. “From this dream I took away a base concept and developed the rest of the story from there.” Mr Kwa said he originally thought the insurmountable task of writing a novel had proved achievable over the last two years as he crafted his debut novel - Apex Predator. He said he was ecstatic with the response the novel had received to date. Using detailed action, suspense and terrifying twists to keep the reader enthralled, Mr Kwa has an underlying environmental theme that runs throughout the story. Mr Kwa said his ability to create a thrilling novel stemmed

from his parents teaching him the love of story and narrative by taking him to the movies when he was young. “I started reading at an early age, which helped me gain an appreciation for a well-written tale,” he said. “One day I realised that I was pretty good at stringing sentences together and thought I may as well give writing a novel a shot. “I have always had stories rattling around in my head and now that I have finally started bringing these out - now I can’t wait to keep going.” Apex Predator is available online via Amazon for $5.99USD in e-book format or $26.99USD as a paperback.

Mail - Ferntree Gully Mail - 01st April 2014  
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