Celebrating five years at the West End Art Space

Celebrating five years at the West End Art Space
Jack Hayes

As far as galleries go, West Melbourne’s West End Art Space, which celebrated its fifth birthday in May, is just in its infancy.

Its director, however, brings more than 30 years of industry experience, commitment, connections and adoration for abstract art and its artists.

West End Art Space founding director Anna Prifti is a visual artist with a long career in restoration and preservation of mural paintings and Byzantine iconography.

Through a dynamic exhibition program, the objective of West End Art Space is to showcase and support Australian and International artists and nurture their art practice.

“I’ve been in the arts industry for more than 30 years. You build a name and reputation, but also a vision of what your gallery would one day look like,” Ms Prifti said. “It has been a lifelong dream to actually have a gallery of my own.”

“In our current exhibition, ‘Five’ A Birthday Exhibition, we look to make sure works are coherent and fit the vision of the gallery. We have grown together with the artists displayed and they all have things in common, they have studied art, they exhibit regularly and continue to create art.”

Five exhibits works from more than 35 abstract artists, primarily local or Indigenous artists, all with a deep connection with the gallery and Ms Prifti herself.

The show includes the hauntingly beautiful sculpture and paintings of artist Sue Rosalind Vesely.

Drawing influence from the Greek and Roman ages, the Royal College of Art, London alumni works completely from memory, entirely without the aid models.

Ms Prifti said Ms Vesely’s artwork evoked the response from visitors that she had somehow managed to “paint their dreams.”

There is also the striking work from Polish-born Australian artist Cezary Stulgis; a sculptor, painter and designer whose highly distinctive work fuses next-level aesthetics with classical craftsmanship.

His bright pink dog sculpture forms the centrepiece of the exhibition, magnetically drawing you from the street into the gallery.

Ms Prifti said although there had been some “tough times” during the lifetime of the gallery, the growing response and awareness from locals had been incredibly heart-warming.

“Galleries are a meeting point for the community, we have people meet here who live in the same street or same apartment building who have never met before. It is a wonderful thing,” Ms Prifti said.

“We have a simple principle. You have to sell art to stay alive and keep the lights on. We are in the business of promoting and selling art, it is as simple as that. Promoting artists, nurturing their careers, selling their work.”

Finissage for ‘Five’ A Birthday Exhibition is from 6pm, Thursday, June 16.

The gallery will then transform completely to showcase a group show for NAIDOC Week 2022.

The West End Art Space sits on the ground level of Trenerry Property’s West End development at 112 Adderley St, West Melbourne. •

For more information, visit westendartspace.com.au

John Buncle

John Buncle

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