Frances Belle Parker with one of her recent works.
Frances Belle Parker with one of her recent works.

Artist brushes up on China

MACLEAN artist Frances Belle Parker will take up a two-month residency in China later this year as part of the Australian International Cultural Exchange Project.

Frances is one of six Australian artists selected to participate in the international exchange program aimed at building a cultural partnership between the two nations. She is the only representative from the Northern Rivers region.

The selected artists include contemporary indigenous and emerging artists who have a demonstrated interest in a Chinese-Australian cultural exchange. They will tour active art centres in provincial China.

“I’m looking forward to building relationships with other artists and especially Australian-Chinese artists,” Frances said.

“We will be encouraged to collaborate and I’m sure relationships will continue after the project,” she said.

Prior to being awarded the title of artist in residence, the softly-spoken 28-year-old had already received recognition as an accomplished artist, having featured her original works in a swag of exhibitions and collections over the past 10 years.

Frances has also been a finalist and winner in several prestigious art awards including the NSW Parliament Indigenous Art Award, Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Country Energy Painting Award, ABC Artsnest Award and the Blake Prize.

With an obvious talent and passion for art, Frances completed high school at Maclean in 1999 before going on to study at the University of NSW’s College of Fine Arts (CoFA) in Sydney.

After graduating, Frances returned home to Maclean, where she has continued to create art and has been a curator for several local exhibitions.

Frances works in several mediums and describes her style as, ‘contemporary Australian with an underlying cultural Aboriginal background’, and her practice includes painting, drawing and installation.

She gains much of her inspiration from her mother’s traditional land around the Maclean and Yamba areas. Frances has recently completed Masters of Indigenous Studies (Wellbeing) through Southern Cross University and is a traditional custodian of the Yaegl people.

“I sell work through my studio in Maclean and am available to do commissions,” she said.

This week Frances stepped down from her position as Indigenous Arts Development Officer for Arts Northern Rivers, which involved supporting indigenous artists of the area through professional development, workshops and exhibitions.

The tour will take place in September and October.

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