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From the collection: Jagath Dheerasekara and Salvatore Zofrea

SALVATORE ZOFREA. ‘CATCHING FIRE-FLIES IN SUMMER’ FROM THE SERIES ‘APPASSIONATA: ONE HUNDRED WOODCUTS’, NO.15. 1994–1999. JELUTONG WOODBLOCK. 40 X 60 CM IMAGE, 56.5 X 76.7CM SHEET. CAMPBELLTOWN CITY COUNCIL ART COLLECTION, DONATED THROUGH THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT’S CULTURAL GIFTS PROGRAM BY SALVATORE ZOFREA 2003.

Exhibition Dates: 6 July – 13 October 2024 

Exhibition Launch: Friday 26 July, 6-8 pm 

‘From the collection: Jagath Dheerasekara and Salvatore Zofrea’ brings together two important artworks from the Campbelltown City Council Art Collection: ‘Not so white: regained territories’ (2017), a video installation by Jagath Dheerasekara, and ‘Appasionata’ (1994-99), a series of woodblock prints by Salvatore Zofrea. Dheerasekara and Zofrea, celebrated artists who live and work in the Greater Western Sydney region, are influenced by personal and collective memories and experiences of migration. Each artist’s life story informs their powerful artistic practice as evidenced in these distinguished works.  

Since 1988, the Campbelltown City Council Art Collection has developed into a diverse array of artworks which reflect contemporary arts practices and artworks relevant to Western Sydney. Held onsite at Campbelltown Arts Centre, the collection comprises over 1400 artworks by significant Australian artists. 

Jagath Dheerasekara 

Jagath Dheerasekara is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work is informed by his personal experiences, collective memory, colonisation, and the fragility of the principles of humanity. Born in Sri Lanka, Dheerasekara fled the country in the early 1990s due to his political and human rights activism during Sri Lanka’s 87-89 southern uprising. He sought asylum in France until he was able to return to Sri Lanka in 1995. In 2008, Dheerasekara settled in Australia with his family where he lives on Gandangara Country in Western Sydney.   

Dheerasekara’s works have been presented in solo and group exhibitions throughout Australia including in ‘ಒಡಲಾಳ Odalala’, Arts House, Melbourne (2024), ‘Hobart Current: Liberty’, Tasmania Museum and Art Gallery (2021), ‘Break the Cinnamon Branch’ (2020 digital), Campbelltown Arts Centre and ‘Another Day in Paradise’ (2017-2018), Campbelltown Arts Centre,  Bendigo Art Gallery and Tuggeranong Arts Centre, Canberra.  In 2010, Dheerasekara received an Amnesty International Human Rights Innovation Fund Grant for ‘Manuwangku, Under the Nuclear Cloud’, a solo exhibition presented in six Australian cities and in Tennant Creek.   

His works are included in private and public collections including the Campbelltown City Council Art Collection, Liverpool City Council Art Collection, Museum of Australian Photography, Rockhampton Art Gallery, State Library of New South Wales and Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. 

Salvatore Zofrea  

Salvatore Zofrea was born in Italy and migrated to Australia in 1956 at the age of nine. He studied at the Julian Ashton Art School from 1961-63 and held his first exhibition at Macquarie Galleries in 1967. Zofrea would go on to win the Sulman Prize in 1977, 1979, and 1982.  

In 1982 Zofrea was awarded a six-month residency at the Cité international des Arts in Paris and in 1985 he received a Churchill Fellowship to study fresco painting in Italy. His large commissioned works include ‘150 years of the Sydney Morning Herald’ mural (1979), the State Bank of New South Wales mural (1985) and a fresco for the Sydney Opera House Trust (1993). In 1979 his ‘Psalm23’ was acquired by the Vatican, Rome.  

Zofrea’s practice is influenced by his life story and the natural world. The Australian bushland of his home in Sydney has been the subject of much of his work. Seven monographs and four films on his life and work have been produced, including Richard Mordaunt’s ‘Salvatore Zofrea – Master of Light’ (2016). 

His works are included in private and public collections including the National Gallery of Australia, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, The National Gallery of Victoria, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.  

Salvatore Zofrea is represented by Australian Galleries, Sydney and Melbourne. 

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