Minna Gilligan on art school, making, and the 9 X 5 NOW exhibition

June 17 / 194

Minna Gilligan. Photograph by Benjamin Thompson.
Minna Gilligan. Photograph by Benjamin Thompson.

The exhibition 9 X 5 NOW at the Victorian College of Arts will bring together small artworks by over 300 artists, all graduates of the VCA. One such alumna, Minna Gilligan, graduated in 2012 and now works as a practicing artist in painting, drawing and collage. 

Graduating in 2012 with a Bachelor of Fine Art (First Class Honours), Minna Gilligan joined a long list of alumni who have studied at the VCA and its predecessor institutions. She says the staff and reputation of the faculty are among the main reasons she chose to study there. 

“I wanted to learn under the guidance of the staff members, all whom were practicing artists I admired," Minna says. “I liked the sense of community that was conveyed when I toured the campus initially, and of course I was swayed by the reputation the institution has.”

A special memory for Minna was being provided with a studio space in the first year of her degree.

“Having my own studio space for the first time was very special. I recall being especially enamoured at finally being given ‘a room of one’s own’ to make work within. There was a particular sense of being valued in the painting department, a sense that what you were making was important – even if, in first year, it wasn’t particularly,” she says.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts allowed Minna to develop her practice, which references 1960s psychedelia and brings together encounters from the past and present.

“I think the VCA was particularly influential on my art in that the structure of the course allowed for self-discovery and exploration. I responded to the openness of the curriculum and thrived at being left to my own devices.

"Invaluable interjections from lecturers in individual tutorials challenged me to better myself, and passing conversations with fellow students allowed for reflection and different perspectives. It was the perfect combination for an otherwise introverted person to develop their voice," she says.

Minna has donated an artwork 'Dreams of you all the time' to 9 X 5 NOW and describes it as “a lighthearted snapshot of Tumblr-aesthetic girlhood”.

Her artwork, as well as those of many other alumni, will be available to purchase at the exhibition. Proceeds will go towards funding a new scholarship for VCA student artists and recent graduates.

Visit the event page of the exhibition or the ART150 website for more details.

The 9 X 5 NOW exhibition features alumni artists from eight decades and is open from Friday 16 June – Sunday 25 June at the Margaret Lawrence Gallery, 40 Dodds Street, Southbank.

Find out more about Minna at Daine Singer's website.

Follow Minna on Instagram: @minnagillian 

Thumbnail image: Minna Gilligan, Dreams of you all the time (detail). Acrylic and collage. Courtesy of Daine Singer.
Story by Anna Maddison

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