Jenni L. Ivins
Fine Art & Writing
A mind drawing contains marks that can be seen or interpreted in more than one way, depending on which part you are looking at. Sometimes the angle makes a difference, too.
You might see an ant in the overall shape in this drawing. Perhaps you notice a dog or a dragon or a man?
Can you find the tiny four-leafed clover that I hide just before signing my black and white drawings?
The spots that represent towns on the game board have an exciting link to Country. They were submitted by Nikki and Tash from Oonah Health & Community Services Aboriginal Corporation.
“The symbol represents people sitting around a campfire, coming together for a yarn in a place of belonging,” said Nikki. “It is a simplified version of Oonah’s logo original with the gumleaf.”
‘Oonah Belonging Place is a welcoming and culturally affirming place in Healesville, where both Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members can access information, services, and programs that are focused on building a healthy, strong and skilled Community.
‘These are underpinned by a deep commitment to Aboriginal culture and Community, adhering to the Core Cultural Values of Respect, Caring and Sharing.’
The community game is one of Yarra Ranges Shire Council’s Art Attack projects to support the community as we emerge from the Covid pandemic.
Connecting Communities – Yarra Ranges Shire
January – May 2022
This is the third community board game project that I have facilitated. The photos on the cards were submitted by participants in the ‘Connecting Communities – Yarra Ranges Shire’ Facebook group that I created to host conversations about what people value about where they live, work or play.
It was a pleasure to look at the 500+ photos which were submitted via the group or by email.
Over three weeks 180 pictures were published in Star Mail newspapers, representing as many people as possible and also a range of places, plants, animals, and activities that are enjoyed in the Yarra Ranges.
participants loved seeing their photos in the game in the papers.
“I felt pretty chuffed. The game got people thinking about the great area we live in.” – Jenny S.
“The game was a fun way to get to know our shire. I wasn’t consciously aware of how big it is beforehand. Amazing array of photos.” – Caroline S.
Tracy De, who took the hopping kangaroo photo shown on the back of all the cards, said she received many positive comments from people.
To celebrate the game’s launch in the paper, host of Yarra Ranges Life TV, Patrick Boucher, challenged me to a game, which we played on air at Burrinja Cultural Centre.
Art of Business & Community Project
I facilitated two projects in the Cardinia Shire What’s On Cardinia Festival, which paired businesses and artists in the delivery of four weeks of fun activities throughout the month of February 2022.
Each week, I was hosted by a different business, that introduced me to the neighbourhood as I made a mind drawing of the business, community and natural environment that surrounds their venue.
Local people submited ideas and photos for me to reference in the drawing. I enjoyed hearing stories of what people treasure in Cardinia Shire.
Participants made suggestions at each venue, or posted pictures and ideas in the A Part Together Facebook group. I started the group when making a board game (with the same name) about the shire during the longest Covid lockdown in 2020.
Like the board game, the ABC Project mind drawings were published by Star News Group, so readers could look for their ideas in the completed drawings – and my iconic little 4-leafed clover.
I was hosted by Brunch On McBride, in Cockatoo;
The full-page drawings were published in the Pakenham Berwick Gazette in February 9, 16, 23 and March 2. An article wrapping up the project and revealing hidden pictures in the Mind Drawings was published the following week.
The five Art of Business and Community drawings were exhibited in the Cardinia Cultural Centre in February 2022.
Connecting Communities Game
March -July 2021
The Connecting Communities board game was created in collaboration with the Macedon Ranges community and the Midland Express with the support of Macedon Ranges Shire Council’s COVID relief funding.
The game board is based on a map of the shire and the GO-TO cards, directing players from town to town in the game, were created using community photos submitted following conversations in the Connecting Communities Facebook group.
The project facilitated
- a way for locals to connect on Facebook groups with conversations about what is fabulous about living, working and playing in the Macedon Ranges
- the sharing of information, photos and stories, supporting strong community spirit and values, and care of both our people and environment
- the creation of a board game that is available in Macedon Ranges libraries, with PDF versions to download and print from the Facebook group and Macedon Ranges Shire Council’s website.
If you are interested in art workshops that you can follow at home, I invite you to take a look at Mandala Mondays – the free Facebook group where we recorded a ‘Live from the Lounge’ workshop each Monday from the beginning of April, when we went into our first lock-down, until the end of December, when I stopped the workshops so I could spend time with my dying mother, whose body was attacked by cancer while we were kept apart. Sadly, Mum passed away in January 2021.
A mandala is a circular pattern, that is usually also symmetrical. I showed imperfect action in the videos, because I wanted to keep the art-form easy and accessible, so people would have a go at a time when we all needed the connection with others and the mindfulness of art.
In the recordings I demonstrate many ways to make a mandala using a wide range of materials and ideas, all in a simulated workshop atmosphere of casual chatter. Those who watched the live workshops were able to post comments to be part of the conversation.
A Part Together Game
July – October 2020
(A collaborative COVID-19 Arts Response Project, supported by Cardinia Shire Council, the Star News Group and me, Jenni L. Ivins.)
To support my community during lock-down, I created a board game based on a map of Cardinia Shire in isolation, using photos and drawings submitted by those who live, work or study here.
The game was published in two editions of The Pakenham-Berwick Gazette, making it widely available for families to play at home. Participants were thrilled to see their artwork in the paper and excited if they drew a card with their art on it when they played the game.
Feedback shows the project helped people to feel connected. They enjoyed the conversations about what makes their hometowns special. Many learnt about places, features, and stories they hadn’t realised were a part of our geography and history.
The project has been very well received, especially by community schools where students regularly play the game and get to know their Shire. In 2021 the A Part Together received an Australia Day Award nomination, for an outstanding community event.
It won first prize in the 2021 Victorian Country Press Awards, for the Best Community Campaign.
Faeries Without Wings
Faeries Without Wings Mind Drawing Exhibition
The Fairies Without Wings Exhibition and scheduled month of workshops at gate 6 gallery were cancelled, like so many other events during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite technical glitches and noise considerations, which had my head in a cardboard box under a blanket at 3am, recording sound tracks to use in exhibition videos, some of the mind drawings in this body of work were launched on YouTube.
Here you can see a walk-through of that stage of the exhibition, along with other projects. Please watch the prologue. It took about a week, of pushing inappropriate programs to produce the 41 second video! But the theme of lock-down has been to use what you had in your home…
I have continued to make drawings that will support this project. I am currently writing a fantasy series that the mind drawings will illustrate. (This is the same project I was working on in my residency at Police Point on the Mornington Peninsula in Feb-March 2020.)
The first book is set in a different artists’ residency, where a portal opens, luring someone important away from the safety of a world where she is known and loved.
20 works from the Faeries Without Wings collection were exhibited in The Hay Shed at The Old Cheese Factory 4 January – 22 February 2021.
Mind Drawing Children’s Stories
2016 – 2023
This has been a huge and very exciting project. It began when Jo Canham invited me to introduce the Port Fairy community to my quirky Mind Drawings, but the works had to have a literary theme. So over the next twelve months, I created drawings in public, in three of my local municipalities, where I was involved with community arts activities in various capacities.
The tour was launched at Blarney Books and Art in Port Fairy, then it went to the Cardinia Cultural Centre, where I added an interactive element, free family workshops and a book launch.
The next two tour stops were in the City of Casey, where more community engagement was added, followed by Frankston Arts Centre, and the Knox Cars and Art Show 2019.
The Mind Drawing Children’s Stories interactive exhibition showed at the West Gippsland Arts Centre, Warragul from March – April 2021.
The final tour stop is The Memo, in Healsesville, from 2 March – 16 April 2023.
Painting with Pixels
This was an exciting exhibition because the two venues where it was seen, were both new City of Casey Library Art Spaces.
The works in this collection had a digital element of some sort. Some were photomontage, while others were created in more traditional methods, such as printmaking, which was then scanned, manipulated and duplicated, before being printed and collaged.
I also created a stop motion animation to accompany the exhibition – and a treasure hunt game to play.
Mind Drawing Exhibition
2013 – 2015
This was my first solo touring exhibition. It was created during my Advanced Diploma of Creative Product Development and launched at Brunswick Street Gallery, followed by an exhibition at Maryknoll on St Joseph’s, City of Casey Civic Centre, Cardinia Cultural Centre (along with a series of community workshops) and Friends on the Hill, Olinda.
In this exhibition I created a key piece, Hidden in Plain Sight, which gave a new direction to my arts practice.
Through this Mind Drawing I discovered people don’t all see the same way when looking at the same thing. I have continued to ask people to tell me the first overall thing they see, and nine out of ten people see one way and about one out of ten see something else.
What did you see first? Click the link above to tell me.
This exhibition also included a stop-motion video of the drawing being created.
As well as exhibiting in solo exhibitions, I participate in group shows (where I sometimes win prizes!). There are too many to mention, but I’ve been involved with exhibitions and public art projects in numerous locations in inner and outer Melbourne, as well as regional Victoria.
Yakkerboo Art Show
SECAN ~ Whispers
Working with my Community
2010 – 2021 I was honoured to serve as one of five local arts practitioners representing the Cardinia Shire arts community on Council’s Arts and Culture Reference Group.
I have reported on the successes, concerns and aspirations of many arts sectors, including photography, writing, theatre, music, visual arts, disability arts and more.
I have witnessed many exciting developments in Cardinia Shire. It is great to see Council’s support of our arts groups and practitioners, and their understanding that a vibrant arts culture is essential for community health and happiness.
I also facilitate community projects
. . . such as the Activated Art Space within a large mural, Mind Drawing Cockatoo – designed by me and created with the community, in Mc Bride Street, Cockatoo.
Mind Drawing Cockatoo
The ConCom Activated Art Space mural
on the wall of ‘Brunch on McBride’.
Princess Diana’s head is the beak!