Art For Kids' Sake

Image of Healing Circle artwork

Healing Circle

Giselle Antmann (BA’69) is a painter, sculptor, writer and teacher whose family immigrated to Australia, when she was nine, from the turmoil of post-war Europe. At 17 she won a Commonwealth Scholarship for undergraduate study at the University, then a post-graduate Commonwealth Scholarship and a tutorship to continue her studies in English literature.

“The money meant that I could also find time to develop my self taught art practice which, for me was an essential complement to my university experience, as necessary as breathing,” she says.

Without these opportunities her life would have been harder and narrower, she recognises.

Image of Magic Square artwork

Magic Square

“Now I would like to repay the educational advantages I received as I am a great believer in education and its transformative effects.”

Antmann has exhibited in Australia and the UK; her early self-taught work was included in University exhibitions. She has since been hung in the Blake Prize, Oz Drawing Now (Holdsworth Galleries) and Perspecta at the Art Gallery of NSW, as well as the Visual Arts Board and Australia Council. She has had solo shows at Holdsworth as well as the Mori and Rex Irwin spaces. In 2010 her work was part of the soft sculpture exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra.

She has now decided to “give back” and acknowledge her own good fortune in a novel way.

“I would like to sell paintings to raise money for children living in dire circumstances,” she says. “Every child should have its needs met, every child should have basic human rights of food, clean water, physical safety, education and the warmth of adult care.”

Much of Antmann’s recent work (pictured here) reflects the influence of Japanese simplicity, the Australian landscape and contemporary Aboriginal art as well as the abstraction of Rothko and Auerbach. There is a tantalising palimpsest-like depth and quality to the small, mysterious canvases.

“An early exposure to archaeology and anthropology at University shaped my art making and extended my thinking,” she says. “I am a passionate admirer of contemporary Australian Aboriginal art and I know that some of this consciousness has changed my own awareness. I have been given so much and my project is offered in the hope of giving something back to children so that they too can go to school to extend their vision and see beyond just trying to survive.”