Colour floods Upwey during Archies

Gareth Hart and Linda Fullagar with the award winning portraits from the youth category. PICTURE: SUPPLIED.

By Tanya Faulkner

Colour is flooding Upwey’s Main Street with the installation of this year’s Archies exhibition.

The Upwey Archies project, hosted by the Upwey Community Group and Burrinja Cultural Centre, has now been installed in several traders along the Main Street.

Head of the Upwey Archies team, Linda Fullagar said this years’ exhibition has really brightened up Main Street in the community.

Ms Fullagar said it’s always a pleasant surprise when the artworks are submitted.

“It’s a surprise and a delight when they come in, we’re just totally blown away every year,” she said.

This years’ exhibition boasts 133 portraits that have been submitted, and have been hung in 33 different traders’ store windows across Upwey’s Main Street.

Ms Fullagar said the mood of this years’ submissions are very different from the last couple of years.

“The pieces seem to be so bright this year, compared to the last couple of years where some of them have been a bit more sombre.

“It might be something to do with people getting out more now that the Covid-19 pandemic is over.

“The portraits just add vibrancy and colour, it’s a wonderful vibe, and really makes the street come alive,” she said.

This year’s winners have also been announced, with Arlie Barwell taking out the open category with their portrait ‘Need a little sugar in my bowl’ and Arimae Marie taking out the youth category with her portrait ‘to my younger self’.

According to Ms Fullagar, this year saw some outstanding pieces that are bound to surprise locals and visitors alike.

“Some of the youth pieces in particular, you just look at them and think ‘how was this person under the age of 14 able to create this?’.

“There are a lot of youths in Upwey that could be artists one day.

“We saw a lot of absolutely outstanding pieces in the open category as well,” she said.

This years’ judges were Gareth Hart, Creative Director at Burrinja Cultural Centre, and last years’ open winner Jasmine Weber.

Ms Fullagar said the community can have their say on the winner of the community awards.

“When locals are checking out the portraits down Main Street, they can vote for their favourite to win the Community Favourite award.

“The portraits have QR codes that take viewers to the voting page, and locals need to enter the number of their favourite portrait when they vote,” she said.

Another two awards will be presented at the end of the exhibition once the public have voted.

Each of the articles have fascinating backstories behind them, which Ms Fullagar said gives the portraits more life.

“The portraits have been created with a lot of feeling.

“If you read the descriptions clipped to the top, they tell a lovely story about why the artist chose that person.

“We have all sorts of portraits this year, from mothers and grandmothers to boyfriends and girlfriends, and everything in between,” she said.

After several hours of judging and hanging of the pieces, the Upwey Archies for 2023 are now available to view amongst the local store windows.

The installation will be on display until 19 November.