Scandinavian art exhibition

30 August 2009

Written by: Lawrie Zion

Opening night at ScanArt 2009

Opening night at ScanArt 2009

ScanArt 2009 is now running at RMIT’s First Site Gallery in the city. This annual event showcases the best of Scandinavian student art and design from Australia and New Zealand. The exhibition is run by a committee of volunteers, on the initiative of the Association of Norwegian Students Abroad (ANSA). 

Stop there for a second. Before we go any further it is necessary to disclose that this piece is shaped by the fact I am the Press and Promotion Manager for the exhibition. But, let it be noted, that I have no financial interest in the event. ScanArt 2009 is run entirely by volunteers, with no commercial sponsors. 25% of all proceeds are donated to charity and the rest go unabridged to the hard working artists.

“ScanArt is a testament to the coming-together of Scandinavian and Australian cultural identity,” says director Morten Warholm Haugen. 

ScanArt is a juried exhibition. An independent jury of professionals has selected 31 works by 13 artists for this year’s showcase. The 2009 ScanArt jury includes Humphrey Clegg (Assistant Curator of Australian Art at the National Gallery of Victoria); Dr Martin Comte (OAM PhD, former Dean of Faculty of Education at RMIT University);  Nikos Pantazis (highly acclaimed visual artist working in London and Melbourne); and Timba Smits (award-winning Art Director, Designer and Melbourne artist). 

Martin Comte says that “ScanArt is a wonderful initiative. I believe it provides a model that could well be taken-up by students from other regions of the world.”

In addition to providing Scandinavian students with an opportunity to exhibit their work, ScanArt also has a charitable function. ScanArt exhibitors donate a minimum of 25% of their sales to the Thailandproject. The Thailandproject is a non-profit humanitarian organisation run by Norwegian students in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, which help finance the BaanChivitMai (“Home for New Life”) organisation. BaanChivitMai is fighting child prostitution and the spread of HIV, running several homes and education programmes for children in Northern Thailand.

ScanArt celebrates its 5th anniversary in 2009, and Director Warholm Haugen says the event has been growing steadily since it moved to Melbourne from Sydney three years ago. Last year’s ScanArt was seen by nearly 3,000 people.

Haugen says that although he is pleased with the development there is still much untapped artistic potential.

“Despite our efforts to reach out to the Scandinavian community and recruit prospective exhibitors, we have yet to receive our first Danish contribution to ScanArt.”

“We hope to rectify this next year, and to also present works from Scandinavian students in Singapore,” he adds.

ScanArt opens on Tuesday 1 September, and will host an official 5th anniversary celebration on Friday 4th. Entry is free.

Steinar Ellingsen is working on a practice-based thesis about alternative communities in regional Australian, and tutors in Dilemmas in Journalism.

See how this exhibition is been covered in the Norwegian press.