Local Indigenous artists showcased the glory of Girraween National Park, connection to land, heritage, and traditional craft at the interactive Granite Belt Art and Craft Trail Open Studios event  in Stanthorpe and surrounding Granite Belt villages on October 30 to November 1.

Arts trail founder Rosy Chapman said the event delivered economic resilience and drive market high-yield tourists to a community recovering from back-to-back natural disaster events and now the pandemic. “GBART is a grassroots-driven event, inspired by artisans for artisans.” This year featured some brilliant Indigenous artisans offering up a range of workshops: jewellery making with emu feathers, weaving with natural products, fabric painting of windsocks, leather making, and collage, she said.

Krishna Heffernan returned to the trail at a new venue this year. Her exquisite collage paintings incorporate paper and paint techniques give her work vibrant colours and textures. “Her latest sold-out exhibition, Girraween Rebornwas held at Twisted Gum Winery. Krishna’s work expresses the journey of devastation, growth, and renewal in the Girraween area. Printmaking and collage allow her to convey the scarring, suffering, and etching of time that the land undergoes in its eternal struggle with droughts, fires, and floods,” Rosy said.

Rosy Chapman was inspired to create the Granite Belt Art and Craft Trail Open Studios event by the Silo Art Trail, which delivers international media attention to regional Australia, an influx of tourists to the region, and expansion of the trail into a 200 kilometre long outdoor art gallery. She said the event capitalised on the winter tourism boom experienced across the region, building on the extraordinary publicity generated over the last few months as Queenslanders look to holiday here this year in support of regional economies.

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