Castlemaine-born artist Christian Waller is the feature of a new exhibition at Bendigo Art Gallery.
Known for her print work and as a stained-glass window artist, Waller’s story is told through the Daughters of the Sun exhibition that is on show until February 10.
Daughters of the Sun also tracks the life of Klytie Pate (Waller’s niece) who was a renowned ceramic artist.
Bendigo Art Gallery curator Emma Busowski Cox spent three years bringing the exhibition together.
“I've been thinking about Christian Waller for a long time,” she said.
“So most of work on it happened while I was at the Castlemaine Art Museum and we're happy to be able to bring it to fruition at the Bendigo Art Gallery.
“I really would would like people to experience Christian Waller. Klytie was well known but often people have never heard of (Waller).
“When you see her work, it’s hard not to love it and be touched by it.”
Here's a glimpse of the @BgoArtGallery's new exhibition Daughters of the Sun. It traces the life and works of Castlemaine-born artist Christian Waller and her niece Klytie Pate. Opening on Saturday, it's on until Feb 10. #Bendigopic.twitter.com/sVbzAuFtEW— Chris Pedler (@TheAddyPedler) November 9, 2018
After being born in Castlemaine, Waller’s family moved to Bendigo in 1909 so she could study under Hugh Fagan.
“They moved primarily to encourage her artistic abilities,” Ms Busowski Cox said.
“She was a wonderful, deeply spiritual artist with a brilliant imagination who was highly intelligent.”
Ms Busowski Cox said she believed Waller’s art has a huge appeal but that she struggled to get recognition during her lifetime.
“There was a few reasons (she was unheralded),” she said. “Partially it was because she was a woman.
“If you read newspaper articles about her, they talk about her as Napier Waller's wife. So she was married to an artist who was more famous (than her) and a public artist.
“She also wasn’t a part of any art movement either, she had a singular vision.”
Ms Busowski Cox said the type of art Waller excelled in was not often in the spotlight.
“Being a printmaker is a quieter activity,” she said. “Her major print work The Great Breath is is often heralded in Australian art.
“But her major output was in stain-glass windows, which in themselves are dispersed in churches. The artist sits behind those works rather than being out in front.
“She was driven by wanting to encourage spiritual contemplation rather than for artistic acclaim.”
Napier and Christian Waller became guardians of Waller’s niece Klytie Pate. Pate would become a famed ceramic artist in Australia.
“Klitie was a very strong character who had a difficult upbringing and was betrayed by her mother,” Ms Busowski Cox said.
“She was very driven and had an incredible artistic output. She should be a national treasure for what she achieved.”
Daughters of the Sun is at the Bendigo Art Gallery until February 10.
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