There’ s lot to see at the AWBF, but we also need people to see us before the event, and that’s where a long tradition of Festival posters comes into the picture. Starting in 1994, AWBF has commissioned poster art from some of the best maritime artists in Tasmania (and one or two further afield). This has created a wonderful legacy of vivid, colourful posters that are much treasured by festival fans. In 2017, we think we’ve hit the jackpot with a stunning piece of artwork by Melinda Piesse and lively graphic design from Justin Dance, the man responsible for much of the AWBF’s trademark imagery in print.
Melinda is a Melbourne-based textile artist who has created an absolutely beautiful tapestry, inspired by the famous Bayeux Tapestry and the chilling story of the wreck of the Batavia on the west coast of Australia back in 1628. The artwork, some 6 metres long and 3 metres high, is painstakingly hand-stitched on a canvas backing, depicting scenes from the infamous shipwreck that cost the lives of more than 200 men women and children, many of them at the hands of their fellow passengers. It is a major work of art and we are pleased that it will be on display at the ANMM International Wooden Boat Symposium during the festival. Detail from the tapestry forms the principal artwork for the poster.
Justin Dance, the Tasmanian-born graphic designer has created numerous layouts for AWBF posters, handbooks and guides, including the striking Official Festival Programs in 2013 and 2015. The highly professional ‘look-and-feel’ of the festival’s visual personality is largely his work.
‘This is a wonderful bit of serendipity,’ said Symposium Manager Chris Palmer, ‘we have been offered a beautiful original artwork in the same year that we welcome the Kingdom of the Netherlands as our special guests to celebrate the anniversary of another great Dutch explorer, Abel Tasman.’ The tapestry will be displayed at the Dechaineaux Theatre, the venue for the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) International Wooden Boat Symposium.
Long-serving Festival Dock Master Ross Barnett has a contribution to make as well. In a former life, the Sydney based graphic arts graduate did a bit of design work himself. He has contributed artwork for the highly sought-after Festival Plaques, available only to registered boat owners. These solid brass mementoes of each wooden boat festival are seriously collectable and a full set from 1994 onwards is a rare find.