An exhibition at The Gunnedah Bicentennial Creative Arts Galleries opened with a ‘body of work’ that takes the concept literally.

Fourteen women from the North West New England area have created a new piece from plastic mannequin torsos for the Body of Work exhibition.

Tamworth local artist, Joanne Stead, organised the exhibition and idea.

She stumbled upon a set of plastic mannequins being sold in a secondhand store at the beginning of the year.

“I just looked at them and thought, ‘there is an art project in that’,” she said.

Joanne Stead next to her artwork ‘Gravidity’.

She purchased 15 and then in April she had regional artists lined up for the challenge.

Joanne had asked women she knew to join the project before turning to other artists in the area she admired.

“There were a few artists that I had just been following on Facebook because I really liked their work,” she said.

“There are some people who I had never met before doing the project.

“So that is really exciting that we have created a new network of artists from across the region.”

Women from Narrabri, Wallabadah, Attunga, Hallsville, Tamworth, Armidale, Glen Innes and more produced new work for the project.

The mannequins came together looking very different for the exhibition.

“They all just brought a different view and perspective to what their torso mannequin could be,” Joanne said.

“I think back to when I first bought them all and I had them in my studio. They were all just basic plastic forms and now they have been transformed into something completely different.

Wendy Thompson standing with her artwork.

“It is like a family reunion.”

Each artist used her own medium and inspiration to make each piece completely unique.

Some took Joanne’s suggestion to explore beyond their comfort medium.

Her own piece was inspired by her own experiences and the things around her.

Joanne experimented with paper mache for a new form using a belly cast from when she was pregnant.

A kookaburra on a branch was hand drawn onto the paper mache body.

“I usually use 2D and with bright colours and this time it has gotten really natural just with the paper and pencil,” she said.

“Moving into the 3D form has been different for me.

“It has given me the chance to take risks and have fun and try something different this year.”

Lisa Almagro next to her artwork ‘The Enchanted Forestquin – A Fairytale Within’, Otto Spradbrow, Dennise Simshauser and Adeana Jeffery.

To order photos from this page click here