Former Gunnedah residents Yvette and Peter Hugill have put 18 months of hard work into their joint exhibition ‘From The Ground Up’ at the Manning Regional Gallery in Taree.

The opening on Sunday, October 22 at 2pm was overwhelmingly supported by a large crowd, which was much appreciated by the couple who came to Gunnedah in the 1970s to establish their business Hugill’s Engineering. With her training as a graphic designer at the National Art School in Sydney, Yvette soon became involved in the local art scene, helping to establish the Creative Arts Centre.

‘From The Ground Up’ features a majority of landscape paintings from Yvette, many local scenes depicting the Manning Valley, Manning River and coastal scenes. She also has a small grouping of still life paintings accompanied by porcelain ceramics that Peter had thrown for her to decorate. Peter has created more than 150 ceramic pieces ranging from large vases, bowls, cups and jugs, collaborating with Yvette to complement her paintings. Their two very different art forms sit well together in colour, pattern and form.

“This is our ninth joint exhibition since leaving Gunnedah nearly 14 years ago and our third in the Manning Regional Art Gallery at Taree,” Yvette said.

“We’re now heavily involved with the gallery as volunteers, installing exhibitions, catering for openings and on the committee, where Peter is president of Friends of the Manning Regional Art Gallery, a position he has held for the past six years.”

The exhibition is in the main gallery, a very large space that had both of them working busily for 18 months leading up to the opening.


Opening day of Yvette and Peter Hugill’s exhibition.

The heritage gallery space is also exhibiting the work of Joedie Lawler ‘Looking Through a Cultural Lens’. Her exhibition is about her journey through loss – relying on her strong connection with her culture to accept the things she can’t change.

The large and appreciative crowd, keen to take home a piece of original art or pottery, soon had red ‘sold’ dots appearing on exhibits and that trend has continued.

Accolades on social media included this comment: “Your grass pictures have helped me see the beauty of grasses. I think I did not notice them as the feature of a landscape just incidental but I found myself looking at the tufts of grass at the beach all blowing in the one direction in the wind” and “Congratulations Yvette and Peter it looks amazing. The two art dimensions really complement each other”.

“This will be our last major exhibition,” Yvette told the Gunnedah Times.

“It was so much work over the last 18 months. I’ve been constantly in the studio most days; I’ll never stop painting but will ease up.”

During their time in Gunnedah, Yvette studied painting and drawing at Gunnedah and Tamworth TAFE colleges, expanding and developing her style to include more contemporary art works which are as pleasing to the eye as her traditional works.

Peter Hugill was introduced to pottery in Gunnedah and after selling their business, Hugill’s Engineering, the couple moved to Wingham where their studios are perched high on a hill overlooking the Manning River.

Yvette and Peter Hugill still maintain strong links with the place they once called home and raised their two children. Although her own work is all consuming, Yvette is generous with her time and talent, often judging exhibitions or holding classes to pass on her knowledge to others. She is a frequent exhibitor at Gunnedah art shows and has also conducted workshops for local artists, while Peter has also shared his knowledge and skills with others.

Pottery and paintings featured at the Hugill’s exhibition in Taree.

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