Liz McGrath

Illustration & D​esign

Geelong After Dark 2019

Liz supported artists from ACT Natimuk in the creation of Galaxias, a huge projected artwork presented as part of GAD 2019.

The piece used images of the fragile fish and plant species that live in Geelong's Barwon River, and Liz's role was to coordinate community engagement to create the elements used in a huge projection (animated by Dave Jones) onto the multi-story Barwon Water building. Liz conducted illustration workshops with students at Barwon Heads Primary School and at Barwon Valley School and also coordinated a shadow puppet-making workshop with puppeteer Mary French. The final piece combined the animated images and shadow puppetry with dance and movement by aerialists.

Geelong After Dark 2018

In May 2018 Liz created her installation Miss Drydale & Miss Newcomb, Lady Squatters.

Keen to hear the voices of women from Geelong’s past, Liz stumbled on the story of two quirky and fascinating very early settlers: Anne Drysdale (1792-1853) and Caroline Newcomb (1812-1892). Despite an age gap of 20 years the women were partners, living together on the Bellarine and running a successful property.

The pair are fascinating as they don’t fit the usual stereotypes of pioneer women. Unmarried, inseparable, independent of men and living together, their relationship is intriguing and special: they shared a home and were later being buried side-by-side. Respected landholders and successful pastoralists, they were vital members of their community. The Geelong suburbs of Newcomb and Drysdale are named in their honour.

The dresses were created with full hoop skirts from cane with paper, fabric and lace, then illuminated and paraded through central Geelong as part of the Geelong After Dark arts event.

Photo: Reg Ryan

Mountain to Mouth 2018

Liz was commissioned by the City of Geelong to work with children at schools to create pyramid lanterns for processions at M~M ceremonies in the city and at Barwon Heads.

Photo: Sandy Goddard

Remnant Canoe & Geelong After Dark 2017

Liz was commissioned by the City of Geelong as a participating artist in 2 major art events in May 2017.

On May 4 the permanent sculpture Remnant Canoe was installed at the You Yangs as a homage to the biennial Mountain to Mouth Art Walks. Liz created the image Spirit of Canoe, a major element in the dramatic evening ceremony to install Remnant Canoe. Contructed from cane, bamboo and paper the illuminated canoe was carried by local young people, and led the procession that drew onlookers to the site of the sculpture.

Over the preceeding months Liz had worked with primary students from Lara in a series of workshops, where 24 simple star lantern were created from cane, bamboo and paper. The lanterns were adorned with words, handwritten by the students who shared their ideas for Geelong's future. Illuminated and carried by the children they formed a striking image in the procession at the You Yangs.

The canoe and lanterns were also used in an illuminated procession to launch the Geelong After Dark festival. They became part of the art installation in City Hall, River of Words by artist Esther Konings-Oakes, which was part of Geelong After Dark.


Mountain to Mouth 2016

In 2016 Liz was again commissioned as a participating artist in Geelong's Mountain to Mouth Extreme Arts event.

Liz created a simple fish puppet from cane, bamboo and paper, then worked with young artists and members of the community, including students from Barwon Heads Primary School, Barwon Valley School, Bop Bop Kurrong Kindergarten and senior crafters from Seachange Quilters, to create a school of 65 fish puppets.

The School of Fish performance was a highlight of the M~M Closing Ceremony at on the river bank Barwon Heads. Carried by local children the fish emerged illuminated from the dark river bank as part of the spectacular evening event.

Sculpture mentorship

As an exciting addition to M~M2016 Liz was the recipient of M~M 2016 Sculpture Mentorship, and worked with with Papua New Guinean sculptor and bamboo artist, Leonard Tebegetu and sculptor Mahony Kiely, on the major sculpture commission, Canoe.

Mountain to Mouth 2014

Liz was commissioned to design and construct a large walking circle on the grassy riverbank as part of Geelong's exciting Mountain to Mouth Extreme Arts event. The walking circle had a food theme, and was formed by a spiral of 800 donated tins of food (later donated to the Geelong Food Bank) and 50 metres of fabric decorated by students at a range of local schools using vegetable and fruit printing. Walkers were invited to take a packet of vegetable seeds from the centre of the circle home with them to plant in their own gardens.

Marine Puppets 2015

Liz was involved in a workshop in which Polyglot's professional puppeteers worked with groups of primary school children to construct three giant puppets based on local marine creatures. The puppets were created using cane frameworks covered with fabrics. They were paraded through Barwon Head's streets as part of our Festival of the Sea in March. Liz had already been involved with festival, designing the 2015 poster, map and brochure for the event.

As a further development of the marine puppets, Liz was invited to illuminate the puppets, and they were paraded as part of Geelong After Dark festival in May 2015.

Art Connections 2018

Liz facilitated three workshops for Art Connections, a program of creative workshops funded through the Barwon Heads Festival of the Sea in partnership with the Barwon Heads Arts Council, through a grant from Bellarine Community Health. The program aimed to improve the psychological wellbeing, social connectedness, and positive management of chronic health conditions by engaging people with illness or disability in arts activities.

Liz's workshops were held at the BH Community Garden and introduced Mindfulness drawing and Mosaic.