Fifteen emerging artists from across Illawarra and greater Sydney will feature at the Hazelhurst Arts Centre in a new exhibition showcasing the University of Wollongong (UOW) students' Visual Arts graduation pieces.
Contemporary painting, sculpture, ceramics, photography, multimedia and textile works will all feature in the 'Vital Signs' exhibition.
Hazelhurst Arts Centre hosts UOW Visual Arts works annually through a partnership with the university's School of the Arts, English and Media, designed to support and promote artists in the early stages of their career.
For many students exhibiting, this will be their first exhibition outside the university walls.
The artworks were selected by Hazelhurst curator, Carrie Kibbler, who said the pieces were experimental and adaptive, many produced in bathrooms, kitchens and backyards, as well as studio spaces, during the COVID-19 lockdown.
"COVID has had a huge impact on our lives over the past 12 months and this is featured in several works," Ms Kibbler told the Leader.
"The last 12 months have been particularly difficult for artists, and Vital Signs is a fantastic opportunity for visitors to support these young artists by viewing the exhibition or even acquiring one of the works that are available for purchase.
"Having the general public visit the exhibition and engage with their work is a validation of their practice and their chosen career path."
The works investigate themes such as the environment, use of land, the body, identity and inter-generational narratives, along with alchemical processes and documentary practices.
Through the gallery and university partnership, one lucky student will be offered a two-week residency with accommodation and a studio at the gallery, through the Hazelhurst Arts Centre Artist in Residency Prize.
Hazelhurst also offers one graduate a curatorial internship, allowing the student to get a taste of the inner workings of a gallery space and exhibition off the university campus.
This year's intern, Nova Tucker, said: "It's a chance to get my foot in the door of the professional art world, and it's so inspiring and motivational to work with such like-minded and driven people."
Vital Signs will run from February 20 until March 9, from 10am until 4pm at the Broadhurst Gallery, Hazelhurst Arts Centre, 782 Kingsway, Gymea. Admission is free.