Rae Saheli can’t recall a time when she wasn’t making art. It has been a part of her life from a very young age. Born in rural Victoria, she studied year 12 TOP Tertiary Orientated Program – Visual Arts and was mentored by Dick Bishop, a well-known local artist who taught her traditional painting techniques. Following High School, Rae majored in Painting and Life Drawing at TAFE Central Gippsland, Yallourn Campus. She also completed a Library Technician’s course working full time at Monash University Library.
With Dick’s passing, Rae moved to Melbourne to start a family. In 2009 she moved to the Gold Coast where she currently resides. With her family’s support and encouragement, she resumed her art training full time completing in 2020 an Advanced Diploma in Visual Arts at TAFE NSW, Murwillumbah Campus, majoring in painting and printmaking.
Her formal training belies Rae’s current art making process. No longer interested in the application of paint to render the world in expressive or colourful ways, Rae’s work is unique in that is made using a 12-guage shot gun. That’s right, Rae shoots her work! In a process that favours chance, chaos and randomness over any sense of pictorial order, Rae’s curiously beautiful pieces are the result of a woman with a shotgun, stoically aiming it, at various gun ranges around the country, towards pieces of canvas, plywood, aluminum and just about anything else you can think of that might look good pelted at high velocity.
The results of this intriguing process have been exhibited in many group exhibitions including: AIRspace, Metro Arts 2020; (The Feel), Tweed Regional Art Gallery; (Gauge) and Northern Rivers Community Gallery; (Gauge). In early 2020 Rae was an inaugural participant in Retreat – a Walls Art Space emerging artist intensive – in which its directors Rebecca Ross and Chris Bennie oversaw and guided Rae and three other local artists develop work during an eight-week residency in the Walls Art Space.
While Rae has explored three dimensional forms in her art before, this year’s SWELL Sculpture Festival will mark a major leap in scale for her sculptural practice and allow for significantly more shooting to take place
2021 SWELL ARTWORK – Passing Through, Rae Saheli
Passing Through is a series of life-sized tube aluminium sculptures made using the artist’s distinctive art making technique, a 12-gauge shotgun fired at different surfaces. Rae can be seen at her gun club, shotgun in one hand, art materials in the other shooting at canvas, wood, aluminium and other surfaces. For SWELL 2021 Rae has fired over a hundred rounds of ammunition at this aluminium, leaving a distinctive pattern for light to pass through.
SWELL Kids Artist Statement – Passing Through, Rae Saheli
My idea for this sculpture comes from the sea and the patterns left behind by the waves in the sand, I love how the light passes through the sculpture.
Come and see for yourself at SWELL Sculpture Festival, Pacific Parade, Currumbin 10-19 September.