We cooperate as an association to advance the practice of sculpture and the reputation and appreciation of sculpture and sculptors in the community. This is regardless of whether or not we make a living from sculpture and regardless of our preferred style or medium. To this end we support artists’ moral rights, we advocate a professional attitude to the production and presentation of work and encourage the artistic and intellectual stimulation of interaction amongst artists of all persuasions.

Rosa Tato at the April Monthly Meeting

"The minute she walked into the joint
I could see she was a gal of distinction
A real creator…..hard working and so refined".

We did get a projector to work eventually -
it required both luck and patience. Rosa and Marija waiting

Following some challenges relating to acquiring and operating a projector for Rosa’s images, this was how Rosa Tato was introduced at Wednesday’s meeting by Marija Patterson who, in 2002, was on the selection panel, interviewing candidates for a place into the BFA (Sculpture) course at RMIT. Rosa was amongst 120 people interviewed and was one of the 15 successful applicants.

Engaging in a Q & A style of presentation we learnt that Rosa, having gone to art school as an 18 year old and discouraged by parents to continue, decided 20 years later that she needed return to a creative place full time. Having completed a BFA (Sculpture) with Honours at RMIT, Rosa had several breaks, which launched her career.

In 2006-7 Rosa assisted Melbourne based sculptor, Penelope Lee during the making of a large permanent installation (made from hundreds of Sherrin Footballs).

"On reflection, the ‘football project’ was the beginning of my preoccupation of creating a work related to a cultural object; an underlying theme in my work. The deconstruction of a cultural object – works from a desire to create an understanding of a story."

In the same year Rosa received funding to partake in an RMIT Art Residency in Shanghai

"This was a great surprise and as my circumstances did not allow for a 4-5 month residency, I was able to split the experience into two."

Rosa’s work for her City of Melbourne funded project, "Embracing Distance", enabled the community to reflect on their homeland, migration and settlement through a shared process of storytelling and group discussion. The resulting work began with an intuitive cutting process in paper. These designs were transferred to large mild steel sheets, the pattern and designs implemented using the laser-cutting technique and the sheets rolled. The 30m long decorative installation, which incorporates patterns and motifs representing the cultural diversity and personal histories of people from 16 countries was put in place at the North Melbourne Public Housing Estate with the help of many of the community members.

The Saltwater Project for Wyndam City Council was based on an investigation into the local wetlands resulting in a work of perforated metal panels depicting the wide range of birdlife in their habitat.

Following these breaks, Rosa has been the recipient of several important public and private commissions in Victoria, artist-in-residence and research grants.

Whilst Rosa enjoys exploring a range of materials in her practice she is influenced by her surroundings and history – texture, scale, textiles and colour are important, attributing this perhaps to her "incredible rich experience" in her upbringing. (Her parents were founders of the Spanish Club on Johnston St., otherwise known as ‘Hogar Espanol’.)

When asked how much contact she has with other artists Rosa responded,

"I feel isolated at times. I am aware of the importance of being in touch with other artists -meeting, sharing processes, sharing ideas, feedback and dialogue."

Until recently Rosa was a member of Artery Cooperative which is a Melbourne based artists initiative. Artery is filled with individuals that are committed to sharing knowledge and skills, and nurturing emerging artists.

In closing, Rosa reminds us of the potential of storytelling as a means to making art. the idea that the work can capture a time and place, remembrance, memory and truth.

Rosa has participated in exhibition nationally and internationally and she is represented in private and public collections in Australia, China, Spain, The Netherlands and the USA.

More information:  www.rosatato.com 

Marija Patterson.

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