EVAN Hollis is a happy man. 

He's happy because sales at the Downlands Art Exhibition have passed $100,000 and are on par with their record. 

Happy, because the exhibition he's carefully and selectively curated this year has challenged people's perception of what art is.

But most of all, as he confidently declared, standing amidst the artworks and the steady drift of people, he is happy because this is his best art show in 13 years overseeing the Downlands Art Exhibition. 

Over his many years as an artist and as a curator of the exhibition, Mr Hollis has heard it all - 'art's a whole pile of tossers with too much time on their hands', or 'oh, I don't know anything about art'. 

Downlands Art Exhibition, curator Evan Hollis inside the artwork of Christopher R Inwood. September 2017
Downlands Art Exhibition, curator Evan Hollis inside the artwork of Christopher R Inwood. September 2017 Bev Lacey

But he said that's simply not true. 

"A particular aspect of this show I've tried to include is the design in everyday objects, just to make it obvious to people... the significance of art in everyone's every day lives," he said. 

As he walked around the room, he motions to everything from Tupperware to motorbikes, pointing out the artistic design elements that either attract or repel people from an object. 

"When people start knocking art saying its pointless, it gets my hackles up," he said.

"And I just challenge them on that, the number of people who have told me art is insignificant and pointless, I've decided to respond to them with this  exhibition." 

"So this is my art, to curate it like this and take it back and shove it in their face.

"Hopefully I just make that little change in the community here... this is my home town,and i want to make it better." 

Mr Hollis said the response to this year's exhibition had been so great that he will continue to include the theme of "everyday design" in future exhibitions.

Organisers estimate around 2000 people visited Downlands over the course of the weekend, with around 350 in attendance at the Friday night gala opening.

Sydney artist David Bromley's mixed-media artwork sold for $9,500 at the Downlands Art Exhibition. 030917
Sydney artist David Bromley's mixed-media artwork sold for $9,500 at the Downlands Art Exhibition. 030917 Matthew Newton

The most expensive work to sell at this year's exhibition was a large mixed-media piece by well-known Sydney artist David Bromley, which fetched $9,500.

"People queued up to get that one, one lady ran in first thing as soon as the doors opened," he said. 

Toowoomba Regional Gallery also made the rare move of purchasing a "major piece" for their collection. 


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