The Batela Project began as a small impulse. In 2013 Clare asked her father Mike if he would like to build a boat with her (thinking maybe a small dinghy).
Over the last four years, the project has grown and become a focal point for discussions between Clare and Mike. The Batela project has become a meeting ground for their conversations about family, heritage, culture and art making. In the days of the Batela their ancestors lived in the Venetian Empire. The Batela is an ancient vessel. The Batela Project aims to transpose it into a modern Australian context. Over the coming years, we aim to create networks and relationships that will help us to understand more about the contemporary and traditional significance of Australian waterways.
The construction of the “Batela Coa De Gambero” will be undertaken in 2018/19 by Master Boat Builder Mathias Luehman, Mathais has been living and working in Venice since 2002. Since that time, he has worked making traditional wooden boats with a specialisation in the construction of traditional Venetian boats. Mathais managed the carpentry workshop at “Vento di Venezia”, Certosa Island, Venicefrom 2007 – 2012. Since October 2012 running own business as master boat builder in Venice.
Mathais will visit Tasmania for the first time in February 2017 to attend the Australian Wooden Boat Festival. During his time at the festival Matthais will be hosted by festival co-founder Andy Gamlin and will be researching materials and workspaces ahead of returning in late 2018 to build Australia’s first Batela Coa De Gambero.
The Batela will be a surreal and anachronistic passing image and it's journeys will be documented and compiled so that people can connect with it aboard the Vessel, from the shore or in a gallery or festival context.
Developed as part of Salamanca Arts Centre’s HyPe program, assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, Hobart City Council, and Arts Tasmania and through a residency at Bundanon Artists Trust