Sean James Cassidy

S e a n   J a m e s   C a s s i d y

A Dance for Father

My approach to my work is through organic exploration, experimentation and the expanding of ideas. My belief is that art is a universal language and, as a conduit for communication, it allows for the summoning of tribal consciousness. Using movement of the whole body, I work, to develop a symbiotic relationship with brush, medium and the surface. This relationship is further enhanced through the making of my own paper and paints, which heightens my instincts and connection when creating.

From an early age, ephemeral art was a huge influence on me. I began as a cartoonist and, as my drawing skills developed, I became aware of the symbolism and power of mark making. A major influence on my work came from my time teaching art in remote communities in Australia and the Philippines. Working in unique surroundings like forests, deserts, ex-shearing sheds, old town halls and abandoned buildings, it was the naïve and honest markings made by unschooled hands that deeply affected my approach to my own work. I continue to explore and work in oils, watercolours and sculpture. 

Sean James Cassidy studied drawing at the Julian Ashton Art School in 1998 and, subsequently, at the Charlie Sheard Studio School where he studied 16th century painting techniques from 1999 to 2003. In 2000, Cassidy completed an Advanced Diploma of Fine Arts at St George College, TAFE, and a Diploma of Graphic Design at Enmore Design Centre in 2017. .

Cassidy has exhibited and curated widely. Major exhibitions include New Songs for Ancestral Voices, Rex Livingston Art Dealer, Australia (2004); Excavating Bridges for Future Streams, Vargas Museum, Philippines (2007); Ub Ubbo, Australian Embassy, Manila, Philippines (2008); Melodies of Woven Light, touring exhibition, Canberra, Parkes and Sydney (2011); Bangamalanha Binnadang, Vargas Museum, Philippines (2012); Interdependence Tribal Consciousness, Parkes Council Shire Library (2015); Daddad-at Unearthing Past Voices, Sowing Future Visions, University of the Philippines, College of Fine Arts (2015) and Erratic Symbiosis: Unearthing Past Voices, Parkes Shire Council Library (2017).

Among his awards are the Paul Harris Fellowship, Parkes Rotary Club (2012); Cultural Person of the Year, Australia Day Awards, Parkes Shire Council (2014, 2017) and Cultural Event of the Year, The Art of Resilience, Australia Day Awards, Parkes Shire Council (2021).

Cassidy created an installation of story poles for the Parkes Peace Precinct in collaboration with local Wiradjuri artists and Parkes Rotary Club in 2016 and an installation of carved story poles for Parkes Early Childhood Centre in 2017. He produced, in 2019, graphic posters celebrating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, on permanent display in Parkes CBD. In 2022, Cassidy wrote and produced the video documentary, Wiradjuri Ngurambang, supporting a permanent display of Wiradjuri artefacts at the Parkes Shire Library. He is co-author of Excavating Bridges for Future Streams, Australian Physics Magazine (2021).

His work is held in private collections throughout Australia and Asia. Sean Cassidy was elected a member of the Australian Watercolour Institute in 2023.

Copyright © Australian Watercolour Institute