Our Year in Art: 2018

The Orana Arts team closes an exciting and ambitious year of cultural projects and major partnerships by sharing their 2018 highlights. 

Alicia Rodriguez Leggett, Executive Director 
It has been a very busy year for all of us with so many highlights, but two very personal moments stand out for me.

Watching the first Black Box Creatives production of Brainstorm and seeing how proud everyone was of the show was a big one. My eldest daughter was in the show and it was what she had always wanted in a performance — it was relevant and poignant to her sense of place and identity. The enthusiasm carried over from the young performers to the professionals who make the BBC shows happen: Camilla Ward and Andrew Glassop. Everyone was talking about this "out of the box" piece of theatre and how well it went off. Listening to them talk about where to from here and how many more people need to see it was invigorating — it wasn't just over for them after that one performance. Brainstorm was a catalyst to further development. 

Another touching moment was at the staging of A Little Piece of Heaven: getting a hug and a thank you from Aunty Violet (Ruth Carney's elder) after the show brought me to tears. 

 The Black Box Creatives rehearse Brainstorm.

The Black Box Creatives rehearse Brainstorm.

Michelle Hall, Strategic Projects and Partnerships  

One of the true privileges of my role is working with the most disengaged/disadvantaged members of society and giving them a voice through creative investment. To see the truly vulnerable trust us with their stories, regain their spirit and feel a sense of place and pride through art is incredible. 

There have been many wonderful moments seeing the transformation the arts have made to people and communities, but the moments happen because of the artists we work with and the partnerships we foster — in particular:

The incredible team of A Little Piece of Heaven: John, Paris, Alison, Annie, Sam and Lee. Their personal commitment and support to our Elders Aunty Ruth and Uncle Dick Carney is something that I will always be grateful for and value. 

The visual and music artists within our CSI Program: Andy, Clint, Dale, Louise, Luke, Amanda and Joh, who invest so much of themselves so that the community they work within have opportunities for change and growth through art.

Our partners: Andrew Glassop at the Western Plains Cultural Centre, Sam Wild from Create NSW, Brad Peebles from Corrective Services NSW — your sanity, support and strategic guidance is so highly appreciated and valued. 

All of you made 2018 a year where — through art — we make the world a better place. Thank you.

 Aunty Ruth and Uncle Dick Carney on stage during the Dubbo performance of A Little Piece of Heaven.

Aunty Ruth and Uncle Dick Carney on stage during the Dubbo performance of A Little Piece of Heaven.

Portia Lindsay, Communications Manager

My goals are around sharing stories and promoting literacy and literary engagement through our regional areas and I feel that this year I was a part of some powerful projects. My highlights were:

As General Manager of the Mudgee Readers’ Festival (MRF) I worked with local artists and community to develop and showcase the Aboriginal storytelling voice and celebrate Wiradjuri culture, through creative projects and discussions. The launch of the zine Burning at MRF in August was the stunning product of a workshop series that saw young people sharing and illustrating cultural and personal stories. I’m proud to see this Aboriginal storytelling and art project develop into 2019.   

This year I was invited to teach flash fiction as part of our CSI program. By the end of the session, participants were eagerly writing, re-working and reading aloud their stories. The warm atmosphere in the class enabled everyone to share their writing — sometimes sad, sometimes hilarious, always heartfelt — and it was a privilege to facilitate the self-expression of people who don’t always have a voice.

I have also really enjoyed working with our Art of Threatened Species resident artists to share their progress with the wider community. There is some terrific work developing and I’m looking forward to sharing more from the artists in 2019.

 Launching the Burning zine at the 2018 Mudgee Readers’ Festival. Photo credit: Amber Hooper.

Launching the Burning zine at the 2018 Mudgee Readers’ Festival. Photo credit: Amber Hooper.

Danielle Andrews, Cultural Projects Officer
This year has been one of change for me: moving from Bathurst to Dubbo and being unsure whether this move was to be a positive development into my career, then landing the role of Cultural Projects Officer at Orana Arts. 

The greatest highlight would be the variety of people I have met in the short time I have been in this current role. Through attending Artstate in Bathurst (images below), I have met industry professionals from all over the NSW and it was invigorating to meet so many people with the same overall drive to enhance regional arts in Australia.

I have become aware of so many artists within the Orana Region; those who I have worked with personally and those who I admire and am yet to meet. The people who stand out most to me and have really guided my professional development is my team at Orana Arts. They have all been so welcoming, giving me the confidence and guidance in developing my skills.

Another highlight for this year has been the opportunity to work alongside the Black Box Creative’s theatre company with their team of students and facilitators. They have embraced the ideas I have brought to the company and I have learnt a great deal and come to appreciate their family-like connection.

This year has been the start of my professional development in the arts sector and with 2019 right around the corner I feel as though there is plenty of adventure in store with Orana Arts.

Shelby, Digital Projects Officer 

My proudest professional moment of 2018 was completing my Bachelor of Theatre Media major work Rumble as part of the Sprung Festival. I wrote and performed in a comedy stage production that was a Sprung Festival first for paving the way theatre and technology work together. Rumble is a choose-your-own-adventure stage play where the audience can choose the plot and outcomes in real time through a mobile app (images below). There are fifteen different choices and five different endings with improvisation and audience interaction throughout. It was a video game for stage that followed four university students through the Amazon forest as the audience tried to keep them alive and guide them through booby-traps, ghosts, talking artefacts, poisonous plants and everything else the jungle could throw at them. 

My main goals were for the audience to have lots of fun and to also break the stigma of technology within traditional theatre. Having achieved both — as well as single-handedly writing and creating this production — made Rumble my proudest moment of 2018!

 

Meet our new Digital Projects Officer

Orana Arts welcomes Shelby Russo-Vooles to the team as a part-time Digital Projects Officer. Get to know Shelby, who will be unveiling the new Pop-Up Creators program in early 2019. 

How did you get started in the arts?

From a very young age I was always encouraged to be creative with painting, singing and acting — I have been in every school play since prep participating in a variety of roles from the lead character to chorus. I also attended workshops and summer camps to complement my drama classes. I was lucky enough to go to a school that was able to fund a beautiful arts department with state-of-the-art equipment, offering a hands-on experience in many mediums including, paint, clay, burning and etching.

I have always loved video games and animation and it sparked my desire to create games and animations like the ones I would play and watch. That has always been a dream of mine since I was very young and I cannot wait to delve into these mediums in the future.

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What do you love about working in the theatre?

The passion and excitement you get from being involved — there is something absolutely magical about being on the journey that theatre takes you! I love seeing the transformation of a production from the brainstorming stage to the final piece, especially because you know that a team of people made it happen: from a textured set piece to the blocking of someone’s foot, it is a massive collaboration and it’s beautiful. I have experienced being both the invisible backstage creator and the lead and they both equally give you a wonderful space to be creative and evolve with the end product. 

What was the last production that you saw?

The last production I saw was an original musical called Schapelle Schapelle. It was written and produced by close friends of mine as a part of Sprung Festival in Bathurst. It followed the story of Schapelle Corby and her infamous boogie board drug bust in Bali. It was an exceptionally well-written production that left you laughing and on the edge of your seat as they danced through the scandals from the family, news reports and Schapelle herself — all accompanied by a live band at the back of the stage!

As our Digital Projects Officer, you will be running Pop Up Creators in 2019 — what excites you about this program and what can our communities expect to see?

I am most excited about being able to use Pop-Up Creators to give our communities a chance to interact and channel their creativity through technology and design. I am very passionate about the ways that we can positively merge technology into art and creative outlets. I am excited to announce that I am already working on a coding workshop that can enable our community to learn the fundamentals of coding and implement it in real time using fun and quirky methods! 

Country Arts Support Program: 2019 recipients announced!

Through Country Arts Support Program (CASP) funding, creative organisations from across regional and rural NSW will play host to range of short-term, locally initiated community productions, programs, performances and workshops.

Arts Minister, Don Harwin, said that the annual CASP funding aims to drive creative and vibrant state-wide arts projects that engage diverse audiences and promote an innovative NSW arts and cultural sector.

“This funding reflects our ongoing commitment to promoting diverse arts and cultural experiences in regional NSW – everything from local community street art, youth choirs, and Aboriginal arts as well as securing a number of critically-acclaimed authors and artists that are going on tour.”

“Increasing access and participation in arts and cultural experiences drives economic benefits across the regions and also enables positive social impacts too, including greater awareness, appreciation and expression of our cultural diversity.”

The CASP fund is a devolved grants program administered each year by Regional Arts NSW on behalf of Create NSW. Grants of up to either $3,000 or $5,000 (depending on region) are available primarily for professional artists’ fees, travel and accommodation, with applications assessed by 14 regionally-based panels coordinated by the local Regional Arts Boards.

Orana Arts is proud to announce that the following projects in our region have been funded:

Dubbo Filmmakers: Young Filmmakers' Bootcamp ($5,000)
In a series of workshops for young people, Dubbo Filmmakers aim to provide hands-on experience in creating short films facilitated by experienced filmmakers. Young filmmakers will be encouraged to enter their projects in the 2019 Dubbo One Eye Film Festival.

Dunedoo Central School Parents & Citizens Association: Art for Youth - A Brush with Bush Kids ($3,000)
To bring the world of art to kids from the bush, three qualified artists from Sydney will present art workshops to 150 students at Dunedoo from 14—16 May 2019.

Gilgandra Alive! presents: An Afternoon of Crime ($2,000)
A published, award-winning and popular author of crime fiction will visit Gilgandra to offer an inspiring workshop for writers in the local area and surrounds. This will include an open forum on their latest work, a reading and a Q&A session.

Mid-Western Regional Council: Growing a Community's Cultural Ecology ($3,000)
Local arts worker Kelly Leonard will coordinate a pilot project engaging two local professional, contemporary artists. The outcome will develop work in short residencies alongside community development events.

RnR Rags to Bags - GM Rail Services: RnR Rags to Bags ($5,000)
Helping to inspire creativity in community members who experience mental health issues or live with disability, RnR Rags to Bags will hold workshops in multiple sites designing & using recycled materials to use as an alternative to plastic bags.

Look out for these terrific projects and events being developed in 2019. For more on CASP, including previous projects, click here.

 Image: artwork detail, Kelly Leonard

Image: artwork detail, Kelly Leonard

Join our team!

POSITION AVAILABLE: ABORIGINAL ARTS PROJECT CURATOR

Are you passionate about Indigenous arts? Do you want to contribute to and support regional creative communities? Orana Arts is seeking applications for a part-time (21 hours a week) Aboriginal Arts Project Curator to assist the Orana Arts team in delivering and developing exhibitions under the OA Aboriginal arts programs across the Orana region.

Position Description
You will be assisting with wide-ranging curatorial activities including contributing to ATSIA programs plans and strategies; community liaison and consultation; project support and development; managing creative performances and exhibitions; communications and marketing; and facilitating workshops across various locations. This role will also be supported by the Western Plains Cultural Centre, which provides the AAPC an opportunity to work with the WPCC curatorial team.

The AAPC will work with the Project Manager to curate a culturally appropriate exhibition utilising a cross-disciplinary approach — in keeping with the innovative approach of the CETA program. Through this process the curator will gain experience in planning an exhibition; sourcing content; approaching and working with artists; liaising with community; working with the Project Manager and the Communications Manager to execute and promote the exhibition. 

The Aboriginal Arts Project Curator will be required to:
assist in the development of partnerships, opportunities, programs and projects with creatives, organisations and community groups to enhance creative skills, practice and knowledge
— oversee the OA exhibition space at the WPCC
— support the development of artists database
— assist in ATSIA programs communications
— curate Aboriginal Arts exhibition 

Skills and Experience
The successful candidate will:
— be of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander heritage
— have a keen interest in regional Aboriginal Arts and culture
— have a demonstrated capacity to contribute to the development and implementation of an Aboriginal Arts and Culture projects and team
— hold an Employee Working with Children Check (mandatory)
— be prepared to undertake an Australian Criminal History Check (mandatory)
— hold a current NSW Driver’s Licence (mandatory) and be willing to travel
— be motivated and reliable

Please submit your application, including a cover letter and resumé, by 5pm, Friday 1 February 2019. To speak with someone about this exciting opportunity, please contact:

Alicia Leggett
Executive Director
0429 945 811
rado@oranaarts.com

Please note: you must be an Australian or New Zealand citizen or a permanent resident to apply for this position. This role as been funded by Create NSW from the Creative Koori initiative and is a six month contract position.

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Create NSW Creating New Income: a Toolkit to Support Creative Practice

At the recent Artstate NSW conference in Bathurst, Minister for the Arts, the Hon. Don Harwin MLC announced the creation of a Toolkit to support creative practice. Here you’ll find guides and resources to help generate revenue for your creative practice. The Toolkit is tailored to creative practitioners and small to medium organisations.

Create NSW has taken a “how to” approach to each topic, showing the steps needed to grow and develop income streams from sources such as philanthropy, sponsorship, crowdfunding and new products.

Individual guides contain links to related information throughout the Toolkit and case studies of success from around NSW. Alongside each of the guides you’ll find links to further resources sourced from around the web to help kick-start your fundraising efforts.

Throughout the Toolkit you will find guides on a range of topics to inform and assist your revenue raising practices. These short clear guides can be dipped into as needed. The Toolkit is not designed to be read cover-to-cover.

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Download the full Toolkit or dip into the individual guides that relate to your area of interest.

Full Creating New Income Toolkit

Being Fit For Fundraising Toolkit

Building Your Donor Base Toolkit

Telling Your Story Toolkit

Trusts and Foundations Toolkit

Major Gifts Toolkit

Crowdfunding and Collective Giving Toolkit

Business Sponsorship Toolkit

New Products and Services Toolkit

Case Studies

If you would like to discuss elements of your professional development or formulate plans at a local level please get in touch with us: communications@oranaarts.com

Hanging out with OA for six years: farewell to Paris Norton

Art Unlimited 2012: a young aspiring photographer takes the Orana Arts prize for Emerging Indigenous Artist. The winning photograph ‘Uncle Bud’ played with layering techniques aiming for texture, while capturing an image of cultural strength and pride. It was evident that the artist had self-imposed a challenge with the medium as well as the subject and it inspired me to award this work the prize. The artwork was progressive and refreshing and very much a representation of the young artist — and it was this energy that was eventually brought to Orana Arts when Paris Norton joined the team.

Young Paris Norton.jpg

After my brief encounter with Paris at the exhibition in Dunedoo, I tracked her down in her boutique store in Coonabarabran to encourage her to participate in our Left Field Project. Her involvement with OA went from artist to part-time admin support as an unofficial member of the team. As months passed and funding became available, a few days grew into a few years and a full time position resulting into Paris becoming our ATSIA Programs Manager. 

Her humility has always struck me as her strength; her ability to inspire those around her either with her creative vision or leading conversations by pushing for Aboriginal voices to be heard. Her brainchild, the CETA program, is evidence of her abilities. 

Paris may say that I was a major part of her growth in the arts world, but she has given me more than she could ever imagine. Her insight and respect for her culture provided me with what I needed most in my role: someone that I can talk to, someone who helped guide me and our organisation in moving forward with Aboriginal programs and artists. Someone described Paris to me as being gentle, with an ability to be persuasive in her commentary on Indigenous issues. She stands very tall and proud as a Gamilaroi woman and I’m confident that her voice is one that will be heard by many future generations. 

Warm and fuzzy feelings are scarce in my role as Executive Director, but I received one from Paris when she jokingly mentioned that her family referred to me as her ‘American Mom’ and then at a panel session that Paris was convening for OA, as I sat in the audience her Mum turned to me and said, ‘oh, Alicia our little girl is all grown up’. Yes, she is all grown up and I will miss her! 

The greatest compliment I could have received as the boss of OA was to have staff headhunted out of my team for greater opportunities within a major cultural institute, and on behalf of our Board and the OA team we wish Paris well in her new role as AIATSIS curator,  we can’t wait to see what she brings to the position. 

 

Alicia Rodriguez Leggett
Executive Director 

 

PS – Paris will still be overseeing many of her own programs and supporting her mentee Danielle Andrews as she joins the OA Board as a co-opted member in 2019. 

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Kelly Leonard and Art of the Threatened Species

Kelly Leonard is a Mudgee-based weaver and is one of the participating artists in the Art of the Threatened Species project, a partnership between Orana Arts and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.

Tell us a bit about yourself, please.

I am a regional female artist and a product of my environment. Growing up in Mudgee during the 1970s I was reading feminist theory and listening to Patti Smith on vinyl. In the late 1970s — courtesy of Gough Whitlam’s free education policy — I left home to attend an art college at what was to become Charles Stuart University in Wagga Wagga. Here I met my weaving teacher, Marcella Hempel, a German Master Weaver who had studied under Margaret Leischner, a former teacher in the Textiles Workshop at the Bauhaus Design School in Germany. Marcella instilled in me a philosophy of weaving and a discipline of working.

In my mid-thirties I went back to study a Masters in Visual Art at the Canberra School of Art ANU as it was one of the few places that still had European floor looms and where I could combine weaving with theory. It is still important to me that I am able to frame my work with theory — it helps to place the work in a context.

In my mid-forties I went back to university again to study a Masters of Arts Management at the University of Technology, Sydney. I was the only student there who came from a craft background, most of the others were from music or theatre. The degree was useful when working in the community development sector.

I have travelled and contributed to community development craft projects overseas both as a volunteer and in employment with small non-government organisations. My interest is in working out strategies for communities where I am not needed, where the people can run their own projects. Other areas of interest have been in cooking and operating restaurants and broader community development. 

How do you describe your style of art?

My art in the past two years has moved from a traditional craft based medium to one that is highly conceptual, collaborative and moves across artforms responding to the environment. My work is very much informed by environmental philosophy which provides a context for both making and showing the work.

At the moment I weave what I call props for the environment which are placed in site-specific locations around my hometown of Mudgee, photographed and then removed. The locations are chosen because they are under stress from the impact of the open-cut coal mines operated by big coal mining companies. The images are exhibited online and one of my goals is to develop some alternative broadcasting methods to reach a wider audience in the near future.

I am not that interested in making objects for traditional galleries anymore, although this may change. The work I make is pretty much process-driven and I derive a lot of satisfaction from thinking of the environment as a collaborator and audience.

Actually, there are a number of regional artists who work in a similar way, making work to be placed in the environment and I see these numbers growing as the impacts of climate change increase. 

You are clearly inspired by nature and place — can you tell us how the landscape influences your work?

A deep empathy for landscapes at risk from the impact of coal-mining and global warming informs my work. My work often uses stitched text to deliver messages about the importance of caring about the local environment. I photograph the work in the landscape to explore the relationship between land and weaving.

Some locations informing the work are the Munghorn Gap Nature Reserve, Wollar, The Drip, Bylong Valley and Ferntree Gully.

I make work in Wiradjuri Country; I walk on traditional land. I hope the way I work is respectful. I try to be. I try to consider all aspects of a landscape by: how it smells, tastes, feels, sounds, how the light is filtered through the trees. The landscape is geological, cultural, historical and it is also a feeling. The landscape is not passive, it is full of things that watch me work and it is also a collaborator, helping me to shape the work.

And as your Art of the Threatened Species focus, what draws you to the Regent Honeyeater? 

In some way, it didn’t matter which species I was paired with to develop artwork about as they all face similar threats from the impact of climate change, habitat loss, and things like the introduction of predators.

I have been looking for the Regent Honeyeater since moving back to Mudgee, my hometown, in 2016. The Regent Honeyeater was known historically to visit a remnant of woodland called the Munghorn Gap Nature Reserve, near Wollar, not far from Mudgee and an image of it sits on signage in the reserve. The area backs onto one of the open-cut coal mines, Wilpinjong. It is a place where my Grandfather used to live. I have spent a lot of time in the Munghorn, listening and looking, simply being there. My artwork over this time has become embedded into the environment, weaving material and ideas together.

My interest is probably not so much about the physical and behavioural characteristics of the bird, but about the variables, the entanglements within a real and political environment. At the moment, I am in a state of suspension not knowing if the Regent Honeyeater will return to the Capertee Valley (one of the last breeding habitats) this year because of the drought.

Recently, six birds were sighted in the Hunter’s Botanical Gardens near Newcastle, and one bird in Brisbane. Speculation is that the drought is forcing the birds out of the woodlands to the coast for food. Maybe I will never see the Regent Honeyeater in the wild. There is a breeding program for the bird at Taronga Park Zoo in Sydney.

My hopes for the future of the project is that it generates empathy not only for the species that are threatened, but for all species. We don’t know what the impact of the loss of the Regent Honeyeater will be. It may be that species of trees disappear as the Regent Honeyeater is an important nomadic pollinator. I hope by creating visibility, the project highlights just how fragile the ecological net is.

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You are very busy at the moment, with lots of travel and residencies. Can you tell us a bit about your current creative projects? 

I have just returned from the Arts Territory Exchange Residency in Italy. ATE is a global network of artists responding to their local territories, beginning with a simple correspondence program with another paired artist. My collaborator in the project is Norwegian artist, Beatrice Lopez and we have been developing work for a year via digital and postal means before meeting physically in the residency. It was great to meet Beatrice and work on some ideas we had about performances designed for two people in the Italian landscape.

I have been selected for Cementa Contemporary Arts Festival to be held in Kandos in November 2019, along with collaborators Jo Roberts and Jason Richardson from Griffith. We are developing a project called ‘Medium - A Collaborative Space’.The idea is to develop a space to make, listen and re-imagine connections with others. We will meet up in Kandos in January to stitch ideas together for the Festival later in the year.

I am also making work for the Art of the Threatened Species residency, curated by Dr Greg Pritchard. Twelve artists have been selected to make work about ten threatened species. It is a collaboration between the Office of Environment & Heritage, Create NSW and Orana Arts as part of the NSW Government’s Saving Our Species program. The work will form part of a group exhibition to be shown in 2019 at the Western Plains Cultural Centre, Dubbo. Other contributing artists are: Nicola Mason, Cathy Franzi, Amanda Stuart, Anna Glynn, Bec Selleck, Bridget Nicholson, Vicki Luke, Tullulah Cunningham, Alison Clouston, Peter Boyd, Peter Dalmazzo.

I have just started developing more work in an on-going collaboration with artist and writer Julie Briggs, who is located in Narrandera. We will be making work about the landscape in response to experiencing a performance held at Artlands Bendigo recently.

 You have attended Artlands and Artstate conferences, both in 2018 and in past years — what benefit are these events to a regional artist wanting to engage with the sector? 

I can’t stress enough the benefits of the regional conferences to artists. As a regional artist you need to go and find the people who will feed and support your practice and to whom you don’t have to continuously explain yourself. This is especially the case if you are working in a contemporary and conceptual way. The conferences provide a context for making work regionally and also provide connections regionally and internationally.

Artlands Dubbo 2016 activated my art practice in a whole different direction. I heard theatre director, Wesley Enoch speak about making five new connections with people when you walk out the door, which I literally did. One of those connections was with Dr Greg Pritchard, who has acted as an informal mentor for me ever since.

I have just returned from Artlands Bendigo 2018, where I am still processing a range of inputs. One of the key messages for me was thinking about ways small communities can themselves become cultural producers for a range of reasons — creative and social reasons — not just economic.

The conferences also have attached exhibitions and festival programs which are a great way to see what everyone is producing, to see the context in which you make work. I recommend any artist to check out various options to get themselves to a conference via grants, presenting, volunteering or gatecrashing!

Find more of Kelly’s process, artwork and travels via @kellyleonardweaving on Instagram. Read more about Art of the Threatened Species on our project page.

Special Performance Event: Good with Maps

GOOD WITH MAPS
By Noëlle Janaczewska 

Friday 2 November, 11am and 7pm
Wellington Civic Centre
Tickets $20 at the door

A Siren Theatre Co and Critical Stages Production

Good with Maps is a rich imaginative story and a sad and funny celebration of the cartographic imagination and the power of reading.

When the world map was full of gaps, the Amazon topped the list of places unknown to western explorers. In 2018 are there any ‘unknowns’ left? On a trip to the Amazon, the writer ponders this and other questions as she struggles to deal with her father’s journey through Parkinson’s disease towards what is perhaps our last great unknown.

Sometimes sad and confronting, Good With Maps is also funny and thoughtful, and celebrates the power of reading and literature to transport us to places both real and imagined.

Noëlle’s unfailing ability to ignite universal emotions and laughter in all of us while gloriously revealing her own exquisite uniqueness is one of this piece’s great joys.

Performed by Jane Phegan
Director Kate Gaul
Designer Alice Morgan
Composer and Sound Design Nate Edmondson
Lighting Designer Louise Mason

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Every element in this production is in step and working together to create this fascinating and ultimately heartbreaking piece of theatre.
— DAILY REVIEW

Art of the Threatened Species: call for materials

Art of the Threatened Species artist Kelly Leonard is calling for environmental/political t-shirts to be donated for artwork being developed about the endangered Regent Honeyeater bird. We are sure that a quick look in your local opportunity shop would be much appreciated; here is Kelly’s request:

Dear artists/activists,

Please consider sending me your worn yellow, black or white slogan t-shirts to be recycled into artwork. In return, you will receive unique art postcard updates from me and satisfaction from participating in artwork about this elusive, nomadic and critically endangered bird.

The project, curated by Dr Greg Pritchard, is part of a group exhibition about highlighting our endangered species. It is a collaboration between the Office of Environment & Heritage, Create NSW and Orana Arts as part of the NSW government’s Saving Our Species program. The exhibition will be shown in 2019 at the Western Plains Cultural Centre, Dubbo. Other contributing artists are: Nicola Mason, Cathy Franzi, Amanda Stuart, Anna Glynn, Bec Selleck, Bridget Nicholson, Vicki Luke, Tullulah Cunningham, Alison Clouston, Peter Boyd, Peter Dalmazzo.

Please email me for postage or drop-off details: kellyleonard@me.com

In gratitude,

Kelly Leonard

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Pictured: a t-shirt delivery for Kelly Leonard, courtesy of fellow Art of the Threatened Species artist Alison Clouston.


Artist Profile: Barbara Scott on her photographic exhibition Country

We recently chatted with Gilgandra photographer Barbara Scott about her creative practice, inspirations and her new exhibition Country, now on display at the Gilgandra Art Gallery.

How did you first get into photography and what draws you to the medium? 

What draws me to photography is being able to be creative to produce something I enjoy. I first became interested in photography when I was given an instamatic camera by my parents when I was about 12. I knew I enjoyed taking photos and over the years discovered I wasn’t too bad. In 2010 I had burnout and it was recommended to me to do something on a regular basis that nurtured my soul. I did some courses in photography and was selected to exhibit in the student exhibition at The Australian Centre for Photography. 

 Photographer Barbara Scott

Photographer Barbara Scott

Which photographers influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking and photography?

Ken Duncan has been a big influencer as I’ve met him personally and have heard the stories behind some of his photos. He is very patient — more patient than I am — knows what he wants to capture and will wait for the right moment. Ken says that the hardest thing about photography is ‘getting out of bed,’ i.e. getting up in the morning to photograph, or just pushing yourself to go for that drive. This comment has influenced me greatly and has encouraged me to ‘just do it.’

My dad enjoyed photography and he encouraged me to make it my hobby. Tony Hewitt is another photographer who inspires me. He encourages photographers to find their own style and to be themselves, creating their own unique images. I love his work and enjoy his uniqueness.

Exactly what it is you want to say with your photographs, and how do you actually get your photographs to do that?

For me, if the photograph makes my heart sing, that’s enough. If it makes someone else’s heart sing, that’s an added blessing.  

Sometimes photographs have a story; other times I just enjoy the overall composition. Most photos that have a story will talk about issues of life. For example: I photographed an old rusted ute at sunset. I called this image ‘Retired.’ The story for me is about looking after your body while you are young so you can enjoy your retirement. Some photographs just ‘happen’ and others have to be carefully constructed.

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What do you find inspiring about the Gilgandra region — what motivates you to capture the country in this way?

I enjoy seeing life on farms: the cattle and sheep, the woodsheds, the crops and the people. The river and creeks, even when they are not flowing, provide inspiration. Forests and windmills, the bush and old dead trees also provide inspiration. The light and the clouds motivate me to take a drive and see what I can find. Having someone to ‘shoot’ with also provides motivation. I have a good friend I go out with often. 

What does this collection of images — Country — mean to you? 

They are a collection of my photography over the past three years. This is my artist statement:

Over the past few years I have been taking photographs around Gilgandra. My hope is that most of these photos will connect you to something you’ve seen or experienced in our local area. (A couple of favourite shots from Kakadu National Park are in the mix!)

Having grown up in Gilgandra and returned now forty years later, I am seeing the beauty of Gilgandra through fresh eyes. In 2016, the Castlereagh River at sunrise after rain, this year the land in drought, a closer look at sheep and cattle, and the pine trees that blow in Spring. 

After reading some articles on photographing concrete, I visited the silos on Warren Road and some walls in our main street. This led me to discovering other abstract options around town. 

Beautiful clouds can come up over our town and I’ve endeavoured to show you some variations of these. However, not all clouds bring rain!

Photography is my hobby and the way I have been nurturing myself after experiencing burnout. I enjoy creating images that make my heart sing. I hope they make your heart sing too!

The Country Photographic Exhibition by Barbara Scott is on at the Gilgandra Art Gallery at the Coo-ee Heritage and Visitor Information Centre, 9am–5pm from 12 September to 28 October.

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