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From the Gallery Director - Susi Muddiman

September 2017

Susi Muddiman and Helen ONeil
Susi Muddiman OAM Tweed Regional Gallery Director and Helen O'Neil British Council Country Director
Kim Godfrey
Don’t disturb me and my clutch of three 2017
Watercolour and mixed media on canvas and assemblage with found objects
Anne Zahalka
The Papapetrou Family 2017
dye sublimation on chromalux metal
Courtesy of ARC ONE Gallery, Melbourne
Judge’s High Commendation, 2017
Director’s Choice acquisition
Tweed Regional Gallery Collection
It’s been a very busy and exciting time at the Gallery lately – firstly with the launch of our first international touring show in David Hockney: Words & Pictures. The exhibition is being well received, and we were happy to celebrate the world renown artist’s 80th birthday on 9 July. The thrill of opening the Hockney exhibition was followed by the excitement of seeing the finalists in the Olive Cotton Award for photographic portraiture arrive at the Gallery. 2017 was a record year with 72 finalists selected from 492 entries. Guest judge Dr. Shaune Lakin, Senior Curator of Photography at the National Gallery of Australia, awarded the prize to Justine Varga’s Maternal Line. In the tradition of art prizes (notorious for controversy) this well-deserved win received a lot of media attention with debates over the definitions and parameters of portraiture and photography. It’s been a wonderful opportunity o reinvigorate our thinking on these concepts and processes. Once again, many thanks to the family of Olive Cotton for their continuing support of our flagship prize exhibition. It’s such an amazing way of continuing the legacy of Olive’s photography. Thanks also to the Friends of the Gallery for generously donating funds for the Director’s Choice Awards. They know how much I love shopping for art, and I’m really grateful! I have chosen Anne Zahalka’s The Papapetrou Family to join Justine Varga’s Maternal Line in our permanent collection.

It’s a first for the Gallery to have two exhibitions concurrently on display by the same artist. Joshua Yeldham’s exhibition Surrender has been so popular with our visitors, and it’s been a delight to hear their responses to his work in the Anthony Gallery. As Joshua was an artist in residence here too, it seemed more than fitting to schedule Surrender around the time of his outcome exhibition from his residency here. Endurance opens to the public on 4 August, and also forms part of our partnership with the Byron Writers Festival.

There’s such variety of exhibitions on show in the coming months. Caldera Art 2017, which opens on 22 September, is all about promoting biodiversity in our region, known as Australia’s Green Cauldron. Caldera Art 2017 presents the work of six artists who are passionate about the need to preserve the rich biodiversity and complex ecosystems of the Tweed shield volcano region. The varied interpretations of six artists of our region: Kim Godfrey, Janet Hauser, Heidi Ledwell, Greg Mulheran, Greg Newland and Jennifer Porter. All six seek to generate a positive emotional response to the fragility of the natural environment, and encourage the viewer to take an interest in living things found in the water, on the ground, in the canopy, the sky, and their own backyard. It’s wonderful that this exhibition has been developed as part of the biodiversity and conservation awareness strategy by the Tweed Shire Council’s Natural Resource Management Unit. I know they are proud to be associated with this important exhibition, and it also shows their dedication to their roles.

Each year I wonder what the theme might be for the Les Peterkin Portrait Prize, and then wait to see how the school children of the area respond to the theme. This year it’s about surprises. Titled Surprise! this exhibition marks the 21st year of one of the Gallery’s favourite programs. There’s no doubt life is full of surprises, and in 2017 local primary school students were asked to create a portrait that best portrays an unexpected moment in life. Given the challenge to capture the element of surprise through illustration, these young and talented artists have used a variety of media to produce inspired and expressive portraits. Ranging from the delightful paintings of kindergarten students, to detailed illustrations by children in upper primary classes, Surprise! will feature 40 framed prize-winning works on the wall and another 200 outstanding works in display folders. This show is always a winner, and I hope every entrant considers themselves a winner! It’s always a thrill to see so many young artists, accompanied by their (extremely) proud family members, visiting the Gallery to see their works on display.

This increasingly popular prize is named after artist and art teacher Mr Les Peterkin and is a celebration of the artistic talent of local primary school students. The Prize provides us all with a glimpse into how young people view themselves and others around them. It’s always a visual feast.

There’s such a great line up of exhibitions and programs in store for you all! I hope you will be able to enjoy many of them.

Don’t forget to keep an eye on our website for all details about upcoming public programs and events via the Exhibition News. There’s a plethora of information on our website, or you are more than welcome to contact us by email on or phone 02 6670 2790.

Until next time

Last Updated: 07 September 2017