2021 Archibald Prize to takeover Gippsland Art Gallery

We wish to acknowledge the Gunaikurnai people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

Join in the centenary celebrations of Australia’s favourite art award with a visit to Gippsland this October/November. Gippsland Art Gallery is rightfully excited and proud to be chosen as the sole Victorian venue to host the 2021 Archibald Prize on its regional tour.

The Art Gallery of NSW whittled down some 938 entries to just 52 for this year’s prize. Visitors can play spot the familiar face amongst subjects ranging from politicians to celebrities, sporting heroes and artists.

For his winning portrait, Peter Wegner chose fellow artist Guy Warren (also celebrating his 100th birthday) as his subject. Incidentally, Warren won the prestigious award himself in 1985.

Painting styles vary as widely as the subjects and no doubt much discussion will be had over the various merits of them all. One highly commended piece from Sydney artist Jude Rae – Inside Out – deals with themes many will be able to relate to from the past year.

As Rae herself states, ‘It seemed to me that the self-portrait is the most compelling expression of this inwardness, but also a reminder that, while we might feel singular, we are not separate. We think of ourselves alone at our peril.’

Overlooking waterways and parklands in the Port of Sale precinct, the gallery expects to welcome over 50,000 visitors during the exhibition’s 45 days and with free entry there’s no excuse not to bring the kids along for a bit of culture.


THE DETAILS

WHAT: Archibald Prize – Gippsland Art Gallery
WHERE: 70 Foster St, Sale
WHEN: Friday 8th October – Sunday 21st November 2021 – open 7 days
MORE INFO:  2021 Archibald Prize


Image Credits:

Archibald Prize 2021 finalist
Peter Wegner
Portrait of Guy Warren at 100
oil on canvas, 120.5 x 151.5 cm
© the artist
Photo: AGNSW, Jenni Carter
Sitter: Guy Warren
Archibald Prize 2021 finalist
Natasha Bieniek
Rachel Griffiths
oil on wood, 13.5 x 18.5 cm
© the artist
Photo: AGNSW, Mim Stirling
Sitter: Rachel Griffiths
Archibald Prize 2021 finalist
Kirthana Selvaraj
The green suit, a self-portrait
oil on canvas, 150.2 x 90.1 cm
© the artist
Photo: AGNSW, Mim Stirling
Sitter: Kirthana Selvaraj

Art that unites, inspires and enhances understanding

Word by Della Vreeland
Images Supplied

Achieving understanding and respect between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples. Uniting and inspiring.

This is what Cassie Leatham sets out to do through her work.

“My art has many stories,” the proud Taungurung woman says.

“I try to inspire the youth and try to unite the community and bring non-indigenous people on the journey as well as breaking down barriers and bringing cultural education.”

“My art for me is not art. It’s my life journey and my ancestors’ ways.”

Growing up, Cassie was always connected to nature and its natural resources. The desire to create was instilled within her.

“When I was 15 I knew I wanted to be an artist but had other interests as well,” she recalls.

“I entered my first art competition and won and then I donated the prize money to a charity and decided I would continue creating and exhibiting my works.”

Over the last three decades, Cassie’s work has been acquired by the National Gallery of Victoria, Koorie Heritage Trust Collection, Melbourne Magistrates Court of Victoria and is exhibited nationally and internationally.

Working across a range of mediums, she likens her process to the methods of her ancestors before her.

“We create with all varieties of materials so that’s why I am who I am today. I don’t like to focus on one as why should I?” she exclaims.

It’s all about connection to the past and keeping traditional techniques alive for my people and the future generations.

As well as being an artist and master weaver, much of Cassie’s work is based around cultural education, healing, storytelling, dance and song.

She regularly hosts workshops in bush tukka, traditional weaving, bush craft, murals, ochre painting, bark paintings and a whole lot more.

Over the next year, Cassie says she hopes to continue educating, creating and sharing her wonders with whoever wants to learn.

“I don’t ever set goals for myself, as I feel spirit will guide me to do what I am meant to do,” she says.

“My journey is mine alone. I share my personal journey and my ways of collecting and making in my educational workshops and education. To pass on skills to future generations is important to me. It’s what I focus on the most.

“Healing for me is to pick up rubbish along sides of the roads and to clear sites of unwanted disposed items and care for my country and environment. It’s also ceremony and song and dance as well in my own personal space. Storytelling is empowering to share the stories of the old people.”

This year’s National Reconciliation Week (NRW) theme is ‘More Than a Word: Reconciliation Takes Action’.

The theme urges the reconciliation movement towards braver and more impactful action, remembering the importance of privileging and amplifying First Nations’ voices.

For Cassie, NRW will include the facilitation of education workshops in order for young people to further understand her community’s cultural practices.

“There is recognised aboriginal art and more and more opportunities are arising for aboriginal artists to share and create and exhibit works,” she says.

She hopes Australians everywhere will take this week to reflect, celebrate each other’s cultures, and be proud of who they are.

“I have seen so much unfold in my time from when I’ve been an emerging artist to now being an established artist and hoping aboriginal art keeps going strong.”

For 35 years, Cassie has developed her career and been presented with multiple career opportunities.

But her art has always been integral to who she is.

“I think, honestly, I was born to carry and continue my ancestors’ work on my journey,” she says.

“I feel that support is needed in becoming more aware of the talent of aboriginal artists and the diversity of artists that are not only from up north but here in Victoria.

“It would be giving our people here more encouragement and strength to share their art.”

To find out more about Cassie’s work, visit wildblakarts.com.au


THE DETAILS:

WHAT: National Reconciliation Week
WHEN: May 27 to June 3
FIND OUT MORE: reconciliation.org.au/national-reconciliation-week

A rare Linda McCartney retrospective is coming to Ballarat

Images Supplied

Attention all photography lovers, Beatles tragics, and 60s rock die-hards: the incredible works of photographer Linda McCartney are coming to the Ballarat International Foto Biennale in 2021.

In an Australian first, the Ballarat Biennale will present Linda McCartney: Retrospective, a collection of extraordinary photographs by the famed photographer, curated by none other than by Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney. 

The collection will showcase over 200 images spanning across three iconic decades, giving an intimate look at McCartney’s career and life. There will be images of the McCartney family, the 1960s music scene and series of never before seen prints from McCartney’s trips to Australia between 1975 and 1993.

Linda McCartney, who sadly passed away in 1998, was renowned for her spontaneous and experimental approach to photography. She captured rock stars before they conquered the world – most notably Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones and, of course, The Beatles. Plus, she was the first woman to photograph for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine with her portrait of Eric Clapton in 1968.

In the photographs, visitors will see the world reflected and shaped by McCartney’s unique perspective and experience as musician, wife and mother alongside the biggest band in the world. From both the domestic setting to side-stage, every picture is equal parts moving and subtle.

The retrospective has taken three years to secure, making it a huge success for the Ballarat International Foto Biennale and for lovers of pop culture. Set the date, one of the biggest photographic arts festivals in the country is only a few months away. 

Fingers crossed Paul McCartney makes an appearance!


THE DETAILS:
WHAT: Linda McCartney: Retrospective at Ballarat International Foto Biennale
WHERE: 12 Lydiard St North, Ballarat 3350
WHEN: August 28 – October 24 2021
MORE INFO: Ballarat International Foto Biennale

Say hello to ‘Cultural Exchange’, Bendigo’s newest art and culture hub

When you think of artistic and cultural hubs, Bendigo may not initially spring to mind. But that’s all changing thanks to a new dedicated space for artists to develop, create and share their work – right in the centre of town.

Meet ‘Cultural Exchange’, Bendigo’s latest artistic zone for Indigenous and multicultural artists. Housed in the recently renovated and restored Beehive Building, the space is the first of its kind in the region. The modus operandi? An inclusive, vibrant home for culturally diverse artists to share both art and culture with the wider community.

Inside the historic building there are art studios, performance and rehearsal space, art workshops and classes – all open now and accessible to the public. And if you’re in the mood for a window shop (or a real shop), there is a gallery space and a gift store where you can purchase handmade treasures by local artists.

Unlike many gallery spaces, the Cultural Exchange will showcase a dynamic display of the latest works by the resident artists, with new pieces going on the walls as soon as they’re completed. That’s great news for locals and day trippers alike who’ll get the chance to spy new work every time they stop by.

The launch a momentous occasion for the community of Bendigo who have been longing for a cultural centre point for years now. And the crew at Multicultural Arts Victoria Bendigo are the ones to thank. Alongside the 20-30 artists who now practice at the space, they’ve made one of regional Vic’s freshest arts and culture hubs possible. We think that’s a little bit great.

THE DETAILS
WHAT: Cultural Exchange
WHERE: Beehive Building, 18-26 Pall Mall, Bendigo
WHEN: Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
MORE INFO: Multicultural Arts Victoria

BLINK lights up the night at Werribee Park

Images Supplied

BLINK, a new and unique exhibition, is set to light up the night at Werribee Park this December.

The exhibition will showcase portraits, taken as part of local photographer David Mullins’ Faces of Wyndham project, shown as giant light projections throughout that gardens. The faces will come to life as dramatic, illuminated portraits – each projected into the branches of the spectacular trees surrounding the mansion.

Over the nights of December 10-20, guests are invited to explore the gardens after dark to take in the illuminated works and soundscape.

While the projections will be shown from 9pm until midnight each night, the gardens will be open all evening, so you can arrive early and enjoy the surrounds before the trees light up.

Make it a full night out with either a sit-down dinner booking or a pre-booked picnic hamper from The Refectory Parlour or Joseph’s Restaurant at Lancemore Mansion Hotel – both found within the park grounds. A garden bar will also be open at The Refectory Parlour with a selection of alcoholic beverages, coffee, snacks and sweet treats to enjoy. On the weekends, dinner will also be available at Shadowfax Wines, just a short stroll from the park.

You’re also welcome to bring your own picnic and find a spot on the lawns if you’d prefer, and for those looking for early evening activities nearby, Werribee Open Range Zoo will be operating late sessions from 4pm-8pm on Friday, Saturday and Sundays during December.

The exhibition is only on for 11 nights, so be sure to reserve your free ticket – you wouldn’t want to blink and miss it.


THE DETAILS
WHAT: Blink
WHERE: Werribee Park, K Road, Werribee South
WHEN: 10 – 20 December 2020
MORE INFO: Blink


	

Why winter makes for the perfect time to explore Ballarat

Words by Della Vreeland 
Images supplied
#sponsored

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Well, it is for me anyway! As a Ballarat local, I find the winter season to be the perfect time to explore all that our city has to offer, especially after months of being stuck indoors due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

People often shudder at the thought of stepping outdoors during the wintertime. But over the last few years, Ballarat has really learned to embrace the chilly season and bring everyone else along for the ride. Basically, it’s as easy as rugging up in your puffer jackets, beanies and boots, and soaking the cold up in all its glory. 

Here are 5 reasons that I love winter in Ballarat.

Art Gallery of Ballarat

Following its closure due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Art Gallery of Ballarat is now ready to swing open its heritage doors just in time for the winter holiday season. The oldest and largest regional art gallery in Australia, this institution will warm the cockles of your heart immediately upon entry as you’re greeted by the unique staircase and collage of artworks. With two new exhibitions set to be showcased through the winter season, the gallery is a must-visit during your stay.

Sovereign Hill

You can’t head to Ballarat without venturing to Sovereign Hill. Even though the acclaimed Winter Wonderlights will not be making an appearance this year (for obvious reasons), it doesn’t mean the outdoor museum isn’t worth visiting. You’ll still be able to explore all the wonders of this award-winning attraction as you find yourself transported to the 19th century goldfields. Pan for gold, enjoy a warming drink and pastry at one of the bakeries, admire the beautiful buildings with their Victorian facades, warm up by the fire pits, and try your hand at candle-making. Performances in the Victorian Theatre will also be running (with social distancing in place). As long as you’re rugged up and sporting comfy shoes, you’ll be ready to while the day away in the days of yore.

Warming eats

One of my most favourite pastimes is eating, so I consider myself quite lucky to live in the culinary capital of western Victoria. Ballarat’s cafes and restaurants place a huge emphasis on sourcing local, so you can look forward to specially-curated winter menus showcasing only the best and finest in seasonal fare. My top eateries would have to be Moon and Mountain and Mr Jones, while The Forge, Mitchell Harris and Meigas are amongst some other local favourites.

Village exploration

Another favourite pastime for our family is loading up the car and taking a day trip to one of the city’s neighbouring villages. Ballarat acts as the perfect home base to explore the region’s many hamlets, each boasting its own rich history as well as more mighty fare! Buninyong, Creswick, Clunes, Talbot and Beaufort and just some of the places worth discovering during your Ballarat stay.

The streetscapes

There’s something mystical about the Ballarat streetscapes during the wintertime. The boulevards glisten in the rain’s afterglow, there is a magical and almost eerie contrast between the grey skies and majestic heritage buildings steeped in stories of the past, and the bare trees seem to release a desire within us to rug up and truly uncover the best of the season. Which is just as well, since there really is so much to be discovered.

For more ideas of things to see and do in Ballarat during winter, head to visitballarat.com.au

 

Go Direct – Grassroots Bushfire Relief Fundraisers

Words by Ruth Meighan 
Images supplied

I think it’s safe to say that all of us have been affected, either directly or indirectly, by the 2020 bushfires that are still burning. The silver lining in all this devastation is the incredible upswell of support from the Australian and international community.

It really does make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside to see so many people, from all walks of life, dig deep into their pockets in order to help out those who have lost so much – including such great losses to wildlife.

However, questions have been raised in the media about how much of these funds actually reaches the intended target. It’s a touchy subject and not our role to dig too deep there; instead, we thought we would put together a list of grassroots fundraising activities that aim to support the affected communities directly.

Please email hello@ohomedia.com.au if you know of any others.

High Country Comeback
#notevenanhourout

So much of the prolific tourism trade of January was lost when the evacuation notices were given to the North East of Victoria. Visitors to the region had to cancel their holidays and locals had little to no income. High Country Comeback is an event that brings the food, drinks and fun of the High-Country to your doorstep!

On Sunday, Feb 2nd 2020, you can see all that the North East has to offer, with no need to pack the car and get a dog sitter! Head to The Timber Yard, Port Melbourne – Door entry is a donation to the NE Vic local CFA brigades and wildlife rescue organisations. 

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/high-country-comeback-tickets-91107518039

Gather Festival
#fourhoursout

Showcasing more than just music, Gather Festival (Feb 08 2020), embraces the “sweet life” of the high country, with a family-friendly vibe. Take your mountain bike and enjoy the trails before putting on your dancing shoes and revelling with some delicious ales! You’ll be supporting local musicians, the hospitality industry and boutique crafters.

Hosted by the fire-affected community of Mt. Beauty, come and soak in the beautiful surroundings whilst grooving along to the likes of Dallas Frasca, Sarah McLeod, Richard Perso and many more. Bring the kids, a picnic rug and support this beautiful little town. All profits will go to local emergency services. 

https://www.gatherfestival.com.au/

Art Aid Gippsland
#threehoursout

For a bit of culture whilst on your #roadtripforgood visit the Gippsland Art Gallery in Sale and view the Art Aid Gippsland exhibition (15th Feb – 15th March 2020). Numerous artists have donated works – over 500 in fact! These works will be auctioned at the conclusion of the exhibition. 

Entry is free with the auction taking place at 4pm of March 15th 2020 at The Wedge Performing Arts Centre. All funds raised will go to  Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund (GERF), supporting those who lost their homes in the devastating bushfires.

http://www.gippslandartgallery.com/exhibitions/

King River Brewing
#threehoursout

The day before having to evacuate, the brewers at King River Brewing had already added #thankscfa to their barcodes! Now that they are back in the brewhouse and making the most of what’s left of the summer trade, they are allocating 50% of profits from sales of their Summer Ale to the CFA Relief Fund.

Before you head off on your road trip, check out #beerforbushfirerelief to see who else is doing an ongoing fundraiser.

http://kingriverbrewing.com.au/

Hitch to the Sticks – Bushfire Benefit
#threehoursout

Superjesus Official, Dallas Frasca, Barry Morgan’s World of Organs! Does it get any better? Yes, it does…this family-friendly fest is setting out to raise lots of coin for Victorian Bushfire Appeal and Blaze Aid. 100% of profits from merch and donations on the day plus profits from the event. 

But wait, it keeps getting better – kids under 13 are free! If you’re quick enough you can even book the bus and stay overnight in the Mohyu locale – the gateway to the King Valley. This will be a day of celebration, and you can bask in the knowledge that you will be directly helping communities in need.

https://ahitchtothesticks.com/hitch-series/

Brighter Days
#threeandahalfhoursout

Since its inception 7 years ago, the Brighter Days Festival has always had community & family support at its heart. A 3-day event combining music, bikes & cars into a family friendly atmosphere.

Initially set up to give support to The Cooper Trewin Memorial (SUDC) Research Fund, DEBRA Foundation and The EB Research Foundation. Every year the foundation looks to give additional funds to those in need and 2020 will see them contributing to the CFA Ovens Valley Group of Brigades – you can support the local bushfire relief effort by purchasing a festival ticket, raffle ticket or merchandise.

https://www.brighterdays.org.au/

Shop 2 Support
#everywhere

A Facebook-based platform for fire-affected businesses to make their presence known. If you’re planning a holiday check out the numerous posts – you’ll find everything from online products to amazing accommodation deals.

The beauty of this platform is you get to directly support the people who are doing it the hardest, which then feeds back into the local community. 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/S2SBFC/about/

It’s My Shout
#fourhoursout

At a time when East Gippsland should have been booming with tourists, the bushfires were tearing through the landscape. Leaving local business owners with not only the possible loss of their homes, but also their livelihoods. 

This is where #itsmyshout comes in. This online initiative creates a way to pay it forward to the many affected small businesses. Purchase a virtual item and know that your donation will go directly to the respective business. 

https://www.itsmyshout.com.au/

Spend With Them
#everywhere

It’s one thing to donate to a worthy cause, but many retail and produce companies are sitting on stock that they haven’t been able to move due to the bushfire emergency that hit Victoria in January. Inspired by #buyfromthebush a support network for drought-affected areas, “Spend With Them” gives fire-affected businesses the opportunity to showcase their wares to a larger audience. 

Highlighting brilliant regional products like, ‘Better than Sex’ brownies from @milchcafebar in Falls Creek Victoria and ‘Memphis Style BBQ sauce @alpinesauceco. These are both perfect examples of the entrepreneurialism required to keep small, family-owned cafes afloat. 

https://www.instagram.com/spendwiththem/

Go Fund Me
#everywhere

Even though GoFundMe take a percentage of donations, at the very least you are able to read the personal plights of the individual or organisation. Do a search with the keywords, “bushfire” “Victoria” “wildlife” and see how you can make a difference. 

https://au.gofundme.com/

Exclusive Exhibition – ‘Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion’

Words by Penny Cordner 
Images supplied

Regarded by many as ‘The Master’ of haute couture, Cristóbal Balenciaga was one of the most influential fashion designers of the 20th century. 

A must see for fashion-lovers and runway admirers, Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion is now on show at Bendigo Art Gallery (17 August – 10 November). This stunning exhibition celebrates Balenciaga’s innovative use of form and structure and provides a glimpse into the life of the trailblazing Spaniard. 

The exclusive exhibition, curated by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, showcases Balenciaga’s work throughout the 1950s and 1960s – regarded by many as the most creative period of his career.

Through a display of more than 100 garments and hats, defined by their sculptural quality, manipulation of textile and dramatic use of colour and texture – visitors will uncover the legacy of this renowned couturier. 

“The exhibition continues our niche of bringing major fashion shows to Bendigo and illustrates Balenciaga’s incredible innovation, his colossal influence and enduring legacy on fashion as we know it today,” says Director of Bendigo Art Gallery, Jessica Bridgfoot. 

As one of the oldest and largest regional galleries in the country,  Bendigo Art Gallery has established strong ties with international institutions in order to bring outstanding fashion and design exhibitions exclusively to Bendigo. 

“Balenciaga was absolutely a seminal figure in the fashion world and we feel that the exhibition is a must-see for anyone with an understanding or interest in fashion,” Jessica says.

Balenciaga was absolutely a seminal figure in the fashion world and we feel that the exhibition is a must-see for anyone with an understanding or interest in fashion.

Not only was Balenciaga revered for his pioneering use of fabrics, but his work went on to redefine the female silhouette in modern times. In the later stages of his career, Balenciaga introduced bubbled, caped and geometric silhouettes never before seen in women’s fashion, refusing to accept the hour-glass shapes of other designers of his time.  

Balenciaga’s radical ‘sack dress’ proved that freedom of movement and comfort were embraced by women, and he was responsible for revolutionary shapes such as the tunic, baby doll and shift dresses – all of which remain fashion staples today. 

The exhibit also provides a unique insight into Balenciaga’s creative process – with archive sketches, patterns, photographs, fabric samples and catwalk footage included alongside the garments. 

Thanks to a collaboration with X-ray artist, Nick Veasey and a digital pattern-making project with the London College of Fashion, visitors are able to uncover more of his creative process than ever before. This new, forensic investigation into the garments reveal the details that made Balenciaga’s work so extraordinary. 

Highlights of the exhibition include the Tulip Dress – with its gravity defying layers, and the Opera Coat, which frames the wearers face as if emerging from a flower.  

There are also ensembles made for American actress and singer, Ava Gardner and dresses and hats belonging to 1960s fashion icon, Gloria Guinness. Visitors will also find pieces worn by Mona von Bismarck – one of the world’s wealthiest women, who once ordered more than 150 Balenciaga garments in one season!

 Balenciaga’s own work is followed by that of some of his protégés and other notable designers who continue his legacy by drawing on his passion for innovation and modernism. Work from designers such as Issey Miyake, Iris van Herpen and Emanuel Ungaro are on show alongside pieces from the current designer of House of Balenciaga, Demna Gvasalia.

Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion is exclusively showing at Bendigo Art Gallery – just two hours north of Melbourne. There are a number of great places to refuel before or after the exhibit, including the eclectic Bendigo Wholefoods & Kitchen and the outstanding Masons of Bendigo


THE DETAILS

WHAT: Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion
WHERE: Bendigo Art Gallery, 42 View Street, Bendigo, Vic 3550
WHEN: 17 Aug 19 – 10 Nov 19
More information: https://www.bendigoregion.com.au/bendigo-art-gallery/exhibitions/balenciaga-shaping-fashion

Equus @ Moonambel Wines

With only Google as a guide, it feels like you’re heading into the middle of nowhere to get to Equus Wines. Then the really interesting profile of a modern piece of architecture appears atop a hill, and you find yourself thinking ‘Geez, I hope I’m going there – that looks amazing.’

Arriving at Equus is no let-down of the anticipation. The view is stunning. The modern cellar door overlooks the vineyard and the Pyrenees Ranges beyond.

Wines are typical of the region – intense cool-climate flavours and fine tannins, with winemaker Owen Latta being known for natural, minimal intervention winemaking. It’s worth trusting in Google to take you up the hill for this.

A real surprise though is the discovery of the wooden horse museum through the opposite door. It’s a lifetime’s collection of author and artist, Patricia Mullins. Curated and interpreted with the finesse of any of the great museums, and just a fascinating place to wander. The collection changes regularly to accommodate a particular theme, and is surely worth the trip on its own merits.

Montsalvat

A Bohemian icon for decades, Monstalvat sits in the bushland just outside of Eltham, about half an hour from Melbourne. It’s been an artist colony since it was founded by Justus Jörgensen in 1934 and is an eclectic collection of buildings rambling across an expansive garden property.

The large halls house galleries, which host exhibitions and functions with a bohemian edge. The smaller buildings house studios for resident artists – painters, jewellers, potters, textile designers, glass artists, sculptors and writers. Some of these artists have work for sale in the larger retail space, some offer classes where you can come to learn their techniques.

Montsalvat is rich in the art history of Australia and a wander through the sprawling gardens is the perfect way to slow down from whatever fast-paced life you’re taking a break from.  When you’re exploring the grounds and the great halls, and see the pool, the small artist studios and dwellings, it’s easy to imagine being part of the bohemian movement that was inspired by the vibrancy of the surrounds.

The cafe on site is a nice place to stop and recharge, but don’t let your exploration stop there. Take in the various exhibits and spend some time with like-minded people. Who knows, you might find inspiration from the surrounds like Justus Jörgensen.