To say it’s been a challenging road over these past years is an understatement – but we’re demonstrating that bold ideas and determination pay off. Just keep swimming!
Following a long renovation, a short two-week period of reopening at Bulmba-ja in March, a national shutdown for coronavirus, a pivot to online films and shows, and installation of five new exhibitions (phew!), we’re back!
While the new COVID-19 environment has created challenges across all aspects of life and industry and everyone is reminded to take care while approaching one day at a time; our artists demonstrate the power and longevity of creativity.
…and our audiences have reminded us how the experience of viewing art can act as a needed pause, an interlude and reflection upon the madness, beauty and complexity of life – so thank you to every person who has connected online or attended the galleries and bought from the NorthSite Store since we reopened on 13 July. It’s great to see smiling faces and be operating again, with processes in place to protect our patrons and each other.
For now, there’s no big parties on the horizon, but more intimate openings and conversations – capped numbers are key. As such, we’ll be holding a member’s tour of the galleries on evening of 26 August, for the first 30 members to RSVP. Again – huge thanks is extended to our valued members who’ve supported us throughout 2018/19, this revisioning period and the transition back home.
2021 is looking up for our organisation and contemporary artists of the north, with confirmation of new support from Arts Queensland, Australia Council for the Arts and national philanthropic bodies including John T Reid Charitable Trusts and Ian Potter Foundation. We gratefully accept and acknowledge this vital support for our programs.
We also thank arts publications Vault, Art Guide Australia, Art Monthly Australasia and also Vogue Living for their recent coverage of NorthSite. We recognise Museums & Galleries Queensland, PGAQ, Aus Co, IACA & NAVA for their tireless advocacy for artists and the arts sector through a difficult time. For artists still struggling to make sense of it all, each of these organisations have stacks of handy resources available to you online – and make sure you’ve checked out Arts Queensland’s Recovery Funding packages, closing soon.
It was great to recently virtually catch up with IACA members and provide a tour of the new shop and galleries as part of their online training series. Make sure you check out IACA’s Indigenous Art Centre Guide to FNQ featuring all current Indigenous Arts Centres we continue stock in the NorthSite Store – with links to many of their new websites where you can increasingly buy ethical art directly from the Art Centre online.
We hope you enjoy our current exhibitions and we remind you to browse the custom elements and new ways of sharing contemporary work that we’ve built into online portals northsite.org.au and shop.northsite.org.au this year.
… All for your art-viewing pleasure, wherever you may be!!
Below are links to current exhibitions and ways to connect. I suggest ordering a copy of the spectacular bilingual catalogue published to accompany the exhibition Billy Missi’n Wakain Thamai, listening to the voice of previous artist-in-residence Peter B Morrison narrating the drawings in his first solo exhibition here, or browsing the exceptional first show of stunning weavings and feather flowers by Wik woman Rhonda Woolla, (with artworks are available to purchase in the NorthSite online store).
Through these portals, it’s now easier than ever to hear directly from the artists as they share their voice through art. Browse, listen and leave your comments on our digital comments books, even if you can’t make it to the gallery in Cairns at this time.
Today, we launch the first responses to provocation postcard 1 in the weekly virtual series
M E R I – kirapim skin blo yu, created by playwright and contemporary artist Wendy Mocke, and young PNG women. This virtual series will proceed her postponed ‘m e r i’ project at NorthSite later next year. Watch on our NorthSite IGTV Channel or through Melanin Haus on instagram.
(When you have a moment, Check out Miranda Tapsell perform Mocke’s ‘Tiger Scare’, recently produced for Sydney Theatre Company, where Mocke is part of the Emerging Writers Group!)
Tomorrow is the first day for Disquiet: Ecological Anxieties and Transformations by local artists Robyn Glade-Wright and Barbara Dover. There’s a great review of this touring exhibition, written by artist (and NorthSite Board member) Andrea Huelin, titled ‘Anxiety & Allure’ on the Art Monthly blog.
Again, we congratulate teacher & artist Jane Heraghty for her fluid approach to her recent exhibition of paintings and small sculptures Outside and Inside the Universe: Still Lifes. All recent exhibitions are archived online with works still available to purchase through Shop.NorthSite.org.au
Also, later this month, keep your eyes peeled for online performances as part of CIAF’s 2020 program, with a live broadcast from Bulmba-ja as we open the long-awaited retrospective of Billy Missi’s significant artworks alongside the Billy Missi Estate, family, friends and Maluilgal Dance Group!
You may have heard, the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair and festival is taking on a new digital format this year, with a virtual art market and fashion showcase ‘Water is Sacred’, curated by Simone Arnol and Bernie Singleton Jnr, choreographed by Hans Ahwang and filmed on Country, and broadcast via CIAF Facebook 21 August. You can still see Bernie’s Dadigal Fishbone design digital animation commissioned for the Bulmba-ja facade as you drive by NorthSite.
As our CIAF shows go on, please share our exhibitions for this period with those you know may be interested to view from home, and you can tune in to the live broadcast of the Billy Missi opening, Saturday 15 Aug, 3 – 5pm!
I’d like to take the opportunity to shout out to the dedicated NorthSite Board and my extraordinary team Rebecca, Wilma and Rosie…for everything. I’m mighty proud of the way we’ve been able to push on and create some new opportunities for artists at this time. On that note, for the curious ones our 2019 Annual Report is accessible online and if you know a super curator, pass on the word that we’re recruiting!
Take care, keep those hands squeaky clean and we’ll see you, at the gallery or online soon!