Exhibition Season 2 Overview

NorthSite Contemporary Arts’ 2024 exhibition program celebrates the breadth and diversity of practice in Far North Queensland, in dialogue with artists who have strong connections to the region.

Our second season for 2024 will include:

Anastasia Klose – For thy sake I in love am grown – Drawings, video and performance responding to the Mossman-based artist’s involvement in the campaign to save the rapidly diminishing biodiversity of far north Queensland.

Annika Harding – Flux and Fog – Landscapes of the Atherton Tablelands – Paintings on reclaimed timbers exploring the landscapes around the artist’s Atherton Tablelands home.

Naomi Evans – I AM – Textiles by the Cairns-based emerging artist, serving as a powerful meditation on individual agency in reshaping our own narrative.

Alex Baird Murphy – Magic Compass – Paintings that draw on the artist’s Kuku Yalanji heritage, his interest in music, graffiti, and the urban environment.



ANASTASIA KLOSE For thy sake I in love am grown

ANNIKA HARDING Flux and Fog: Landscapes of the Atherton Tablelands





Exhibition Opening – Season 2

Artist Talks – Season 2

Workshop The Ancient art of Applique with Naomi Evans

Workshop — Painting an experience of place with Annika Harding

Upcoming Film and Workshop

It is the final month of our first exhibition season and to celebrate we have the feature documentary film screening ‘Geoff Dixon: Portraits of Us’ and a fantastic photobook workshop by exhibiting Artist Selina Kudo.

Delve into the story of Cairns-based Artist Geoff Dixon in the feature documentary film ‘Geoff Dixon: Portraits of Us’. Geoff’s vibrant paintings and sculptures transport us into another time and place whilst reflecting on the impact of human life and technology on the natural world. The film will take you on an adventure of Geoff’s life grounded in love and friendship.

Director of Photography, Russell Milledge, was instrumental in establishing the studio and location footage with Geoff Dixon, Arone Meeks and Euan Macleod over the two years of research and film production on this feature documentary.

Book your tickets today and be transported into the intimate portrait of the life, love, and friendships of Artist Geoff Dixon.

Time and Date: 1PM — 3PM, Saturday 16th March
Venue: NorthSite at Bulmba-ja, 96 Abbott Street, Cairns City
Tickets: https://northsite.org.au/event/geoff-dixon-portraits-of-us/

As part of Selina Kudo’s latest photography exhibition at NorthSite we invite you to experience her photobook workshop, ‘Moments in Monochrome’. In this two-part workshop, you’ll unlock the artistry within your everyday moments and be immersed in the world of storytelling through photography. Together, we’ll weave these unique narratives into a collective work—a mini photobook that combines the shared stories of our diverse perspectives.

Meet like-minded people and explore your creativity in this fantastic workshop.

Part 1: Saturday 16th March. 10am – 12pm
Part 2: Wednesday 27th March. 5.30pm – 7.30pm
Tickets: https://events.humanitix.com/moments-in-monochrome-crafting-stories-with-disposable-camera-diptychs-part-1

Film Screening Tickets | Geoff Dixon: Portraits of Us

Photobook Workshop Tickets | Moments in Monochrome

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A photograph of a man wearing a blue button up shirt and glasses. Behind him is a vibrant painting.

Geoff Dixon. Photo: Cristina Bevilacqua

A black and white photograph of 4 books stacked and a camera and Polaroid on-top of the books.

Image courtesy of Selina Kudo.

Mixed Grill event recap

Earlier this year, NorthSite hosted the one-night micro-festival event, Mixed Grill, produced by The 5Five collective.

Mixed Grill closed the collectives exhibition in Gallery 2, ’other’, and was a live performance-based extension of the thematic framework of this exhibition.

‘other’ curator and Mixed Grill creative producer Nicholas Mills, worked with the The 5Five collective and the NorthSite team, to produce a diverse ‘ensemble’ night of experimental performance, new music and sound art, queer cabaret and visual media, critical yarns and DJ culture.

The exhibiting ‘other artists’, Roderick Newbury, Tegan Koster, Doula, Fletcher Glover, and John De Satge, were joined on the night by performance artists Rebecca Youdell, Jay Wymarra, Paul Barron, Rob Eakin, Derryn Knuckey and File_Error, and Calling to Country by Djabugay cultural leader Dennis Hunter.

Mixed Grill is a moving feast: activated performance spaces were enabled throughout the venue at Bulmba-ja. Punters were initially greeted at the front door and encouraged to have their picture taken in the ‘other’ booth, thus becoming part of the work ‘other is you’. DJ Whichway met the audience in the foyer with a fine selection of groove, alongside the ‘other’ exhibition and delicious food by The Toasted Goat and drinks from the Hungry Pitcher.

Two people get their photo taken inside a booth with a neon light that reads 'other'

‘other’ booth, Mixed Grill, NorthSite Contemporary Arts, Cairns, 2024. Photo Gonza Ianza

A DJ setup

DJ Whichway, Mixed Grill, NorthSite Contemporary Arts, Cairns, 2024. Photo Gonza Ianza

The audience were then led into Gallery 1, and greeted with a bare, talk-panel format, Space.

Dennis Hunter Acknowledged Country before members of The 5Five collective engaged in the yarning panel, ‘In Other Words’, moderated by John De Satge, and exploring individual and universal perceptions, and experiences, of ‘other’.

A group of people sit under the projected text 'other'. A man stands holding a microphone addressing the audience.

Yarn Panel with Dennis Hunter, Mixed Grill, NorthSite Contemporary Arts, Cairns, 2024. Photo Gonza Ianza

Following the panel discussion, interdisciplinary practitioner Rebecca Youdell and media artist File_Error performed a delicate sound, screen and movement performance in response to the exhibition.

A woman walks with a branch.

Other Response with Rebecca Youdell+ File_Error, Mixed Grill, NorthSite Contemporary Arts, Cairns, 2024. Photo Gonza Ianza

The audience were then directed to move to Studio B, where Dennis Hunter then guided them through ‘Calling to Country’ and true history, before John De Stage’s game-show style ‘MAJORITIES live’, welcomed three attendees to test their knowledge against the expert ‘flag-guy’ in a showdown of interactive Flag Game performance.

Three attendees sit around a laptop discussing. A large projection of the screen full of flags is shows to the audience.

MAJORITIES live’ with John De Satge, Mixed Grill, NorthSite Contemporary Arts, Cairns, 2024. Photo Gonza Ianza

The Mixed Grill program juxtaposes work and space that compliment and contrast: the audience were then led to the rear carpark of Bulmba-ja, for the outdoor performance/ installation piece ‘Exercise In Futility’.

Produced by Nicholas Mills, and performed by the 5Five artists, with sound by Fletcher Glover and BLK+SBBTH, this ‘roving parade’ utilised discarded gym equipment and the rolling shell of an XP Ford Falcon, to illustrate a compelling visual and conceptual image.

A image shot in the night of a person pulling a white rope attached to a car with another person standing on-top of the car holding a traffic cone. There is a red light shining on the people.

Exercise in Futility with The 5Five, Mixed Grill, NorthSite Contemporary Arts, Cairns, 2024. Photo Gonza Ianza

It was then back into Studio B for a cabaret-styled double header: Jay Wymarra presented excerpts from his new show ‘AmaJayus’, which will premiere at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Tegan Koster then set the stage for a massive retro-synth exploration, presenting a quirky and upbeat live electro/screen showing of her new art-pop sound works, as part of her ongoing project ‘Shapes’.

A crowd of people watching the stage with a person greeting the crowd

AmaJayus – Jay Wymarra, Mixed Grill, NorthSite Contemporary Arts, Cairns, 2024. Photo Gonza Ianza

Tegan Koster plays on stage to a large audience

Shapes – Tegan Koster, Mixed Grill, NorthSite Contemporary Arts, Cairns, 2024. Photo Gonza Ianza

After a short break, the night moved into its final gear, with cult improvisation art/noise band ‘dero’, led by File_Error, and the funk/groove contrast of DJ Mr Tarago, cutting their own aural space, for a final sound and dance floor spin.

dero perform to an audience

Dero – dero, Mixed Grill, NorthSite Contemporary Arts, Cairns, 2024. Photo Gonza Ianza

DJ Mr Tarago playing

DJ Mr Tarago, Mixed Grill, NorthSite Contemporary Arts, Cairns, 2024. Photo Gonza Ianza

Words: Nicholas Mills




Exhibition Season 1 Overview

NorthSite Contemporary Arts’ 2024 exhibition program celebrates the breadth and diversity of practice in Far North Queensland, in dialogue with artists who have strong connections to the region.

Our first season for 2024 will include the inaugural presentation of ‘Ngurruwarra/Derndernyin (stone fish trap)’, a monumental canvas by established and emerging artists from Mirndiyan Gununa Aboriginal Corporation, Mornington Island Art, the outcome of a research project led by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH). Alongside this exhibition will be ‘Conversations with my barista (real or imagined)’, a new photographic and video installation by Cairns-based emerging artist Selina Kudo; and in Gallery Two, ‘Facing Time: 50 Years’ a collaborative exhibition of paintings and drawings by artists and long-term friends Euan Macleod and Cairns-based Geoff Dixon. In addition to our gallery exhibitions, we will present exciting new editions produced through our SpotFire First Nations artist print program, across the Foyer and Long wall spaces.



NGURRUWARRA/ DERNDERNYIN: Stone Fish Traps Of The Wellesley Islands

Conversations with my barista (Real or imagined)

Facing Time: 50 Years




Exhibition Opening – Season 1

Artist Talks – Season 1

Film Screening — Geoff Dixon: Portraits of Us

Workshop — Moments in Monochrome: Crafting Stories with Disposable Camera Diptychs

Artists’ selected for Cairns Festival ‘Reef Lights’

Part of Cairns Festival 2023, ‘Reef Lights – Where The Rainforest Meets The Reef‘ will illuminate the Cairns Esplanade from this Friday (25 August) until Sunday 3 September showing from 6.30pm – 10.00pm each night.

NorthSite was thrilled to assist in selecting Artists from Far North Queensland to be part of the outdoor light show for 2023. A special congratulations to all the incredible Artists’ involved: Leanne Hardy, Brian Robinson, Billy Missi, Robert Tommy Pau, Gertie Tomsana, Betty Sykes, Elverina Johnson, Joel Sam, Margaret Mara, Matilda Nona and Peter B Morrison.

Reef Lights – Where The Rainforest Meets The Reef‘ is an immersive outdoor light experience inspired by the unique tropical environment of Far North Queensland. Guests will experience a ‘watershow’ with lasers and lights at the Cairns Lagoon, a myriad of artworks projected along the footpaths and enchanting soundscapes.


Reef Lights is a project by Cairns Regional Council and Laservision. This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Festivals Australia program. This project was made possible by the Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund, which supports the arts in regional and remote Australia.

An artwork projected on the floor with a person standing in the background. Projected lights are blue and green.

Joel Sam’s artwork projection for Reef Lights. Image courtesy of Laservision.

The Ironing Maidens World Premiere in Cairns plus International Recognition at NIME

From December 2023 to January 2024, The Ironing Maidens (Melania Jack and Patty Preece) presented their sound, digital art and projection installation work – Pressing Topics at NorthSite Contemporary Arts. The debut of this work was well received at NorthSite and the workshop presentation explaining the work; Oscillations attracted a huge audience for a Saturday Morning of almost 70 participants. Ironing certainly still resonates with many people, but ironing sound is a unique experience in itself.

The audiovisual installation, Oscillations, turns irons and ironing boards into electronic instruments, in an attempt to deconstruct stereotypical ideas of gender and its assigned roles. The work aims to investigate the relationships we have with domestic objects and ponder their structures and significance through the design and performance of an interactive ecosystem. The project uses a sonic cyberfeminist lens to critically explore aesthetic and relational hierarchies at the intersection of sound, gender and technology.

Installation of 3 ironing boards with retro irons. In the background is a video projection. Hanging from the ceiling are industrial lights and cords referencing the factories.

Three irons and ironing boards have been hacked and retrofitted with embedded electronic instruments that together create a complex feedback network. While the audience is invited to physically interact with the irons instruments and manipulate samples, the sonic state of the installation also changes based on the audio information detected in the environment. Projections onto the surface of the ironing board expose the labor within.

“This opportunity to present the work in Cairns has been so important to the development of the work. Being able to see people interacting and responding to the instruments at NorthSite provided us with an insight into the experience of the audience, and gave us more ideas on how to refine the instruments to improve that audience experience. We are so thankful to NorthSite for this opportunity and support”
– Patty Preece.

A retro iron sitting on an timber ironing board with a video projection directly onto the cloth that is placed on top of the ironing board.

The work was then presented at the International Conference of NIME (new instruments for musical expression) in Mexico City in May 2023. Joining hundreds of experimental, digital instrument makers from around the world, Patty and Melania presented their paper – Oscillations: Composing a Performance Ecosystem through a Sonic Cyberfeminist Lens and installed this work in the foyer of the Center for Digital Culture, in La Condessa. The work was recognised through two awards, the paper receiving ‘The Pamela Z award for innovation’, and the installation receiving the ‘best installation award’.

Now the duo bring the ironing instruments back to Cairns in a hybrid band of irons and synthesisers, in the next phase of the project – Hot & Heavy – an immersive experience that is “part gallery, part performance and part banging dance party”. In a World Premiere at The Tanks Art Centre.

Hot & Heavy is an aural, visual and sensory experience that invites you to lose your friends, go deep and shake free. Explore this queer new world where domesticity has been made strange, appliances are defamiliarised, and the casual horrors of human production lines and capitalist consumption are vividly transformed. In a landscape of real world glitches, the lines between performer and audience blur and break, bodies move en masse and the unifying power of a dance floor infects the crowd. Hot & Heavy is the search for multiple new futures, yearning to find utopia within the banging beat of a broken down washing machine.

“In previous live shows we [The Ironing Maidens] have explored themes such as planned obsolescence and domestic labour, but in this new work we wanted the opportunity to really expand, to really push ourselves and the work. We wanted to investigate the kind of world we are living in now; within this capitalist system, and explore what kind of alternatives we could imagine for our collective futures, we wanted to explore what this could feel like, what it might sound like.”
– Melania Jack

“We have expanded the creative team and have been working with international choreographic director Leigh-Anne Vizer and a team of dancers to develop the worlds that the audience will explore. We are also working with the Cairns community, through a series of workshops in the lead up to the performance so that we can skill share in music and dance, and invite people to come and create with us and join us in the live performance”.
– Patty Preece

This event is an Auslan Interpreted Performance. There will be a meeting place on entry for Auslan interpretation during the first half of the show. The second half of the show the interpreter will be onstage. Please contact for more details

Show might include atmospheric haze and strobe effects.

Workshops in the lead up to the show are open to the public and start this week (Monday 31 July 2023). Meet the cast, learn some new skills, and join the community ensemble. There is a fundraiser running to make these workshops free and accessible to marginalised groups in the community. Head to The Australian Cultural Fund website and search for The Ironing Maidens – $15 can support a scholarship place in the workshop. Click here to support.

This new work has been developed in Cairns through commissions from the Local Giants Program; a partnership between Regional Arts Australia, PAC and Performing Lines, and the Tanks Arts Centre and Cairns Regional Council. Development funded by the Australia Council for the Arts. Community engagement funded by Cairns Regional Council through the RADF Major Round. The project is funded and managed by Shiny Shiny Productions, a feminist, queer led, regional production company.

SHOW DATES: Friday 25th August 8pm – Cairns Tanks Arts Centre
Sunday 27th August 1pm

Tickets Live Show – $27.50 & $32.50


Tickets Workshops – $15 & $30


Support – $15 can support a scholarship place in the workshop



Recap: Satellite events of Cairns Indigenous Art Fair

NorthSite’s First Nations Exhibition Showcase during the annual Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) 2023 was a huge success for Artists, Curators, Art enthusiasts and the greater community. NorthSite presented four satellite exhibitions and two events at Bulmba-ja Arts Centre, showcased the artwork of local artists Heather Koowootha at the CIAF Art Fair and presented art and design of First Nations Artists at the CIAF Art Market.

Ahead of the opening of CIAF 2023 NorthSite, in partnership with IACA, held the CIAF Artist Party; a celebration for all artists presenting work for CIAF 2023. This event welcomed over 160 guests to our home at Bulmba-ja Arts Centre and included a special cultural performance by the Moa Island dance group, Mualgal Po Gubaw Gizu Kabau Mabaigal. We were thrilled to welcome back Djabugay band The Pad Boys as they delivered a live music set, celebrating their 30th year of music.

At the Cairns Convention Centre, NorthSite presented the major series of watercolour paintings by local artist Heather Koowootha titled ‘The Bush People’s walking path ways of Country’s site and story places’ 2023. This work was commissioned by Carriageworks for The National 4: New Australian Art earlier in the year, curated by Freja Carmichael and supported by NorthSite.

NorthSite represented a multitude of First Nations artists at the CIAF Art Market Stall; presenting art, design, textiles, fine art prints, merchandise, jewellery and much more from the NorthSite Store.

On Saturday (15 July) at Bulmba-ja Arts Centre, visitors gathered in the NorthSite gallery for a unique opportunity to meet the artists and curators of the four exhibitions and listen to them speak about their exhibitions. First up was Solomon Booth (artist) and Aven Noah Jr (curator) speaking about the exhibition Malu Bardthar Dapar | Sea Land Sky, next was Kim Ah Sam (artist) with Hamish Sawyer (Acting Director, NorthSite) speaking about the exhibition Woven Identity “it’s not only me”, Keemon Williams (artist) with Hamish Sawyer (Acting Director, NorthSite) spoke about the exhibition KAIKAI, followed by Sheree Jacobs (artist), Nicole Enoch-Chatfield (artist) and Jamaylya Ballangarry-Kearins (curator) spoke about the exhibition, SOVEREIGNTY.

The four First Nations exhibitions at NorthSite Contemporary Arts will be showing until late August. For more information visit: Exhibitions On Now.

NorthSite Contemporary Arts

Free Entry. Bulmba-ja, 96 Abbott Street, Cairns City

Monday-Friday: 10AM-5PM | Saturday: 9AM-1PM


Visit Cairns Indigenous Art Fair
Australian Arts Review
Artist Profile
Tropical North Queensland

An audience looking and listening to a man standing at a microphone.

CIAF Artist Party, 2023, NorthSite Contemporary Arts, Cairns. Photo: Cristian Bevilacqua, The Photo Corner.

Moa Island dancers wearing dari headdress.

CIAF Artist Party, 2023, NorthSite Contemporary Arts, Cairns. Photo: Cristian Bevilacqua, The Photo Corner.

Moa Island dancers wearing dari headdress.

CIAF Artist Party, 2023, NorthSite Contemporary Arts, Cairns. Photo: Cristian Bevilacqua, The Photo Corner.

Two women hug in the gallery surrounded by woven sculptures hung from the double height ceiling.

CIAF Artist Party, 2023, NorthSite Contemporary Arts, Cairns. Photo: Cristian Bevilacqua, The Photo Corner.

Five people stand in the gallery in front of 3 brightly colour monoprints in timber frames. Everyone is looking at the camera and smiling.

CIAF Artist Party, 2023, NorthSite Contemporary Arts, Cairns. Photo: Cristian Bevilacqua, The Photo Corner.

Two women admire the artworks on the gallery wall. There are several others in the background.

CIAF Artist Party, 2023, NorthSite Contemporary Arts, Cairns. Photo: Cristian Bevilacqua, The Photo Corner.

A band performing on stage holding a guitar. There is a purple light behind them.

CIAF Artist Party, 2023, NorthSite Contemporary Arts, Cairns. Photo: Cristian Bevilacqua, The Photo Corner.

An art market stall containing clothing, prints and jewellery. Above the market stand is a sign that reads NorthSite Contemporary Arts.

NorthSite Market Stand at Cairns Convention Centre for CIAF 2023.

Ten works on paper are installed on two white walls.

NorthSite Art Market Stand at Cairns Convention Centre for CIAF 2023.

A Glimpse into the First Nations Exhibition Showcase

A Glimpse into the First Nations Exhibition Showcase

Northsite Contemporary Arts is excited to share the upcoming First Nations Exhibitions Showcase during the annual Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) 2023. Four exhibitions will be on display within the NorthSite galleries at Bulmba-ja Arts Centre accompanied by events and artist talks throughout the week of CIAF.

The exhibition ‘Malu Bardthar Dapar | Sea Land Sky’ by senior and emerging artists at Moa Arts Centre (Ngalmun Lagau Minaral) will showcase a range of printmaking and weaving artworks that investigate and reinterpret Melanesian mark marking, explore political and sociological storytelling related to Torres Strait culture, history and identity. “NorthSite continues to present culturally engaging and high quality First Nations showcasings. Malu Bardthar Dapar curated by Aven Noah Jr will be a popular CIAF Satellite exhibition choice”. said Francoise Lane (Artistic Director, CIAF).

Among ‘Malu Bardthar Dapar | Sea Land Sky’ are three exceptional exhibitions including ‘Woven Identity’ by Kim Ah Sam, ‘KAIKAI’ by Keemon Williams and the group exhibition ‘SOVEREIGNTY’ curated by Jamaylya Ballangarry-Kearins.

To celebrate these exhibitions and the artists presenting work for CIAF 2023, NorthSite in partnership with the Indigenous Art Centre Alliance (IACA) is hosting the ‘CIAF Artists’ Party’ on Tuesday, 11 July from 6PM. For tickets and more information visit: https://northsite.org.au/event/ciaf-artists-party/

‘NorthSite Open’ will take place on Saturday, 15 July from 2PM and guest will have the opportunity to engage directly with the artists from these exhibitions during the Artists Talks. For tickets and more information visit: https://northsite.org.au/event/northsite-open-ciaf-2023/

Illuminate FNQ Indigenous Science Festival

NorthSite recently partnered to support an Art Science Talk event for the inaugural illuminate FNQ Indigenous Science Festival.

The exhibition, Yuk Wuy Min Nguntamp, by Keith Wikmunea and Heather Koowootha produced by NorthSite in collaboration with Wik and Kugu Art Centre was included in the Friday activities of the Illuminate program. Heather Koowootha provided an extremely insightful explanation of her paintings of plants and natural resources that embody deep Wik cultural knowledge.

If you are interested in hearing more about this exciting new festival that drew scientists from across the world to Cairns and celebrated local ancient knowledge systems, check out the link to their wrap-up video, produced by artist and volunteer illuminate FNQ Board Director Dr. Jenny Fraser.

For more information about illuminate FNQ Indigenous Science Festival visit: https://illuminatefnq.org/home/

In other news, Dr Jenny Fraser has recently been awarded the prestigious 2022 Australia Council Award for Emerging and Experimental Arts! Congratulations Jenny!

Dr Jenny Fraser – Australia Council Award for Emerging & Experimental Arts

NorthSite x CIAF 2022 July Program

We’re pleased to announce the release of our CIAF x NorthSite 2022 Program. From Artist Talks to Exclusive Events here are all the dates to save in your calendar for next week. We’ve also extended opening hours in the Shop and Gallery (see bottom of page).

Location: NorthSite at Bulmba-ja, 96 Abbott Street, Cairns City 4870

Tuesday, 5 July | $15 Tickets
6 PM CIAF x NorthSite Exclusive Preview
Get Tickets

Wednesday, 6 July | Free event
1 PM Artist Talk: Keith Wikmunea & Heather Koowootha
2PM Artist Talk: Grace Lillian Lee & Dr. Ken Thaidau Snr
Come Along

Thursday, 7 July | Free event
1 PM Artist Talk: Repatriate
2 PM Artist Talk: Bana Yirriji Art Centre
Come Along

Friday, 8 July | Free event
1 PM Artist Talk: Teho Ropeyarn & Mr Graham Brady
Join the Talk

Saturday, 9 July| Free event
11 AM Designer Talk: IndigeDesignLabs
Join IndigeDesignLabs

Sunday, 10 July | Free event
1 PM Artist Talk: Grace Lillian Lee & Dr. Ken Thaidau Snr
Join the Talk

Extended Opening Hours

Monday, 4 July: 10 AM — 5 PM
Tuesday, 5 July: 10 AM — 9 PM
Wednesday, 6 July: 10 AM — 5 PM
Thursday, 7 July: 10 AM — 7:30 PM
Friday, 8 July: 10 AM — 7:30 PM
Saturday, 9 July: 10 AM — 7:30 PM
Sunday, 10 July: 11 AM — 2 PM

Take a look at all the exhibitions showing in the NorthSite Gallery at Bulmba-ja Arts Centre: See exhibitions