Jo will share insights at Griffith Gallery

Griffith Regional Art Gallery will host artist Jo Roberts during the Ngurambang exhibition, who will offer a school holiday activity during the opening weeks

Jo Roberts is an emerging artist based in Leeton and this exhibition will be the first time her art has appeared in the Gallery.

Her enthusiasm for the opportunity is clearly evident in the time and preparations she is planning as part of the Ngurambang exhibition.

"I've been working on a series of activities for all ages and it will be good to bring these to Griffith's gallery," said Ms Roberts.

On Wednesday mornings during the school holidays Jo will be sharing the Beak Technique activity developed by Red Earth Ecology.

This activity promotes an understanding of the relationships between habitat and bird diets by discussing different species and their beak shapes.

"We'll be looking at the local species to learn what plants will bring your favourite birds into your backyard."

The worksheets are accessible to all ages and were developed through consultation with the Murrumbidgee Field Naturalists and support from Western Riverina Arts.

"Kids are naturally curious about birds and our conversations will expand their knowledge about local species."

Ms Roberts will also be working in the Gallery on Wednesdays throughout the exhibition to provide insight into how her artwork facilitates an innovative investigation of history.

Her artwork "Geo/graphology" uses the cut-up technique to gain a new perspective on text records and the landscape.

"I'm using the Cut-up Technique, which was developed by Dadaists in the early 20th Century as a way of revealing themes and illustrating thought processes," said Ms Roberts.

"I am encouraging visitors at the exhibition to select text isolated from documents about the Riverina, then placing these snippets onto a map of the region to develop a new understanding of established narratives."

Ms Roberts is one of a diverse cohort of exhibiting artists working in various media to reflect relationships with the landscape.

The group have been sharing insights between emerging and established artists as part of an informal development project that included a workshop supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW and Western Riverina Arts.

The Ngurambang exhibition runs from Saturday 1 July until Sunday 20 August with Jo Roberts attending the Gallery on Wednesdays to share her art practice and knowledge of local ecology.

  • Explore Beak Technique from 11am to noon on Wednesday 5 and 12 July
  • Learn how the Cut-up Technique investigates history on Wednesdays from 5 July to 16 August


Can I waste your time? 

Come and see this exhibition!

I have a couple of contributions to share.

See the light in the land

The Ngurambang: Our Riverina exhibition aims to give viewers new perspectives on the landscape and to demonstrate some of the diversity of talent from creative practitioners working across the region

Griffith Regional Art Gallery worked with curator Jason Richardson to gather a group of artists from across the region for the current display.

"Viewers will find familiar scenes and they will also be challenged to recognise others.

"One of the greatest benefits in experiencing art is looking through another's eyes and this exhibition asked the artists to share their observations about an environment we all share.

The result offers insights into the diversity of creative practice across the Riverina while reflecting on individual interests in the landscape.

"The idea that art can help audiences build connections with the environment has been developing since I worked with Landcare and it's something I've explored through previous exhibitions, our not-for-profit Red Earth Ecology and also recorded interviews with artists and places," said Mr Richardson.

This diverse cohort produces artworks in differing styles and media to reflect their experiences, so the first step involved establishing common ground.

"We were supported by Western Riverina Arts to hold a workshop in Griffith late last year, where we compared perspectives and inspirations.

"The group comprises a dozen emerging, mid-career and experienced artists with various qualifications and we were able to share knowledge and build a vision for the exhibition."

For viewers the experience is rich with comparisons and contrasts from a variety of media that includes text, textiles, sound, painting, photography, found and manipulated objects.

"It was always going to be really exciting to see so many of my favourite artists in one place, so the workshop gave everyone a chance to meet and establish some rapport before they began jostling for space."

One of the first outcomes was that the working title of the exhibition was adjusted to reflect the traditional custodians of the land and waters.

"Pete Ingram's welded art practice is informed by Wiradjuri culture and it was his suggestion for Ngurambang to be part of the title, and we all agreed on the beauty of Wiradjuri Country and reflected on the impact of their management over many millennia.

"I recently learned the word "Ngura" means campfire and the addition of "bang" in Ngurambang intensifies that meaning to convey the notion of Country," explained Jason Richardson.

"Another of the artists is Associate Professor Christopher Orchard, who's investigations of the landscape have been a subject of postgraduate studies; and he shared that the intense campfire evoked in Ngurambang is not superficially a home/house or campfire, but home with all of its relationships.

"It's that idea of exploring the relationship to their landscape that's been driving me to seek collaborations with these artists.

"In sharing their Riverina-based practices they are bringing light from their studios that reveals new details in the landscape."

One of the first artists recruited was Christopher Haworth from Talimba, whose en plein air paintings soak up the dust as he records remnant bushland.

Leeton-based artist Jo Roberts brings a new perspective to local history with her use of a Dadaist technique that cuts and reassembles text.

Dr Greg Pritchard has been a prominent advocate for the arts in the region and he shares a project to record the length of the Murrumbidgee River, which has been developing and was part of an exhibition in Canberra last year.

"Marita Macklin's embroidery skills are blossoming and there will be much more to see from local names as well.

"I feel it is important to help connect people with the environment for the demonstrated benefits to mental health and to educate about the distinct beauty of our region," said Jason Richardson.

"We are all part of the Country and our livelihoods depend on recognising our role to preserve it for future generations."

Ngurambang: Our Riverina is supported by Griffith Regional Art Gallery, Red Earth Ecology, Western Riverina Arts and Create NSW through funding from the NSW Government.

Selfie season

The other week I had a feeling that I should take a photo of myself

It seemed a weird urge at the time, then I noticed a couple of selfies in my Facebook Memories.

When I mentioned this to my partner, she observed that this must be the time of the year that I feel unseen.

That interpretation didn't sit easily with me, but then I noticed increasing numbers of self-portraits in my Memories.

And then I began pondering the stuff my friends are posting.

What if this is the season for selfies?

As we spend more time indoors and have less time to be active in the sunshine, maybe it's a quick boost to mood and then an ongoing stream of likes from friends.

In other news, I have returned to Facebook to undertake social media duties for work.

It's still a battle with weird experiences like losing access to a page and finding all of the directions to restore it are out of date.

Yet there's still a massive audience to reach and increasingly I enjoy the opportunity to make seasonal observations about myself, as well as seeing the cute things my kids did in previous years.

Leeton Memories concludes

The final instalment in Red Earth Ecology's Leeton Memories project brings together two prominent local women

Cynthia Arel has interpreted the recollections of Julie Maytom in a window display that captures elements from her childhood in Stanbridge and Parkview, as well as her passion for Fivebough Wetlands.

"My interests now include designing for theatre so I'm treating the display as a small set," said Mrs Arel.

"A lot of what I've included are scenes from nature and the social aspects that unite people.

"I made notes and focused on her early childhood, particularly the red dirt and when she talked about Parkview, like climbing trees in the scrubby setting prior to the School being built."

Viewers will be able to listen to Julie's memories via audio-streaming linked in the QR code shown in the window of the Leeton Community Op Shop.

"I thought I'd be working on it earlier this year, but I'm glad this exhibition came after a history unit that I recently completed.

"Memory is not exactly how it happened, so I'm layering old and new. I find it interesting to think how memory works, the way things that mightn't have been a great experience become lessons of resilience over time.

"Originally my intention was to use chronological layers, but that's not how memory works. Every time you revisit that memory, it changes a bit."

The interview with Julie was conducted by Kathy Tenison of Storymaster Audio and collected details from throughout her life, including the Carlton Cafe that was next door to the current display and significant as the location where she met Paul Maytom.

The Leeton Memories project was developed by Red Earth Ecology as a way of bringing colour to windows on the main street and to prompt discussion of change.

"We're stoked that Cynthia joined in and are very grateful to the team at the Op Shop for the chance to use their location and its visibility within town," said Jason Richardson.

"This project has been a wonderful way to get to know people, as well as share some history of the region.

There's been a lot of support but I am particularly grateful for our host, the Leeton Community Op Shop, and great response from the community too."

One surprise was learning that the artist and subject already have a connection.

"Julie and I are actually related," revealed Mrs Arel. "Her dad and my grandmother were cousins and she went to school with my aunty, so the places she talks about are those I've heard about or visited.

The reframing of the familiar in new ways has always been central to the appeal of looking at art, which can also build empathy by letting viewers see through the eyes of another.

"It's an opportunity to think about things from a different angle and to view things from a perspective other than my own, " agreed Mrs Arel.

The project is also a platform to demonstrate a spectrum of creative activity in the Shire.

"It's important to present the variety of art as a way of showing what can be done, especially for younger people. People will say what they like or not, but it's helpful to broaden their view."

Leeton Memories is supported by Western Riverina Arts and Create NSW through funding from the NSW Government. 

Lend a hand

One of the fun things about working in a museum is exploring storage areas

It's even more fun when you don't turn the lights on!


Last year I joined a project writing about regional museums

I thought it'd be easy to put together 800 words about Pioneer Park, then worked through a few ideas before settling on one and also applying for the job of curator!

Orana Arts ran this project and the mentorship was stimulating, then they asked if I'd design a cover. 

I thought the image of a telephone switchboard worked as a metaphor for the connections being formed.

Anyway, it was fun to take the book into work this week and share my piece about Bagtown -- which was a temporary town that now exists as a recreation at Griffith's museum.

The Talking Cure

It was exciting to get a parcel today

Even more excited to discover one of my Junto videos was part of an exhibition in France!