Gallery Profile ⟶ Tweed Regional Gallery (NSW) — Experimenta

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Over these summer holidays, Experimenta is heading to Murwillumbah (NSW) to launch our 8th touring show Experimenta Life Forms at Tweed Regional Gallery. This will be our second time presenting with the gallery. We’re very excited to share this show with audiences along the North Coast, on Bundjalung land (NSW) and we chat with Gallery Director Susi Muddiman OAM.

Q: Thanks for having us again Susi! What about the Experimenta Life Forms exhibition do you think will be of most interest to your audiences?

We’re excited to host the show! When the Gallery first hosted Experimenta: International Triennial of Media Art in 2017, we assumed that the exhibition would introduce a new, tech-savvy audience to our Gallery. However, a surprisingly positive outcome of the show was that our usual audience, typically representing an older demographic, fully embraced the new media art form. It was incredibly exciting for us to see. We are thrilled to be able to welcome back Experimenta this December.

Personally, what I love most about Experimenta is the way the artists and their works have explored such complex ideas and present them in immersive and engaging ways for audiences. The works encourage you to slow down and to think or ask questions. By watching, touching, singing, or dialing a phone number scrolled on the wall you are participating in the artists’ ideas. It’s impossible to simply glance and walk on. I think our audiences appreciate that, and the effort the artists have made to engage them.

Q: Tweed Regional Gallery hosts a number of exhibitions at the same time – tell us about some of the other exciting programs happening over the summer holidays.

The Gallery is so proud to present our new exhibition At Home: Margaret Olley & Ben Quilty. Initiated and curated by the Gallery’s staff member Ingrid Hedgcock, this exhibition tells the story of mentorship, art and friendship between Margaret Olley and Ben Quilty, two of Australia’s most celebrated artists. At Home includes a sublime collection of recent still life paintings by Ben Quilty created during lockdown alongside still lifes and interiors by Margaret Olley from the latter half of her extraordinary career. 

Q: The gallery has such a great group of supporters that help invigilate exhibitions like ours – tell us more about your ‘Friends of the Gallery’ volunteers and the tours you offer.   

The Gallery is incredibly lucky to have over 100 dedicated volunteers who generously give their time and expertise. For the safety of our visitors and volunteers we have temporarily suspended our free, daily guided tours, however we hope to have those back up and running by the time Experimenta arrives in December.

The Tweed Regional Gallery has an active Friends organisation with over 1,500 members, which arranges concerts, visits to artists’ studios, and many other social, educational and fundraising functions each year. The money raised helps the Gallery to build its collection, run education programs and provide facilities for the comfort of Gallery visitors.

Q: Are there any life forms native to the Murwillumbah area that you want to share with us?

The Tweed Regional Gallery is situated in an extraordinary environment, and our location is spectacular! We are located two kilometres south of Murwillumbah in the Tweed Shire, overlooking a pastoral landscape, with views to Wollumbin and the Tweed River. As one staff member often puts it “we’re a Gallery in a cow paddock!” The result of having a Gallery in an area such as ours is the frequent non-human visitors we receive – it can be quite entertaining, fascinating and scary at times! No one really likes snakes, however pretty or small they might be!

We do have a family of kookaburras and they entertain us with their merry chuckles quite often. Sometimes I wonder if they are laughing at us?! Daddy kooka is obsessed with the other, equally handsome kookaburra he can see in the reflective glass of the workshop’s door. He spends hours at dusk pecking at the intruder, trying to warn him off his territory. I’ve tried countless times to explain to him that there’s no other kooka trying to usurp him or harm his family, but he’s quite insistent.

There’s also a couple of very naughty peewees that are pretty much residents of the Cafe’s balcony. They have such a pretty song, but they are so cheeky, and love to entertain (or is that terrify?) some patrons as they fly in and try to sneak delicious pastry treats from the patrons

Experimenta Life Forms: International Triennial of Media Art explores the changing notions of life by 26 contemporary artists. Presenting at Tweed Regional Gallery, Murwillumbah (NSW) 10 December – 30 January 2022