New gallery exhibition features award-winning artists from the Girringun Aboriginal Arts Centre

Opening on December 13, Caloundra Regional Gallery is proud to present Manggan – gather, gathers, gathering, the first national touring exhibition of contemporary works by award-winning artists from the Girringun Aboriginal Arts Centre.

From the Far North Queensland town of Cardwell, the 19 Girringun artists’ superbly handcrafted works, displayed alongside historical from the South Australian Museum and ephemera, including photographs, provide a unique opportunity for gallery visitors to view and engage with the distinctive Aboriginal rainforest art traditions and culture from the Girringun region.  

The artists’ ancestral tools, Bagu (body) with Jiman (sticks), were traditionally used to make fire, but today have been transformed into an iconic art form by the Girringun artists.

Made from clay, timber and string, and painted with ochres, these artworks evoke the spirit of the old people. 

The contemporary objects are instilled with newer values which reflect aesthetic taste, authenticity, economic pressures and an element of nostalgia.

Displayed side by side, the new and the old, the objects create a dialogue of contrast and of change.

Artists featured in the exhibition include Daniel Beeron, George Beeron Snr, Maureen Beeron, Theresa Beeron, Nancy Cowan, Nephi Denham, Sandra Escott, Tonya Grant, Judith Henry, Clarence Kinjun, Doris Kinjun, Abe Muriata, Alison Murray, Debra Murray, Emily Murray, John Murray, Ninney Murray, Sally Murray and Eileen Tep.

The exhibition will be on display until January 27, 2019.

Q & A with Cindy Vogels about the creative collaboration with Amica Whincop

We’ve been so busy here at Pastiche HQ, that we have invited one of our favourite local designers, Cindy Vogels, to be our guest ‘Creative Director’ for our newly upsized winter edition. We procured some time with Cindy post ‘the shoot’ to chat about how the inspiration came about for this vibrant project.

 Firstly, you shot this in record time, in only half a day I understand?

Yes, but we had put plenty of hours into preparation, and if Amica Whincop and I actually counted how long we’ve been stewing this idea on the back burners, it could be up to two years. This meant that we were incredibly efficient as soon as we got the green light from Joolie Gibbs (Gallery Director) and Sandra Ross (Education and Public Programs Officer) at Gympie Regional Gallery.

Tell us how Gympie Regional Gallery became the backdrop?

I had recently attended the Gallery’s 20th birthday party (which was fabulous and costume themed), and soon after I was talking to Skye (from Pastiche) about the cover. Amica and I had already shot a pilot for this signature collaboration and we were having fun developing it. For the pilot we had ventured into the Queensland bush, but now felt like an indoor shot was required. Our local Gallery seemed like a grand choice.

Tell us about the preparation work after the Gallery location was agreed upon?

We needed to pick one of Amica’s works, so we let Skye choose from eight different pieces; all of them were equally vibrant and dreamy. (I couldn’t choose). Skye immediately chose a favourite, and Amica then set about translating her work onto the perfect fabric for me to work with via sublimation printing.

This was no simple task –  if you’ve seen the size of some of Amica’s works in real life you’ll understand. Lucky she’s also a graphic designer and handy with a camera!! It was a cool moment when she called many weeks later to invite me around to see the fabric for the first time. After Amica had created the fabric, it was up to me to turn it into a wearable design.

You love collaboration. Besides the Gallery, who else joined you on this creative adventure?

The gorgeous Layla agreed to be our statuesque model and when Skye’s favourite photographer (Richard Waugh) couldn’t make the set date, I begged Amica to ask her son Finn to jump in. He has captured some great content for me before, and I love having young eyes and minds in the mix. It’s just the right thing to do, sharing creative opportunities with the younger generation. We also got word to Gympie Living magazine, and their feature writer Kate worked up a stunning behind the scenes story to highlight the local collaboration, and push out some good vibes and hype prior to the Pastiche edition reveal.

Taking a step back, how did you and Amica meet?

Well, when my family first moved from Buderim to Gympie, Amica was the ‘favorite’ art teacher at my kid’s school. Through my passion for the arts and Amica’s obvious creativity and fun loving personality, we were soon friends. We have worked creatively and collaboratively together through various arts projects, and with Amica helping me design and develop my company logos over the years. We bounce ideas off each other and have a creative flow together that I really enjoy.

Ok Cindy, we know you are always busy, what else have you been up to and what’s in store for the immediate future?

My fashion brand Racy & Lucky has so much going on! We’ve just designed multiple one-of-a-kind garments for music artists and personnel, and the host of the Queensland Music Awards held on May 14. We also designed stage outfits for the RACKETT girls and Doolie for a recent festival.  We have contributed to multiple film clip wardrobes being shot and coming out soon, which is why we claim the tag ‘We dress the music’. And my CollabAnation venture is growing wings for some national recognition by the year’s end…. watch this space.

Think you value the arts? Show us how!

Apparently Australians value the arts. A growing number of us allegedly believe that the arts make for a richer and more meaningful life. These ‘facts’ are the opening lines of an Australia Council Report from 2015. But Australians must be tricksy hobbitses! Because I often find it hard to see the evidence of us acting like we value the arts in broad daylight. Maybe saying ‘I value the arts’ is one of those little lies we tell ourselves and repeat in surveys to make ourselves feel better? Maybe we do value the arts. But if so, what actions are Australians taking to support the arts? Saying we value the arts means nothing if the arts sector slowly dies because independent artists don’t have enough time in between their shifts at the local IGA to make their art!

For years it’s been clear to those of us in the arts sector that things need to change. Australians need to value the sector in new ways that grows the arts. Yes, we need more money invested in the arts – by the public as audience, patron and tax payer, by governments, and by the private sector. This won’t happen through wishful thinking and money alone isn’t the only solution. What we need is action! But first we need a cunning plan.

Don’t expect to lay eyes on meaningful Federal or State arts plans any time soon. The coal-blackened oceans will be lapping up against parliament doors in Canberra and Brisbane before that happens. The grassroots must start the change. You’d think if we valued the arts enough, local governments in and around the Coast would have developed strategic plans to support and grow the arts years ago. Some local artists will say that tells you everything you need to know about how much the Coast and Hinterland communities really value the arts!  But zip-it you cynics – there is hope!

According to Arts Queensland, five of the local governments around the Coast are currently preparing strategic arts policies. Noosa Council has been developing its Art and Cultural Strategy since February 2017. Our biggest LGA – Sunshine Coast Council- will shortly release its Draft Arts Plan for public comment. This document sets a 20-year vision for growing the arts sector up to 2038 by putting ‘local artists’ at the centre of a practical, action-based strategy. The Sunshine Coast Council’s Arts Advisory Board (SCAAB) has guided Council staff through this process and suggested a methodology that enlists practicing local artists to help shape the plan. As a member of SCAAB I’m encouraged by the progress to date, and support the key initiatives behind Arts Plan. I reckon it’s a solid plan of attack that reflects the ideas of the arts community. Clearly I don’t speak for my colleagues on SCAAB, (as you’d expect they are fiercely independent), when I say am nervous about two things affecting the ultimate success of the Arts Plan.


First, for the Arts Plan to work it needs to be owned by our arts community. That means that everyone who says they ‘value the arts’ and practicing artists really need to read and critique the Draft Plan when released for public comment (hopefully mid-June). Critical thinking is a vital part of arts practice. Without it mediocrity flourishes and bad ideas take root. Similarly, your critique of Arts Plan (provided you are well informed) will focus and localise its policy intent.  Secondly, the key actions in the Arts Plan must be enthusiastically funded by Sunshine Coast Council. It can’t be avoided. The private sector must also play its part in supporting the actions in the Plan. Political and consumer pressure are needed if the arts are to flourish in our community.

So if you really value the arts, show it. Review the SCC Arts Plan and make a thoughtful submission!  Consider contacting your local councillor and ask them to back the actions of your local arts plan with new money. Don’t stop there! Ask your local businesses which local artists they currently support. And at some point, think about how art can add more value to your life. Get out and create, buy, and experience art and get to know your local makers and artists. These are all practical ways you can show you really value the arts!

Phil Smith is President of the Sunshine Coast Creative Alliance and sits on the Sunshine Coast Council’s Arts Advisory Board. He is an architect and urban designer at Deicke Richards.

Highlife  winter  tour  with Bassidi  Koné      

Sunshine  Coast based  ‘Afro  Psych’ band  Highlife are joined  by  the legendary Bassidi Koné  (West  Africa) for a handful  of east coast  dates this winter!

Highlife  are a Queensland  Music  Award winning world music act based on the Sunshine  Coast, who have captivated the crowds at Woodford  Folk  Festival, Caloundra Music Festival and Island Vibe Festival. Their  sets are well known for being relentlessly high energy, with a unique  sound that is a concoction of African rhythms, psychedelic funk and improvisational  fusion, described  as ‘Afro Psych’.

The  band is  built around  Hayden Hack, a  talented singer/songwriter  who  was raised in South Africa and  the UK by professional musician parents. Hayden recently returned from a solo tour of South Africa, and now resides in Maleny.  Completing  the Highlife   rhythm section  is Nathaniel Combs,  a percussion teacher who   has just returned from studying  in  West Africa, well known jazz  drummer Max Sportelli, Brad Wenham on  six string bass, and Paddy Kiernan  on  guitar.

Bassidi  Koné  comes  from Mali  in  West Africa. Bassidi tours  internationally and collaborates  with  diverse ensemble groups, delving  into Afro-jazz,  Latin, reggae, classical and contemporary genres. Don’t  miss your chance to catch this unique   international collaboration  and don’t forget your dancing shoes!

Venues and dates:

28 July: Nimbin Bush Theatre, 29 July: Brunswick Heads Hotel, 30 July: Byron Bay Beach Hotel, 3 August: Caloundra Powerboat Club, 4 August: Majestic Theatre, Pomona.

A salty tale that inspires a new generation…

Award-winning Gold Coast author, Benjamin Allmon and Bundjalung-Yugambeh canoe maker, Kyle Slabb have collaborated with renowned photographer David Kelly and former ABC producer and filmmaker Jeff Licence to document their epic 70km three-day sea journey that follows an ancient First Nations maritime trade route in traditional canoes. This treacherous sea voyage has connected the Goories or Saltwater People across the water from the Gold Coast to North Stradbroke Island for thousands of years.

The Saltwater Story documents Benjamin’s passage into a piece of First Nations culture that is rarely offered to someone outside of the Bundjalung/Yugambeh people. This voyage with Kyle and his family has resulted in a stunning documentary, a beautiful coffee table book, and an exhibition that launched in May at HOTA, Home of the Arts on the Gold Coast.

The inclusion of a unique group of young Bundjalung, Yugambeh and Quandamooka men in this project provides viewers with a rare insight into a rite of passage for the next generation. The result is a story of connection, collaboration and cooperation – not just between the Bundjalung-Yugambeh people and the Quandamooka people, but between generations, between black and white, between land, sky and sea. It is also a story of continuance – of ancient knowledge now held by just a few being passed to the elders of tomorrow.

A Voyage of Discovery

Producer and writer, Benjamin Allmon says: ‘This project has been the last four years of my life. Not long after becoming a Dad I realised that if my son asked me one day about the Indigenous history of the Gold Coast, I wouldn’t know what to say. So, I decided to find out. The book starts with this realisation, and goes from there, through years of research, to meeting Kyle, to making the traditional canoes together and then paddling them together. 

It follows how personally difficult reconciling the two cultures within a project is… and ultimately how rewarding. I am immensely proud that we made the canoes, and that I got to paddle the three-day journey alongside the next generation of Saltwater men… I am deeply and permanently changed by the experience, and I now have a story to tell my son – The Saltwater Story.’

The story tells of three brothers who arrived by sea in a canoe, establishing fresh water sites, tribal laws, bora rings and traditional knowledge for generations to come.

The Saltwater Story is a true collaboration utilising First Nations locations, government assistance and collaborators from across Australia to engage both the non-First Nation and First Nation communities to ensure this knowledge is transmitted to the next generation.

The book, e-book and DVD can be purchased at: http://www.benjaminallmon.com/product/the-saltwater-story/

Keep an eye out for future screenings of The Saltwater Story later in the year.

An Interview with Jandamarra Cadd

An interview with Jandamarra Cadd

Jandamarra Cadd is a Sunshine Coast artist whose stunning portraits provide a moving message of unity, where Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians walk together, healing the wounds of the past.

Jandamarra has been a finalist in many major Australian art prizes, including the Archibald Prize in 2014. He is also an inspirational speaker who works closely with young Indigenous youth.

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Creativity, Community, Culture