Artstate Wrap Up

Artstate Wrap Up

Well that’s a wrap – Artstate Lismore has taken down the marquees, rolled up the banners and delivered the event’s International keynote speakers to various airports for their long journey home.

For over 4 days Lismore was host to the inaugural Artstate – a conference and arts program developed by Regional Arts NSW and delivered in partnership with Arts Northern Rivers.

Gauging from feedback the inaugural Artstate has been a significant success for our region. At the closing conference dinner Arts Minister Don Harwin declared the event an important and successful showcase of the creativity and artistic excellence that defines the Northern Rivers as a significant creative hub.

On top of the conference program Artstate presented a stunning arts program featuring over 37 performing, visual, musical and screen events throughout Lismore. A clear highlight was the Djanda Mandi Gingerlah Opening Night dance and music event, directed by Rhoda Roberts and featuring more than 20 young Indigenous dancers. Not even a Northern Rivers sub-tropical downpour could dampen the crowd’s enthusiasm for this spectacular opening that has set a high bar for future opening ceremonies!

Below are some arts program highlights…


We're Closer Than You Think

This exhibition brought together artwork by 19 artists based in the Northern Rivers. Curators Natalie Bull and Zoe Robinson-Kennedy used the platform to question the notion of regionality and the perception that artists working outside of metropolitan areas are hindered by location.

In various stages of their career and working across a range of disciplines, each artist in the exhibition was chosen for inadvertently refuting the relationship between location and success, population and production, and that the quality of their practice is determined by these imaginary borders.

Curated by Natalie Bull and Zoe Robinson-Kennedy


Artists // Skye Baker, Amanda Bromfield, Kylie Caldwell, Ben Crawford, Michael Cusack, Karla Dickens, Kathryn Dolby, Penny Evans, Stephen Garrett, Natalie Grono, Charlotte Haywood, Helle Jorgensen, Jenny Kitchener, Mahala Magins, Robert Moore, Jess O’Connor, Kat Shapiro-Wood, Amber Wallis, Christine Willcocks

Digby Moran Installation

In recent years Digby has revisited a recurring diamond motif in his work that is said to represent the natural pattern in the tidal flats of the beaches and estuaries as the tide changes. Digby recreated this using white sand as a large-scale site-specific installation to further explore the repetition of this ancient motif and his intimate connection to Bundjalung country.


Balun Gilamahla - River Journey

Created in the lead up to Artstate this ambitious project brought together Indigenous weavers living across Bundjalung and Quandamooka Country (Stradbroke Island) who collaborated to produce a unique large-scale canoe installation.

The Canoes are overflowing with women’s gatherings and tools made using ancient weaving techniques. All of the artists are dedicated to reviving and re-establishing these techniques and incorporating traditional grasses and reeds from their regions.



Disruptuion Of Distance

Site-related art, exhibitions and sound interventions by artists from the Northern Rivers were experienced throughout Lismore City allowing conversations between artists and audience to extend beyond the conference walls.

The selected works explored encounters between site, location and practice where a blank brick wall becomes a space to investigate factors that shape Earth’s surface. Below the Conservatorium a group of artists responded to a semi-submerged room. Field recordings taken along the Wilsons River hovered at the level where the 1974 flood peaked and a hidden corner a portal into the unknown is found inviting you into a strangely familiar but uncanny world.

With financial support from Create NSW Artstate will be rolled out in another three regional centres in NSW with the torch passing to Bathurst for Artstate 2018.


Image // Cloudland, LightenUp Inc, Artstate Lismore 2017, photo: Katelyn-Jane Dunn