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Green Room: Window to SA’s past, live music vouchers, art prizes

SA arts and culture news in brief: A photographic exhibition at the State Library exploring 19th-century farmhouses; a new round of live music vouchers for venues; an art prize announces its winner and another opens for entries.

Sep 16, 2022, updated Sep 16, 2022
Australia under Attack: An image from the exhibition, 'If walls could talk', by Scottish-based photographer Alexandra McOrist, on display at the State Library of South Australia.

Australia under Attack: An image from the exhibition, 'If walls could talk', by Scottish-based photographer Alexandra McOrist, on display at the State Library of South Australia.

If walls could talk

Weaving together photographs of two 19th-century South Australian farmhouses and stories from historic newspapers and magazines, ‘If walls could talk’ is a free exhibition at the State Library of South Australia.

The exhibition, by Scottish-based photographer Alexandra McOrist, has been long delayed due to the pandemic, but opened on Friday (September 16).

It’s designed as a discovery experience for the viewer: the farmhouses were both built in the 1850s and were home to generations of the same settler families. While few signs of domestic life remain, the contemporary images are overlain with articles from the 1850s to the 1950s with the aim of transporting people “to times past and provide steppingstones to imagine domestic life through good times and bad”.

“By capturing the domestic life and focusing on daily joys and trials for hard-working pioneers of agricultural settlements in South Australia, I feel strongly this exhibition will resonate with the South Australian public,” McOrist said.

State Library director Geoff Strempel said he was pleased the institution’s newspaper collections could be brought to life in this way.

“It is a perfect example of how the State Library’s heritage collections can be used by researchers to provide an insight into a piece of South Australia’s history and share it with later generations,” he said.

The exhibition is free and on display until January 29.

E-vouchers for live music venues

The State Government has opened another round of registrations for live music venues who want a leg-up to host live music performances.

The e-vouchers – each worth $400 – are part of the government’s “See it LIVE” initiative and are available for eligible venues to cover costs involved in hosting live music performances.

Registrations are open now until midday on October 4, to support activities up to October 31.

For information on how to apply, go to the See it LIVE website.

Kennedy Prize winner announced

Wollongong-based artist Byron Copland has won the $25,000 Kennedy Prize for 2022.

The winning entry, Ageing Still Life Diptych (oils on wood panel), evolved almost unintentionally after Copeland went back to some disregarded flowers.

“The flowers presented the kinds of colour harmonies inherent in nature, the one’s you can’t argue with,” he said. “The soft petals had become brittle, presenting angular shapes and wrinkled edges beckoning a painter to explore this interesting display of texture and light.

“I knew I had a painting, which quickly turned to my next thought, could I have another? For me the answer came with the water in the vase, once cloudy yellow now a deep red. A larger story started to emerge, one that plays with the themes of life and death, the different stages in one’s life and the inherent beauty to each.”

The prize, offered by the Kennedy Arts Foundation, is based and exhibited in Adelaide but open to Australian artists nationwide. It is awarded to “works that embody, comment on or celebrate beauty”.

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The 50 finalists are on display at the Royal South Australian Society of the Arts, level one, corner Kintore Avenue and North Terrace, until September 25.

Also announced this week by the Kennedy Arts Foundation is a new $5000 prize for photographers, the Margaret Nyland Photography Award, which will be part of next year’s Kennedy Awards.

Byron Copland’s winning work.

Ramsay Art Prize open for entries

The Art Gallery of South Australia’s $100,000 Ramsay Art Prize is now open for entries.

The acquisitive prize, held every two years, is open to submissions of new or recent work by Australian artists under the age of 40. Works can be in any medium, including sculpture, painting, drawing, photography, installation and time-based art.

The 2023 judging panel includes Aaron Seeto, director of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara, Jakarta, Perth-based visual artist and creative producer Erin Coates and Nici Cumpston, the artistic director of Tarnanthi and curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art at the Art Gallery of South Australia.

Finalists will be exhibited at AGSA from May 27 to August 27, 2023. The winner will be announced on May 26 and their work will be purchased for the art gallery’s collection.

The prize is supported by the James & Diana Ramsay Foundation.

Green Room is a regular column for InReview, providing quick news for people interested, or involved, in South Australian arts and culture.

Get in touch by emailing us at e[email protected]

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