Last Friday evening my new baby arrived safely into a welcoming world at Tweed Regional Gallery, New South Wales. Called Stories clouds tell, her birth was announced officially by Wendy Powitt, North Coast artist and fashion jewellery entrepreneur (Ghost & Lola – www.ghostandlola.com).
It was a great night at the Tweed. Sunlight filtered under the dramatic cloudscape, throwing shafts of light across my major work Nephele reclining. As usual the Friends of the Gallery had good food and wine flowing. With a record-breaking five shows opening the same night, the place was packed.
Wendy delivered a heartfelt opening speech, and she was in esteemed company: Michael Zavros (winner of the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize 2010 and Jacaranda drawing prize 2002), Gary Jolley (also a former Jacaranda winner, and my first lecturer at uni), Wendy Sharpe (former Archibald Prize winner) and artist/educator Steven Giese opened the other shows, including one featuring the contemporary collection of Alan Conder and Alan Pigott.
Lyn Stewart, president of the Friends of the Gallery, also spoke – hearing about her efforts to equip the new Margaret Olley Art Centre and artist-in-residence studio at the gallery gave some insights into how the Tweed Regional Gallery has become one of the country’s most respected regional public galleries. The other reasons for the gallery’s success include a skilled, hard-working staff led by director Susi Muddiman, widely recognised as one of the country’s most able gallery chiefs.
I was touched by the number of friends who travelled in to attend the opening (thanks everyone!), and heartened by the positive feedback from fellow artists and supporters. No-one was paying them to be so upbeat about the works, so I’ll take that as a sign that my new baby has a bright future.