ADC touring exhibition Lola Greeno: Cultural Jewels was recently on display at Redland Art Gallery in Queensland. ADC's Lisa Cahill spent some time with Emma Bain, Director of Redland Art Gallery to find out how the exhibition experience was and discover more about the venue.

LC: Lola Greeno: Cultural Jewels is one of our best touring exhibitions to date. Can you tell me how the Redland community reacted to the exhibition? What was one of the special moments for you or your staff during the show?

EB: We had a fantastic response to Lola Greeno: Cultural Jewels. Visitors were very impressed by Lola’s work, the beautiful display cases and overall exhibition design. We had a number of visitors make a special trip because a friend or relative had recommended the exhibition to them. A really special moment for me was when a local lady come in on the second last day of the exhibition and started chatting to me and the volunteers at the reception desk. She had lots of questions and left the following comment in the visitor’s book: ‘This is the best exhibition I have seen, ever, in my life – and I have seen exhibitions of famous artists in Paris, London, etc. The story behind the creation of each piece, as shown in the explanations gives a depth of understanding that is often missing. I am moved to tears by the beauty of it all, and I am thankful that Lola shared the gifts she has with the world. So beautiful and great to see cultural art practice.’ I thought what a great way to end the week, this is what it is all about.

LC: How did the exhibition look in your space? Was it easy to install?

EB: The exhibition looked very inviting and beautifully designed. It filled the space perfectly, was easy for visitors to navigate and for staff to take tours through. Yes, the exhibition was easy to install and RAG staff enjoyed working with the ADC staff who joined us for the installation.

LC: What were some of the highlights during the exhibition period?

EB: For me, I always enjoy taking school groups through and asking them what their favourite work from the exhibition is and how they might feed ideas into their latest project. We also had a ‘Family Sundays at the Gallery’ event on 30 April where children (and adults if they wished) could make their own shell necklace to take home. I took my son along and we made a fabulous necklace together which was lots of fun.

LC: Can you tell me a bit about your audience? What are the demographics of people coming to see exhibitions?

EB: Our audience is quite diverse and we are presently facilitating a number of programs for families and children each month. We also get visiting friends and relatives on a regular basis and local retirees and artists who tend to visit on week days. There is a lot of new development in the Redlands and what was once known as a lovely retirement area by the water is now becoming very popular with families. The Redlands is quite unique, being spread across mainland and island locations, its natural beauty attracts a number of artists who reside permanently or visit on a regular basis.

LC: Can you tell me about your gallery/program? How old is it? How much space do you have? What are your key challenges? What types of exhibitions resonate most with the audience?

EB: Redland Art Gallery has exhibition space at Cleveland and Capalaba and we turned 14 this year. We offer an exciting line-up of artists and artisans, sharing their stories and traditions, many taking inspiration from the Redlands. Featuring a mix of solo, group and national touring exhibitions visitors can view some of Australia’s best painting, drawing, photography, film, sculpture, fibre art, print making and installation at various times of the year. We have about 110 running meters at RAG, Cleveland (4 gallery spaces + foyer features) and 29 running meters at RAG, Capalaba (1 gallery space). Our key challenge is space – more would be wonderful for display, RAG Collection and equipment storage and for our public programs. Our audiences love exhibitions that take inspiration from the Redlands and tell a story. We have also had some very popular exhibitions showcasing the work of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.

LC: What's coming up at Redland?

EB: 1001 NIGHTMARES: HESAM FETRATI at RAG, Capalaba (24 June – 8 August 2017)
As a visual activist, the collective series of artwork 1001 Nightmares is Hesam Fetrati’s interpretation of the distress caused through the common, often harmful and global activity of displacement. Works in Fetrati’s exhibition address contemporary issues of diaspora, hope, despair and the hopelessness associated with the act of displacement. Fetrati uses satire in this collection of drawings to comment on issues of forced migration. The works start with a narrative form in which Fetrati weaves his understanding of the mental states of mind and physical hardships endured on the journey from one state of mind/place to another.

ISLAND MADE at RAG, Cleveland (2 July – 13 August)
Island Made showcases functional objects handmade by Quandamooka and non-Indigenous artists and makers living on Southern Moreton Bay, Coochiemudlo and North Stradbroke Islands. Comprising exceptional objects made for ordinary use, the exhibition includes ceramics, woven baskets, bags, silverware and crab pots. Stories of makers and their motivations form a significant part of the exhibition, as do the photographic portraits of the makers themselves. Island Made encourages appreciation of the skills, knowledge, resourcefulness and diversity of our island communities, increasing community connection with place and improving an understanding and appreciation of Quandamooka country. Curated by Tricia Dobson and Maria Cleary.

In Ruby and Hunter, stories relating to Claudia Moondoonuthi’s place of belonging, Kaiadilt Country of Bentinck Island in the Queensland’s Gulf of Carpentaria, are represented through reflections on culture, identity and family ties. Inspired by her two dogs named Ruby and Hunter, Moondoonuthi honours her people’s innate relationship with dingos, and a shared understanding of the land and each other. These narratives are translated through vibrant paintings and sculptural forms that embody a deep connection to Country nurtured during Claudia Moondoonuthi’s formative years. Ruby and Hunter is curated by Freja Carmichael in collaboration with the artist and Alcaston Gallery. An exhibition held in conjunction with NAIDOC Week 2017.

Find out more about Redland Art Gallery here

Discover the Lola Greeno: Cultural Jewels exhibition here

Explore ADC On Tour here

Image: John Leeming

End of article.