The case for a major museum of Indigenous art and culture in Sydney

Petrina Bedford “Djalala & Wandjinas. Wandjinas with boundary stones on their bodies. Acrylic on canvas 45 x 45cms. This and other works from Mowanjum Arts and Maningrida Arts and Culture are available. We can ship artworks anywhere. Go to ARTISTS page for catalogues.

Petrina Bedford “Djalala & Wandjinas. Wandjinas with boundary stones on their bodies. Acrylic on canvas 45 x 45cms. This and other works from Mowanjum Arts and Maningrida Arts and Culture are available. We can ship artworks anywhere. Go to ARTISTS page for catalogues.

Our current show Mowanjum to Maningrida is the first Australian Indigenous show we have held here at Dungog Contemporary. An area of the visual arts we have always loved, it is a real privilege to be able to spend the quiet time during the week surrounded by these beautiful paintings and prints from Mowanjum Arts in the Kimberley and the superlative fibre works from Maningrida Arts and Culture NT.

The response to this show has been wonderful, from local high school kids and the community on the whole, to regular and new clients of the gallery. We organised a screening of Nick Wrathall and Stephanie King’s new film Undermined: Tales From The Kimberley to accompany the show, which opened eyes for many who came as to the true meaning of “Native Title” and the fact that in Australia economic growth is regarded as more important than anyone or anything, a dire situation for a nation once regarded as progressive.

This short film looks at Quai du Branly the museum for Indigenous arts in Paris. The film deals with Indigenous Australian art, Quai du Branly with art from Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. Why on earth don’t we have a museum specifically for Australian Indigenous art anywhere in Australia on this kind of scale? Australia has enormous collections of artifacts locked up in the bowels of our museums. When you consider how beautiful Quai du Branly is, the enormous crowds who visit it and the regard with which Australian Indigenous art is held overseas, the fact that we don’t is a national embarrasment. The best of contemporary Australian Indigenous art is some of the most relevant artwork happening upon the planet today. Barangaroo ( a wonderful aboriginal place name ) has three small nods to Australian Indigenous culture, a site squandered. I have always thought it should have been a beautifully landscaped native parkland, greenspace with a museum in the middle of the city. With a chance to have had a uniquely Australian building by an architect such as Glenn Murcutt, Australia’s only Pritzker Prize winner, as a museum of Australian Indigenous arts and culture. Instead we got a billionaire trust fundee’s monument to himself, a largely unwanted gambling casino and ill considered apartment buildings for foreign investors.

Dungog Contemporary acknowledges the land of the Gringai people on which the gallery stands. This video may contain images of people deceased.

A Drive in the Country - Ray Lawrence

It was during a drive in the country, to visit his daughter in Armidale that Ray Lawrence thought it would be nice to somehow support one of the local towns he passed through on the way. “What about doing some paintings? Have a show?” was his daughter’s suggestion.

This was the genesis of a new exhibition by Ray Lawrence, renowned Australian film director, opening this March at Dungog Contemporary art gallery. As Lawrence says, “People pass through Dungog, Walcha, Uralla and Gloucester and buy petrol, a coffee or a trinket or two. But with the cycle of drought, flood and economic downturn. It would be good to draw attention to these towns and create a show that would stir interest and support for this beautiful corner of Australia.”

Lawrence has created a series of landscapes to celebrate the natural beauty and of our countryside. “I needed to imagine a story in the landscape – what happened here? What could happen? and without being too pointed, withholding just enough, I could hopefully pull the viewer into the pictures so they could make the stories their own”

The result is “A Drive in the Country” which opens in Dungog Contemporary for five weeks from March 23rd . Lawrence is best known as the award winning director of Australian films Bliss, Jindabyne and Lantana is no stranger to Dungog with his support and screenings at previous Dungog film festivals. “I was a painter before I started making films.”

Ray studied painting at Adelaide Art School and began to make a name for himself in the world of commercial art, before moving into film and establishing one of Australia’s most successful film production companies.

In the mid 1980s he made Bliss, from the breakthrough novel by Booker prize winning author Peter Carey. The film was critically acclaimed and nominated for the prestigious Cannes Palme d’or.

In the following years, Lawrence forged a reputation as one of Australia’s most important Australian directors with his films Lantana and Jindabyne.

Throughout his commercial and feature film work, he continued to paint portraits and has been a finalist in the Archibald and semi finalist in the Moran art prize.

Lawrence’s love of landscape is a recurring theme of his films and it seems only natural that his keen eye and passion for this country has translated into this series of oil paintings.

Ray is joined in this exhibition by Lismore based landscape painter, artist Emily Imeson, in what promises to be the latest in a run of successful showings by Dungog Contemporary. Curators Stephen Hobbs and Sarah Crawford opened their gallery and cultural exchange in 2017 and have established a reputation for their support of emerging and established Australian artists.

Ray Lawrence. 2019

Ray Lawrence. 2019

Emily Imeson 2019

Emily Imeson 2019


Dungog Contemporary are pleased to announce an exhibition of major new works from the studio of Sandro Nocentini. Sandro's work has been described as Cubist / Futurist. An Italian artist working in Sydney, Sandro won the Sir John Sulman Prize for Painting in 2005.

This exhibition coincides with "PLASTIQUE" from Catherine Cassidy. A Sydney based painter, Catherine was one of fifty artists selected worldwide by Art Platform New York City to exhibit at Art Basel Miami in December 2016 and also the New York Art Expo in April 2017, Cassidy has also recently exhibited at Progress Gallery, Paris, France. Catherine's paintings are large, colourful and intuitive works informed by her travels into wild places.

Both exhibitions will run until Sunday, March 17. Do join us to view works from these two very different mid career Sydney painters, opening drinks from 3pm onwards on Saturday, February 16. Artists catalogues will be available here on our website from Thursday 14th, February.

Left: Sandro Nocentini “Love” 2018. Oil on marine ply. 122 75 cm and  Right: Catherine Cassidy “Sandbank” 2018. Vinylique, synthetic polymers, oil stick, spray enamel on polyester. 122 x 122 cm

Left: Sandro Nocentini “Love” 2018. Oil on marine ply. 122 75 cm and
Right: Catherine Cassidy “Sandbank” 2018. Vinylique, synthetic polymers, oil stick, spray enamel on polyester. 122 x 122 cm

Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season, may next year bring peace and prosperity.

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Thank you to all of the artists and collectors. Without you it wouldn’t have happened. Have a great one! #madeleinecruise #kenoregan #belindastreet #peterlankas #jokatsiaris #jendenzin #mandyrobinson #ameliavivash #ondineseabrook #fionabarrett-clark #jakeclark #janefrancesreilly #braddonsnape #sallymcdonald #gavinvitullo #cathbeynon

Our collectors remain anonymous, thank you all again. S&S xx

Conservation of your treasured photographs

One of the services that we can offer here at the gallery is the conservation of photographs. Here a client has brought a framed photograph in to have its matte cleaned, flattened out and to be put back into the frame with a new backing board. I am also going to clean the mahogany frame with antique furniture reviver and give it a coat of beeswax. I do not stick the photograph down as we frame archivally using acid-free products at all times to ensure that any work we carry out is of a museum standard. When finished we will fit new D-Rings and wire, the work will look as good as the day it left the framers.

We can also restore old photographs. Making high-resolution copy photographs using studio flash which we then Photoshop to remove blemishes and imperfections. They can then be re-printed to custom sizes. It is also possible for us to have your photographs printed onto other media, for example, canvas or banners, fabric for art installations and promotions. Recently we made a portrait of a farmhouse for a client whilst the jacaranda trees were in full bloom, removing unsightly things such as powerlines and satellite dishes, more on that in another blog-post.



Upper Hunter Arts Trail Weekend. Dungog Contemporary Opening

The weekend of the 18th & 19th Nov 2017 is The Upper Hunter Arts Trail Weekend, with galleries from Maitland to Murrurundi taking part. The complete drive should take around two days and audio tours are available on available on the Appstore, Googleplay and WindowsStore.

We are running events over the weekend to celebrate being open for 2 months on the Saturday. Artist Nicole Chaffey will be here doing an en-plein air painting of the main street of Dungog. On the Saturday evening we have a band Those Jazz Guys playing until 9.00 pm. We are currently showing work by three prolific women painters from Newcastle, Nicole Chaffey, Madeleine Cruise and Belinda Street and there will be artist talks later in the afternoon on the Sunday.


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Paula Jenkins, Our first solo show booked for November 2018

We have just booked our first solo show for the gallery a year ahead! Local Paterson born and bred artist Paula Jenkins, Expect big bold colourful and textural works in oil, depicting the landscape of the Dungog region.

Paula has been exhibiting her work and winning awards for many years, and after a successful career as a graphic designer has now become a full time artist known for her bold Australian landscapes.

In 2002 Paula lived in Andalucía in Spain painting alongside her friend the late Piers Dudley-Bateman, an influential Australian artist who worked alongside Boyd and Blackman and who remains an influence in her work to this day.

Riverbed Ahead, Fowlers Gap, 2017, 48 x 70cm, Paula Jenkins

Riverbed Ahead, Fowlers Gap, 2017, 48 x 70cm, Paula Jenkins