See the talent and passion of Sydney’s arts and craft industry come alive at The Rocks Markets

On Sunday 15 May 2016, media and bloggers were taken on a tour of The Rocks Markets and provided an insight into the creativity of stallholders and history of The Rocks.

At The Rocks Markets you will find arts and crafts, photography, clothing, bags, Australiana, indigenous artware, one-off jewellery, books and much more.

As part of the tour we got to talk to various stallholders and heard the stories behind the unique products they created. What became apparant was that the products they created were handmade with a lot of passion and talent.

We also met Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority’s archaeologist, Wayne Johnson, who told us about the history of the families who lived in the houses for almost 200 years. In the 1970s, the local community was concerned about being moved out of The Rocks, a place they and their families had been living in for generations. They called on the trade union movement and prominent Sydney personalities to help them save The Rocks. A leading force was Nita McCrae who formed The Rocks Residents Group. McCrae could trace her ancestors in The Rocks back to 1800. By 1975, the government decided all buildings north of the Cahill Expressway were to be retained, conserved and restored. As a result of the actions of this community group, the Australian Heritage Commission Act was passed. It set about the identification and protection of both built and natural items considered important to the people of Australia.

The stallholders at The Rocks Markets included:

  1. Bell Art has created unique aromatic, dining and stationing gifts with painting of Australian native flora by Meryl Bell.
  2. AHW Studio has been designing and making jewelry for over five years. Each piece is a combination on old elegance and modern detail.
  3. Animalyser has been making quirky animal t-shirts, singlets and accessories for four years. Buyers are encouraged to select an animal which reflects their personality.
  4. Arthur Avenue creates clothing with a vintage flair and modern twist to create mesmerising designs for trendy kids.
  5. Bee Bowen creates scarfs that capture a unique snapshot of a time and place in Australia.
  6. BonnieBix makes all butter shortbread pop culture themed biscuits that are decorated with sprinkles and M&Ms on the back.
  7. By Pure Pleasure manufactures natural products for well being such as skin treatments and aromatherapy candles.
  8. Christopher Hanlon makes organics skincare, handmade leather bags and fashion accessories.
  9. Christmas Never Ends sells exclusive Christmas ornaments all year round.
  10. Cleanse with Benefits creates artisan soaps, skincare and candles.
  11. Cool Leather sells Australian kangaroo leather bracelets, necklaces, anklets, rings and accessories.
  12. Creatively Belle sells handmade jewellery.
  13. Downward Dingo has t-shirts and singlets featuring animal yoga poses.
  14. Emporium of Chocolate has unique and delicious mouth-watering chocolates.
  15. Enchanting Angels is a newly launched range of unique premium Angel teddy bear and Angel playsuits.
  16. Erlenmeyer Art is a collection of watercolours and ink artwork by Stephanie Gray including illustrations, playing cardsm gift cards, books, prints and originals.
  17. Eva Cassis is a  lifestyle brand that creates fashion, accessories and homewares.
  18. Garage 16 makes customised and redefined new clothing with a renovated look.
  19. Giorgi’s Gelato is small husband and wife owned business making premium gelato.
  20. Gourmet Tucker is a business which makes dried fruit (without sulphites or sugar, jams, marmalades and curds.
  21. Hoity Toity makes baby clothes for newborns to 18 month old toddlers.
  22. Joseph Austin prints etched artworks particularly of Australian plants and animals.
  23. Jularoo Designs makes chalkboard mats for children, and hair accessories and jewellery for females of all ages.
  24. Kanguro Originals makes Australian made garments, unique Australian Christmas cards, greeting card, 100 per cent cotton tea towels.
  25. Kerry Malone Books creates illustrations for books and is the author of ‘You can do it Joey’.
  26. Leatheron is a premium leather fashion brand created in 2013 by designer Tommy Ge. It offers a full range os women and men’s ready to wear leather and accessories.
  27. Libby Pool creates exquisite handmade paua shell jewellery which she sources from New Zealand.
  28. Market Fresh Chestnuts provides freshly roasted chestnuts that are great for winter.
  29. Matteo Berna Art is art created by Matteo Bernasconi on a variety of mediums such as watercolour, oil, ink, charcoal, print and digital media.
  30. Mini Monet Cupcakes are unique shaped cupcakes inspired by the French impressionist artist Claude Monet.
  31. Mislu specialises in handcrafted papergoods, featuring quirky and unique designs and printed using premium paperstock and archival ink.
  32. MJ Ryan Leather makes goods in the Northern Rivers, keeping the old tradition of leathercraft alive.
  33. Natalie Ness is a bespoke jewellery designer specialising in custom made pendants and charms which are locally cast and plated in antique gold.
  34. Nattivo provides handmade wooden watches and sunglasses crafted by artisans in the Caribbean using recycled tropical wood.
  35. Paula Church is a botanical and brd artist who has previously worked on the diamond jubilee state coach of HM the Queen
  36. Penelope Red designs unique clothes with lots of colour, interesting textures and mixed with vintage styling
  37. Perri Dee creates original edgy artwork that is elegant, timeless, aesthetic stimulating and exciting.
  38. Ping Lian Yeak is a young artist whose work has been exhibited around the world. He was discovered at the age of 11 and has appeared in numerous documentaries and various high-profile shows.
  39. Poco a Poco are a group of artists that create new products out of glass bottles and provide consumers with a unique range of products that also help the environment
  40. Poetry makes deliciously crisp toffee, laced with roasted almonds, topped with the finest Belgium chocolate and dusted with almond fines.
  41. Ronnie-arts provides customers with contemporary made artworks and designs.
  42. Somkiat Hansathit makes beautiful watercolour prints featuring a personal view and a collection of Sydney areas by Dtai S. Hansathit. The artist carries a small sketchbook and portable watercolour palette with him everywhere he goes. He captures the mood, atmosphere and essence of his subjects across the spectrum of day to day activities; landscape; cityscape; people; sports.
  43. Soontaree creates multipurpose and everyday items with Soontaree’s unique eye for detail.
  44. Sticky confectioners make hand made beautiful rock candy that can also be used for weddings and corporate events.
  45. Studio 106 make traditional and art nouveau style jewellery handcrafted from sterling silver with 9ct gold details and a sparkle of natural gem stones
  46. Supertrooper Studio is a multidisciplinary design studio in the Northern Beaches which utilises traditional Swedish design values of quality, functionalism and simplicity.
  47. The Licorice Shop makes a variety of flavoured certified organic liquorice.
  48. Valeria D-Annibale is a 3D printed jewellery designer that makes hand dyed jewellery.
  49. Your Nuts makes a selection of tasty caramalised nuts.
  50. The Rocks Market Buskers is: The Rosie Meader Trio, a family band based in Sydney who originated from the Netherlands; or the Mimosa Duo, a Sydney born and bred guitar and violin duo.

The Rocks Markets is open from 10am to 5pm every Saturday and Sunday.

It is located at Playfair Street, George Street and Jack Mundey Place, The Rocks.

For more information go to:

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‘Out of Africa’ exhibition launches at the SPACE Gallery

THE SPACE gallery launched its second exhibition, ‘Out of Africa’, on Wednesday 11 May 2016 with an opening night reception..

This exhibition features six artists: Marine Coutroutios, Richard Dobbie, Jody Graham, Yvonne Levenston, Eva Massaï, and Kevin Venardo. From massive sculptural jewelry, intricate paper cutouts, and savannah photography to lively charcoal drawings and vibrant paintings, these artists effectively capture the African spirit and use it to bring their work to life. Bold colours and expressive lines are defining features of all the displayed works.

Most of the work is quite large, which adds a powerful element of immersion as the artwork fills the viewer’s field of vision. Each artist takes such a unique perspective that the exhibit truly feels like a joyful tribute to the rich history and vast cultures of Africa.

The opening night is sponsored by UOS, Monkey Shoulder, and Craig’s Kitchen.

‘Out of AFRICA’ will run through May 27, 2016.

Gallery hours are Monday-Friday 9-5.

The SPACE Gallery is located at Level 9, 55 Hunter Street Sydney NSW 2000


The award winners of Australia’s most prestigious photography prize were announced in front of 1,000 guests at the official opening of the Head On Photo Festival at Sydney’s Lower Town Hall on Friday 29 April 2016.

Crowd favourite category, the Head On Portrait prize, was taken out by Antonio Heredia with his emotive portrait of brain cancer survivor, Oscar Prieto. Having beaten the disease following surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy the striking image captures Prieto’s lasting reminder; a deep scar running down the back of his skull.

First prize in the Landscape category went to David Chancellor for a moving image of an injured giraffe on the brink of death in South African. The image attempts to capture the moment between life and death, where the animal is at peace and calm in a world only it inhabits. Winner in the Mobile division was Andrew Robert Morgan, with his depiction of his 87 year old grandfather’s loss of independence, reflected in the photo through the man forced to sit in the backseat of the car for the ride home because he is no longer allowed to drive at night.

Head On Photo Festival is Australia’s premier photography event and one of the world’s leading photography festivals. The festival boasts a bustling satellite program of talks, hands-on workshops and exhibitions. Photographers submitted works covering every known field of photography, from photojournalism to fine art to reportage to commercial.

More than 4,000 entrants vied for over $50,000 worth of prizes across the four categories: Portrait, Landscape, Mobile and Student.


First place:      Antonio Heredia   – Survivor
“Some years ago, 29 year-old lawyer Oscar Prieto was diagnosed with brain cancer. Following surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, Oscar was able to beat the disease. Nowadays, he is the president of ASATE, an organization which provides help and guidance to those affected by brain cancer. By showing his own scars, Oscar tries to inspire and demonstrate that one can overcome cancer.”

Second place   Giles Clarke – Toxic Trespass
“Sameer, 16, is held by his mother Wahida at home in Bhopal’s Jamalpura neighborhood. Sameer was born to parents contaminated by carcinogenic and mutagenic water stemming from the 1984 Union Carbide gas tragedy which has claimed 25,000 lives to date. For decades thousands of families have used contaminated water leading to serious illness and birth defects, as afflicted Sameer. The title refers to scholar-activist Sandra Steingraber’s concept of toxic trespass, in which toxic chemicals enter our bodies without our consent.”

Third place      Kristian Taylor-Wood – HighScroller, Lauren Winzer 
“Lauren is one of the shining lights of the increasingly fashionable tattoo industry. Her quirky and unique pop-art tattooing style and expertise at blogging and social media have made her one of the most recognised names in the tattoo game. Lauren currently has 205K followers on Instagram, with the likes of Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus banging on her door to get inked. This portrait is part of a larger series named HighScrollers.”


First place       David Chancellor – Giraffe, Blue Sheet, Eastern Cape South Africa
“The Fallen. There’s a moment between life and death, sleeping and waking that passes in an instant. For the briefest of moments one can see the beast at peace, calm and in a world that only he inhabits. All the chaos and trauma that went before is no longer bothersome; whilst vets regroup or hunters high five he waits patiently for life to start once more, or for some this is the end, and as I watch, the eye no longer is the gateway to the soul, but rather a reflection of the sky.”

Second place   Paul Hoelen – Vanilla Sky
“Mining access roads built through the salt pan lake of Lake Lefroy, south of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.”

Third place      Yasmin Mund – Rooftop Dreams, Varanasi
“It was 5:30am and I had just arrived at my guesthouse in Varanasi and instinctively climbed the 7 flights of stairs to see the sunrise over the famous river Ganga. As I looked over the side of the rooftop terrace my jaw dropped in disbelief. Below were mothers, fathers, children, cats, dogs, monkeys all sleeping on the roofs. It was mid-summer in Varanasi and sleeping without AC was difficult.”

Landscape NSW Award                                Ireneusz Luty – Manly Beach, Sydney
“Part of the series City de Noir. City de Noir assembles a suite of black and white images that focus on presenting intimate moments extracted from the urban environment. Through this, the selection draws attention to and captures both fleeting moments and particular contexts that might represent the unseen and overlooked life within the city of Sydney. Pictures employ long-exposure infrared techniques to capture the dynamism with a sensitive restraint of palette and temporality.”


First place       Andrew Robert Morgan – Losing Independence
“My grandfather, Albert, is forced to take a back seat ride home after a family dinner because he is no longer allowed to drive at night. He is an extremely independent 87 year old man, but the truth is that he cannot continue doing everything himself.”

Second place   Markus Andersen – Veil

Third place      Ako Salemi – Freedom
A woman covered by a burqa passes by the Roze Sharif holy shrine in Mazar-e-Sharif, where white pigeons often congregate. The pigeon is the symbol of freedom in Afghanistan.”


First place       Isabelle Sijan – Girl See’s All
“Girl Sees All depicts the average teenage girl looking at life’s obstacles. This is represented via the snow-caps of New Zealand’s Mount Cook, which can be seen as a double exposure in the subject’s eyes. While the mountain may seem out of place, especially considering the somewhat empty background, it acts as a representation of the obstacles in one’s life – whether a physical challenge or mental – and thus is not equally reflected in the setting behind the girl.”

Second place   Pia Wylie – Façade
“My artwork involves placing a physical object in the form of a mirror into the natural environment, blending and blurring the lines between reality and the reflection of reality via the manmade. I love the idea of allowing a photograph, something that is 2D to show multiple facades. I aim to evoke a sense of contemplation and allow the audience to create their own personal reflection through the complex and almost surreal image.”

Third place      Ana Burenkova – Stunned
“The water was colder than they thought it would be. I managed to capture the exact moment that they both realised they’d made a terrible mistake.”



Australian audiences have been the first in the world to experience THE ART OF THE BRICK: DC COMICS exhibition and due to popular demand, the exhibition has been extended until 13 June, providing visitors with another six weeks to visit this must-see show.

Exclusive to the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, this one-of-a-kind exhibition created by renowned contemporary artist Nathan Sawaya, has already sold over 110,000 tickets.

THE ART OF THE BRICK: DC COMICS features more than 120 original works of art across 10 galleries, created using over 1 million LEGO© bricks, including a life-size Batmobile, spanning 5.5 metres (18 feet) and constructed from 500,000 bricks. Inspired by legendary characters such as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Joker, Harley Quinn and others, Sawaya has imagined large-scale sculptures featuring some of the most iconic Super Heroes and Super-Villains from the pages of DC Comics.

A new sculpture ‘Showdown’ has recently been unveiled at the exhibition and features an epic confrontation between Batman and Superman. This new, large-scale work is made from over 30,000 LEGO© bricks and its release coincided with the Australian launch of Warner Bros. Pictures film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Artist Nathan Sawaya said, “The Powerhouse Museum must have super-powers because the success of the show has exceeded my wildest expectations. Thank you to the Australian audiences who have embraced this exhibition. We are thrilled that we have been able to extend the season in Sydney.”

NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for the Arts, Troy Grant, said “This Australian exclusive for the Powerhouse Museum has been incredibly popular with families and fans of LEGO© and DC Comics. It’s a must-see and we are delighted the exhibition will be open for a further six weeks, providing more people with the opportunity to visit the exhibition before it leaves Australia.”

NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres said “We are delighted the exhibition has been extended due to popular demand, having already sold over 110,000 tickets. It was a real coup for Sydney to secure the world premiere of THE ART OF THE BRICK: DC COMICS and I encourage everyone to see this world class exhibition before it closes.”

The exhibition, supported in Australia by the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency Destination NSW, brings together contemporary artist Nathan Sawaya with Warner Bros. Consumer Products and DC Entertainment, to create the world’s largest collection of DC Comics-inspired LEGO® artwork.

THE ART OF THE BRICK: DC COMICS exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum will close on 13 June 2016. Tickets are on sale now at:

Exhibition details

What:                  THE ART OF THE BRICK: DC COMICS

Where:                Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

500 Harris St, Ultimo NSW

When:                 Closing 13 June 2016


Tickets:               To avoid the queues pre-book your tickets at

Pricing:               Adult: $26

Concession: $22

Child: $16.60

Family: $64

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The opening night of Turandot on Sydney Harbour was a star-studded event

On Thursday 24 March 2016, Opera Australia held the opening night of Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour’s Turandot at the Fleet Steps at Mrs Macquarie Point.

Turandot is opera in three acts written in the 1920s by Giacomo Puccini, completed by Franco Alfano after his death, and set to a libretto in Italian by Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni. It is a Persian tale which is set in China and is about a brave suitor that risks his life to win the love of Princess Turandot.
The scenery was spectacular, with the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney opera house in the background. The performance space is situated at the water’s edge in a pop-up opera house with purpose-built bars, restaurants and a grandstand under the stars.

For the fifth year, Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour makes the aria the “firework moment” and it’s lead tenor, Riccardo Massi, provided the Luciano Pavarotti vocals to match for the aria Nessun Dorma. There is also a magnificent, massive, fire-breathing dragon, which comes to life at a dramatically poignant moment, and a pagoda tower from which Princess Turandot rules over China.

Chinese director Chen Shi-Zheng does his best to adapt the production to a less stereotypical Westernised view of China. Italian tenor Riccardo Massi plays the smitten suitor Prince Calaf with enormous vocal passion. Serbian soprano Dragana Radakovic is an outstanding ice cold princess Turandot. However, it is Korean Australia soprano Hyeseoung Kwon who is the crowd favourite as the lovelorn servant.

The who’s who of Sydney attended this black tie event including: actress April Pengilly; Channel 7 presenter Anne Sanders; fashion designer Peter Morrissey; TV presenter Fiona Falkiner; media personality Deborah Hutton; theatre and cabaret talent Paul Capsis; actor Tim Draxi; journalism queen Ita Buttrose; TV presenter Sophie Falkiner; actor Craig McLachlan; editor and journalist Melissa Hoyer; Channel 9 news presenter Deborah Knight; artistic director of Sydney Dance company Rafael Bonachela; Home & Away actress Emily Symons; TV presenter Heather Maltman; actor, singer and writer Peter Phelps; Master Chef winners Adam Liaw and Julie Goodwin; Home & Away actors Nic Westaway and Kyle Pryor; actor Ian Stenlake; fashion designer Carla Zampatti; and the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his wife Lucy Turnbull (who arrived just after me and I had a security guard tell me from behind to move aside for a little while so he could pass).

Turandot is at Mrs Macquaries Point until April 24. For more information, go to:


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20th Biennale of Sydney unveils works by 83 artists from 35 countries

The 20th Biennale of Sydney: The future is already here — it’s just not evenly distributed was unveiled by Artistic Director Stephanie Rosenthal at a media preview on 15 March 2016.

The Biennale of Sydney is Australia’s largest contemparay art festival running from 18 March 2016 to the 5 June 2016.

it is also the Asia Pacific region’s largest contemporary visual arts event features 83 artists hailing from 35 countries and is presented free to the public across seven venues or ‘Embassies of Thought’ and multiple ‘in-between spaces’ around the inner city. The exhibition is supplemented by a comprehensive schedule of public programs including daily guided tours, artist and curator-led talks, lectures, workshops, salons, reading groups and gatherings.

Artistic Director Stephanie Rosenthal commented: “The ‘Embassies of Thought’ in the 20th Biennale have been conceived as temporary settings without set borders, representing transient homes for constellations of thought. The themes associated with each of these ‘embassies’ are inspired by the individual histories of each venue, whilst the ‘in between’ spaces speak to one of the key ideas in this Biennale exploring the distinction between the virtual and the physical worlds. We’re asking visitors to consider our interaction with the digital world, as well our displacement from and occupation of spaces and land, along with the interconnections between politics and financial power structures.”

The Biennale’s seven ‘Embassies of Thought’ are: Cockatoo Island (Embassy of the Real); Art Gallery of New South Wales (Embassy of Spirits); Carriageworks (Embassy of Disappearance); Artspace (Embassy of Non-Participation); Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (Embassy of Translation); a roving bookshop (Embassy of Stanislaw Lem) and first time venue Mortuary Station (Embassy of Transition).

Performance is an integral part of the 20th Biennale, presented at each embassy and at in-between locations by artists including: boychild, Boris Charmatz, Neha Choksi, Mette Edvardsen, Mella Jaarsma, Lee Mingwei, Adam Linder, and Justene Williams, who is collaborating with Sydney Chamber Opera.

More than half of the 200 artworks in the exhibition have been specially commissioned for the 20th Biennale of Sydney. More than a third of artworks are presented at venues in Sydney’s inner west.

In addition to artworks presented across the seven embassies, the 20th Biennale commissioned twelve site-specific projects taking place at locations throughout inner Sydney, including a new work by Swedish artist Bo Christian Larsson that will unfold over the course of three months at Camperdown Cemetery. In a former gallery space in Redfern, artist collective Brown Council (Frances Barrett, Kate Blackmore, Kelly Doley and Diana Smith) present a new participatory performance about how we recall the past and imagine the future.

Carriageworks, the Embassy of Disappearance brings together works by artists exploring themes of absence and memory, including disappearing languages, histories, currencies and landscapes. Artists presenting work at this Embassy include

Lauren Brincat, Neha Choksi, Yannick Dauby and Wan-Shuen Tsai, Minouk Lim, Yuta Nakamura, Jamie North, Bernardo Ortiz, Mike Parr and Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

The 20th Biennale of Sydney Keynote Address will be presented by leading performer, choreographer and radical innovator of dance, Boris Charmatz, on Saturday 19 March at Carriageworks. Over the past twenty years he has explored the relationship between art and philosophy, challenging preconceived notions of dance in the process. Charmatz has presented work in numerous contexts internationally – in theatres, festivals, and at institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Tate Modern, London. Tickets to the Keynote Address also include entry to a one-off performance and Australian premiere of Charmatz’s work manger (2014).

Cockatoo Island hosts the Embassy of the Real, with the former convict settlement and shipyard offering a space for artists to explore how we perceive reality in our increasingly digitised era. Artists will consider the spaces between the virtual and physical, as well as the physicality of the human body, with major works by Korakrit Arunanondchai, Lee Bul, Cevdet Erek, Cécile B. Evans, William Forsythe, Camille Henrot, Chiharu Shiota, Ming Wong, and Xu Zhen (Produced by MadeIn Company).

Artists exhibiting at the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ Embassy of Spirits explore the intersection between the spiritual and the philosophical, including works concerned with personal and religious rituals. Works presented at the Embassy of Spirits by Johanna Calle, Sheila Hicks, Mella Jaarsma, Jumana Manna, Sudarshan Shetty, Taro Shinoda and Nyapanyapa Yunupingu can also be considered in conversation with the Gallery’s rich collection of Asian and Indigenous Australian artworks.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia is transformed into the Embassy of Translation, bringing together a selection of works that contextualise historical positions, concepts and artefacts, alongside contemporary concerns and working methods. While relying on a range of different strategies, each work considers history as one material among others, restaging and reimagining it as part of the process. Artists presenting work at the MCA include Nina Beier, Noa Eshkol, Helen Marten, and Dayanita Singh.

The Embassy of Non-Participation is located at Artspace in Woolloomooloo, a former artists’ squat now renowned as a site for experimentation. For the 20th Biennale of Sydney, artist duo Karen Mirza and Brad Butler have taken over Artspace, considering the act of ‘non- participation’ as an active and critical position.

A first time venue for the Biennale of Sydney, Mortuary Station in Chippendale has been reimagined as the Embassy of Transition. Works by two artists, Marco Chiandetti and Charwei Tsai will be shown here, and in different ways they each engage with cycles of life and death, as well as rites of passage.

The Embassy of Stanislaw Lem which takes form as a roving book-stall, that will reappear at various locations throughout the Biennale. Chong’s work develops out of a process of accumulation; he has gathered together second-hand copies of Polish science fiction author Stanislaw Lem’s books (in both English and Polish), which will be available for visitors to both peruse and purchase.

To view more detailed information on performances, activities and programs initiated by artists in the 20th Biennale of Sydney please visit

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Art Month Launches in Sydney

Art Month Sydney 2016, running from 1 – 20 March 2016 in locations all around the city, has began. Headed this year by Artistic Director Barry Keldoulis, the vast program of events, exhibitions, talks and tours has some key highlights that are not to be missed. Explore unseen areas of Sydney as artists open their galleries and studios, see the city at night with exciting precinct nights, hear from artists about their practice, and see the city through the artists’ eyes with tours of inner and outer Sydney.
Sydney will come alive with the Art At Night: Precinct Nights, exploring the city’s best art precincts. Cake Wines is running the official art bar at all of these events. The art at night events will have drinks, music, art and performance:
  • East Sydney opens up over fifteen galleries to the public to explore this exciting precinct on Thursday 3 March from 6pm – 8pm. The Cake Wine Art Bar then kicks off at 7.30pm at National Art School hosting an array of activities including NAS Alumni and student projections across the walls, Alumni performances, an interactive drawing workshop as well as a series of performances including Liam Benson, Justin Shoulder and Wisteria Hysteria with Sweetie from FBi Radio DJing.
  • The neighbourhoods of Paddington & Woollahra form one of Sydney’s original art precincts. Follow the Art at Night trail from 6pm-8pm before heading to the official Art Bar by Cake Wines at Bonython courtyard, a lush secret garden on Underwood Street, for drinks, music and performances from 7:30pm – 10:30pm. Performances from Noula Diamantopoulos, Caroline Garcia and Sweetie Djing.
  • Explore the different galleries, Artist Run Spaces (ARIs) and creative spaces that make the Chippendale & Redfern neighbourhoods one of Sydney’s most dynamic art precincts. Uncover all the area has to offer before heading to the official Art Bar by Cake Wines at the Eveleigh Creative Precinct for drinks, music, installation, projection and performances from 7:30pm – 10:30pm. The exhibition throughout this building includes work from Elaine Campaner, Sarah Contos, Lucas Davidson, Michael Krebber, Rosemary Laing Lara Merrett, Eddie Peake and Gemma Smith. With performance work by Lian Loke, Wade Marynowsky and Sweetie from FBi Radio Djing.
Art Month talks give insight into the artistic practice and the art world:
  • Who Gets To Call It Art Anyway? Is a film, which explores the life of Metropolitan Museum of Art curator Henry Geldzahler as he reflects on the 1960s pop art scene in New York. Following the screening on 6 March, Artistic Director Barry Keldoulis discusses art, life and work in New York with Henry in the 1980s.
  • Spend An Evening with Caroline Rothwellone of Australia’s foremost artists, as she discusses her practice within her studio on 17 March.
  • What the Kids Think explores what it is like to be brought up in the art world. The children of prominent arts figures reveal how it has affected the way they see and experience both art and the world. The talk will be moderated by ABC personality James Valentine and speakers include: Celia Bradshaw, Evan Hughes, Anna Shapiro, Maddie Love and Tim Olsen on Saturday 12 March, 3pm – 4pm at Collectors Space (secret address to be announced, see website).
A number of tours explore Sydney and show it through the artists’ eyes:
  • Curated Bus Tours go further afield to uncover art hubs on the outskirts of Sydney, going to Parramatta to visit I.C.E (Information & Cultural Exchange) and Parramatta Artists Studios, (5 March); North with Artistic Director Barry Keldoulis (12 March); East visiting galleries in Paddington & Woollahra lead by artist and curator artist and curator Consuelo Cavaniglia (12 March); to Penrith with a tour led by artist Gary Carsley (12 March); or to Campbelltown & Casula with a tour led by artist Rosie Deacon on 20 March stopping first at Campbelltown Arts Centre to enjoy the closing festivities of Video oediV, an immersive installation of newly commissioned and existing video artworks by fifteen artists from Australia, USA, Germany, London, Thailand and Brazil, and which will also include the premiere of Emily O’Connor’s new video work that documents a discussion between Julie Ewington, Vicki Van Hout, Anna Davis, Josephine Starrs, Cigdem Aydemir, Karen Therese, Paula Abood & Salote Tawale, and then to Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre to view  The 64th Blake Prize exhibition.
  • Be led through Sydney by resident artists with Artist Tours. On 18 March Sebastian Goldspink of ALASKA Projects leads a personal tour of the diverse and vibrant area of Kings Cross, and on 19 March join artist Joan Ross who uses wit and the absurd to re-examine Australia’s colonial past to discover her Sydney.
  • Go on a Photography Walk of Marrickville with The Aperture Club for a photographic tour of hidden places and artist’s spaces as you journey through a slice of Marrickville’s urban landscape and art community. Capture some very energetic and creative artists in their varied environments on 6 March.
In 2016, Art Month introduces an additional curated exhibition and annual private art collectors exhibition:
  • Green Eyed Monster Eating its Own Tail, an exhibition curated by Art Month Sydney Artistic Director Barry Keldoulis at The Paramount Building and Golden Age Cinema & Bar, will showcase artists that make art about art and the art world. Artists include Tracey Moffatt, Tom Polo, Christine Dean, Grant Stevens, Elvis Richardson, John Citizen (aka Gordon Bennett) and PJ Hickman.
  • The Collectors’ Space celebrates private art collections and partners with long term sponsors, AON, and, for the first time in 2016, BresicWhitney, to present an exhibition at an unoccupied inner city house. The space, located on Australia Street in Camperdown, will exhibit works from the collections of Sally Dan-Cuthbert, Courtney Gibson, Danny Goldberg, and Jasper Knight.
The full Art Month Sydney program can be explored here:

Spectrum Now Festival launches its 16 day program at Opera Australia

The Sydney Morning Herald Spectrum Now Festival held its launch party at Opera Australia on Thursday 4 February 2016 .

The Sydney Morning Herald Spectrum Now Festival presented by ANZ, one of Sydney’s most diverse cultural events, today announced its 16-day program, with ticket sales now open to more than one hundred unexpected experiences across Sydney. From a playful large-scale wall painting at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and a massive music line-up at The Domain to opera and high tea at a boutique hotel, the Festival is set to spotlight the city’s creative heart and soul through four festival categories of art, music, stage and talks.

Spectrum Now Festival @ The Domain, the festival’s central hub, invites Sydneysiders to spend 11 memorable summer evenings drinking and eating with free entertainment including burlesque dancers, fire breathers, feathered showgirls and free live music alongside a ticketed Big Top venue. Visit sideshow alley for the chance to get inked by award-winning tattoo artist Leslie Rice at an LDF Pop-Up Tattoo Parlour, or get a haircut by Sydney’s favourite retro barber Tony Vacher whilst listening to ragtime bands on the back of a 1960s Dodge truck.

From March 3 to 13, an immense line-up of ticketed music events will fill The Big Top @ The Domain, curated by Paul Piticco and Jessica Ducrou, the promoters of the iconic Splendour in the Grass and Falls Music & Arts Festival. The Big Top, a bespoke undercover construction created for the first time in 2016, will host a selection of all-time favourite artists, from local to international talent. The full line-up of artists performing in the Big Top @ The Domain include: Hot Dub Time Machine; Missy Higgins; The Jesus and Mary Chain (UK); Birds of Tokyo; Calexico (USA); Augie March; RocKwiz Live; Godspeed You! Black Emperor; Seekae; U.S Girls (USA); Alvvays (CAN) and Jonathan Boulet.

Del Kathryn Barton, a Spectrum Now Festival creative ambassadors, widely recognised as one of Australia’s leading figurative painters of her generation, created an exclusive artwork for the 2016 Spectrum Now Festival program cover, titled Cosmic Crime. Commenting on her inspiration for the cover, Del Barton says: “The figurative narratives in my work began in my childhood from a desire to tangibly manifest fantasy beings. For the program cover, I think I was trying to conjure encounters with my fairy and unicorn friends.”

Travelling across the world from Burning Man and Coachella, artist Robert Bose will transform the Sydney skyline with the Australian debut of his Balloon Chain, an eye-catching installation being created in The Domain, featuring a floating helium sculpture made from dozens of latex balloons. Creating a landmark on the horizon throughout the Festival, the sculpture will morph into a striking celebration of Mardi Gras on 5 March when it becomes The Rainbow Chain. The Domain will provide a place for families and parade goers to be entertained on their way to celebrate the parade.

2016 Festival Director Caroline Kemp says: “In 2016 we’re shaking things up with a complete redesign of our beating heart, Spectrum Now Festival @ The Domain. Inspired by European town squares where all corners of the village come together to party and celebrate, my wish is for families,

Western Sydney artist Tom Polo will be at the Art Gallery of New South Wales for Painting Live: Tom Polo, creating a dynamic and playful large-scale wall painting, taking over the Gallery’s entrance court during the Spectrum Now Festival. This spectacular project unfolds entirely onsite, each day, over two weeks. Visitors to the Gallery can watch Polo’s unique creative process, engage with the artist, and see the work transform from beginning to end.

Polo comments: “Taking its cues from daily walks throughout the Art Gallery of New South Wales building, the content for my wall painting will be conceived entirely on site, changing and developing daily during Spectrum Now. It’s on these walks around the galleries that I’m aiming to collect something additional each time: a historical reference, a detail of gallery architecture, a specific colour or shape, the expression of figure in a portrait, a snippet of banal conversation between visitors, an overheard opinion about a work in the galleries, a greeting with a member of staff, an encounter with a curious visitor.”

Two highlights of the 2015 inaugural Festival talks program, Pillow Talk and Cultural Crush, return in 2016. Presented over four heated nights at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the audience is invited to experience a healthy mix of stimulating and provocative conversations.

Pillow Talk delves into the intimate and personal lives of Australia’s leading creative couples, and on March 6 and 16 at the Art Gallery of NSW will feature: David and Kristin Williamson; David and Lisa Campbell; Rob Carlton and Adrienne Ferreira; Richard Tognetti and Satu Vänskä; Max Cullen and Margarita Georiadis; along with Dan Wyllie and Shannon Murphy.

Cultural Crush invites pre-eminent journalists to cross-examine their dream subject in front of a live audience, kicking off on March 9 with award-winning investigative journalist Kate McClymont putting renowned Australian film director Bruce Beresford under the spotlight, while journalist, columnist and screenwriter Benjamin Law will interview award-winning journalist, author and anchor of the ABC’s 7:30pm program, Leigh Sales. Continuing on March 14 Sydney Morning Herald columnist and ABC Drive show host Richard Glover asks the big questions of Australian actress, playwright and screenwriter, Kate Mulvany, while Annabel Crabb, ABC’s chief online political writer, weekly Fairfax opinion columnist and author of the bestselling book The Wife, nuts it out with Australian writer Frank Moorhouse.

For the second year running, Spectrum Now Festival is presented by ANZ. ANZ has a long history of supporting arts in New South Wales, helping to bring to life a diverse range of programs that promote diversity and encourage creative expression. Catriona Noble, ANZ Managing Director Retail Distribution Australia comments: “Spectrum Now Festival encourages audiences to discover the breadth of talent on offer in Sydney and to engage with new experiences through music, art, theatre and thought-provoking conversations.

To complement this diverse program, we are excited to present the ANZ Blue Stage Series that will feature a lineup of events for undiscovered musicians to share their talent. Sydney-siders can enjoy pop-up performances from these artists at Martin Place, Pitt Street Mall and The Domain throughout the festival period.”

Other program highlights exclusive to Spectrum Now Festival:

– As part of the Talks program, Todd McKenny, Georgie Parker and Emma Palmer will reveal hilarious stories about their teenage years with Confessions of a Teenage Diary at Ensemble Theatre, followed by a Q&A on March 6 & March 8.

– Taking over on 7 March for a huge outdoor Broadway sing-a-long is the free Pop-Up Marie’s Crisis Broadway Sing-along, travelling all the way from its West Village roots in New York City. Partnering with Hayes Theatre Co., audiences are invited to star alongside some of Australia’s best musical theatre talent and sing their hearts out right in The Domain, while the Marie’s Crisis Festival Bar will be set up evenings from 1-10 March at Parlour Lane Roasters, QT Sydney.

– Tattersall’s Club, Hyde Park will play host to a night of conversations with barrister, writer, Archibald study and bon vivant Charles Waterstreet, with Charles Waterstreet Coversations on March 11.

– The National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) presents a thought provoking panel conversation, titled ‘The Creative Future is Now!’ on March 4, in Woolloomooloo, focussed the booming creative industry and what this means for individual practitioners.

– Returning from a sold out event in 2015, Ken Done opens the doors to his studio in the Rocks on March 9, inviting guests to enjoy a cocktail and hear stories of his vibrant career.

– Sydney-based Mexican artist El Peque presents El Peque: Arte Urbano, at 107 Projects in Redfern, exploring the nexus of social and magic urban realism with a new body of work using paper, board and canvas.

– Returning after huge success in 2015, Harmony Park in Surry Hills will host Carousel, a curated event on March 12, showcasing the work of Sydney’s innovative creatives from food, fashion, art and music.

– Mindfullness & Music: The Vegas Nerve Experience, invites the audience to groove and de-stress, at the Coogee Diggers Club to live band The Vegas Nerve on March 6 and March 7.

– Pitt Street Uniting Church presents Dead Men Talking, a “war of words” staring Henry Lawson (Max Cullen) and Banjo Patterson (Warren Fahey).

In 2015, the Spectrum Now Festival attracted 100,000 people across over 200 exhibitions, gigs and events, under the direction of actor Richard Roxburgh.

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VIVID Sydney is set to shine even brighter this year with its biggest program ever

Vivid Sydney, now in its seventh year, is set to shine even more brightly in 2015 when the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas delivers its biggest program yet. For 18 nights, from 22 May – 8 June, Vivid Sydney will again transform the city and harbour.

The 2015 program includes expansion into new city precincts Chatswood and Central Park , its biggest ever music program including Australian exclusives such as The Hoodoo Gurus at the Powerhouse Museum and Daniel Johns’ international solo debut at the Sydney Opera House, and heavy-hitting speakers at Vivid Ideas.

Vivid Sydney is an incredible public event that has seen amazing growth, attracting a record 1.43 million attendees in 2014. It’s the largest festival of its kind in the world, and with our biggest program yet, there’s even more to love about Vivid Sydney this year.

Favourite locations Circular Quay , Walsh Bay , Martin Place , and Darling Harbour are back with over 60 light installations and projections with even more opportunity for visitors to get hands on, more water theatre shows – this time with lasers and fire – and new and expanded programming at Pyrmont and The Star and the University of Sydney . The sandstone canvases of Customs House and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) will also return with spectacular new 3D projections.

With all eyes on the Sydney Opera House , Lighting of the Sails will once again take its place as the centrepiece of the amazing light spectacular during Vivid Sydney, with Universal Everything promising awe-inspiring projections that will reimagine the architecture as a living mural, with a diverse series of vibrant, hand-drawn sequences.

Vivid Music will introduce its most expansive program yet, featuring more shows and venues and an impressive line-up of local and international talent, The Hoodoo Gurus will perform an exclusive one-off show at the Powerhouse Museum and a new line up of cutting edge, innovative performances will be held across the city at new venues Goodgod Small Club , Oxford Art Factory and Freda’s , with the Seymour Centre , The Basement , The Argyle and Barrio Cellar part of the line-up again in 2015.

Part of the Vivid Music program, Vivid LIVE at the Sydney Opera House features a 10-night run of exclusive Sydney-only performances and for the first time will also include two large scale outdoor events, internal light projections and an event for kids and families. Features include four exclusive performances from Morrissey, Daniel Johns in his international solo debut, Sufjan Stevens in his only Australian performances and FCX – 10 Years of Future Classics featuring Flume and Flight Facilities .

With a line-up of heavy-hitting speakers, Vivid Ideas introduces The Game Changers , a new talk series this year headlined by three global influencers: multi Emmy-winning writer Matthew Weiner , series creator and executive producer of Mad Men and former executive producer and writer on The Sopranos; Grammy-winning designer Stefan Sagmeister , whose clients include the Rolling Stones, Lou Reed and the Guggenheim Museum; and entrepreneur and publisher Tyler Brûlé , founder of the world-famous magazines Wallpaper and Monocle .

Vivid Sydney welcomes the return of Intel, a world-leader in computing technology, as event partner for the fifth consecutive year. 2015 Supporters include Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, City of Sydney, Sydney Opera house, The Star, Canon, Indeed, 32 Hundred Lighting, Oracle and TDC.

For more information on Vivid Sydney visit

Deckchair Arts provides a feast to the senses on a Sunday afternoon

It is a lovely Sunday afternoon when you are invited to take a seat by Sydney Harbour and be treated to delicious food, drinks and an incredible array of performing artists. On Sunday 15 March 2015, the well-loved deckchairs from the Writers Festival returned to Walsh Bay outside the event venue Simmer on the Bay for Deckchair Arts.

Deckchair Arts is an amazing arts performance showcase that is part of the Sydney Morning Herald’s Spectrum Now, which is presented by ANZ bank. The event was inspired by last year’s Walsh Bay Arts Table, which invites guests to sit in a deckchair by the water and enjoy an afternoon of entertainment and fine food.

Guests enjoyed performances throughout the afternoon including didgeridoo musician Matthew Doyle, spoken word performer Miles Merrill and special guest percussionist and composer Tony Lewis.

Guests were served an incredible array of food from Simmer on the Bay’s renowned chef. Brigid Kennedy, including prawns, oysters, paella, roast pork, duck pancakes, dumplings, and gelato accompanied by a wide selection of fine wines.

I could not think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

For more information about other Spectrum Now events go to:

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