Art Byron is a contemporary art gathering taking place across multiple venues from September 30th through to October 3rd in northern New South Wales.
In the wake of the flood events that affected Bundjalung country around Lismore, Art Byron Curator and artist Karla Dickens says the journey to create this event has been one of ‘celebrating, healing and rebuilding our lives through a creative network of recovery and expression.’ Ultimately, says Dickens ‘My involvement in Art Byron focuses on asking the audience, artists, and wider communities the question – Love or Fear?’
There will be an exhibition at the Byron School of Art (BSA) in Mullumbimby, curated by Dickens. The show will feature work from Hiromi Tango, Michael Donnelly, Polly Borland, Zion Levy Stewart, Stephen Bird, Selena Murray, Djon Mundine, Justine Muller, Ryan Andrew Lee, Elise Derwin, Tessa Walker Charles and Laith McGregor. In a separate show at the same venue, Tango and Donnelly have created new works which look at the effects of the recent flood events in Lismore. There will be artist talks held across the weekend, and at night the BSA will be illuminated with video projections by Djon Mundine, Justine Muller and Ryan Andrew Lee along with large collage works by Laith McGregor.
On Saturday join Archibald award winning artist Blak Douglas, artist and curator Dickens and Lismore Regional Gallery Curator, Kezia Geddes in conversation. Douglas won this year’s Archibald Prize for his powerful portrait of Dickens which was a visual metaphor for the floods that devastated northern NSW in early 2022. Later that day artist Polly Borland will be speaking on the process and nature of bringing work into the public sphere, with Jamie Perrow, Urban Arts Projects, and Lismore Regional Gallery Director, Ashleigh Ralph.
The Sunseeker is a hotel in Byron Bay which will double as a space for artists to connect, retreat and present their work. In one of the rooms Ozzy Wrong and Paige Miller will create an interactive and immersive installation with works for sale over the weekend. On Friday artist Laith McGregor and Geddes will be in conversation about his practice, you’ll be able to enjoy a selection of his small paintings and ceramic works in the main library and lounge space.
Thomgallery at the Byron Bay Arts & Industry Estate is hosting a show by The Tennant Creek Brio, curated by Dickens who will join the group on the Monday for a public workshop about collaboration. The artists began as an Aboriginal men’s art therapy program and have gone on as a collective to participate in the Biennale of Sydney and impart ‘a dynamic interplay of Aboriginal desert traditions, abstract expressionism, action painting, found objects, street art and art activism’ says the festival, a sentiment echoed in their name choice, ‘Brio’ meaning mettle, fire, or vivacity of style in Italian. Also on site, Yeah, Nice Gallery presents ‘Sand & Water’ comprised of work by local Bundjalung artists, Michael Philp, Garth Lena and contemporary landscape artist, Beki Davies. The group will engage in an artist talk with Ralph on the Monday.
Unless otherwise stipulated in the program most of these exhibitions and experiences are running between 10am and 4pm over the course of the festival.