New exhibition explores our borders

Gold Coast and Northern New South Wales are two sides of the same region divided by a state border. ‘Borderlands’ is an exhibition exploring that notion through the art of 12 local artists.

Being held in M|Arts precinct in June, the exhibition is curated by local artists Byron Coathup and Amelia Reid. “This exhibition is an exploration of artists responding to the border. We acknowledge the idea of indigenous interpretation of borders as well and the traditional custodians of the land,” said Byron.

The exhibition has invited 12 emerging and established artists living and working within a 50km radius of the state border to interpret their ideas and experiences of living in close proximity to the border.

“Both of us came to this idea pretty much at the same time. I was thinking about this concept few years ago as a personal creative project and after Byron and I talked, the idea of a group show evolved,” co-curator Amelia Reid described.

Many artists and creative minds in the area work on both sides of the border, whether in a physical capacity commuting regularly or as part of a cross-border creative collaboration or work.

“[The concept] also comes down to me as an artist,” Byron told us. “I cross the border every day. Gold Coast may be considered to be the opposite of northern New South Wales in a certain sense, but once the idea of a border is broken down, the similarities are numerous. I think the internet today makes the world smaller and brings everyone together. Everyone knows what is happening. But the feeling of living and working in a community and the people you meet (unrelated to art) all have a connection to who you are. We are Australian artists, not Gold Coast or Murwillumbah artists.”

Byron has lived on the Gold Coast for many years and has recently moved to the creative hub of Northern New South Wales, Murwillumbah. Amelia, originally from Sydney, has been living in Murwillumbah since 2013. It was an obvious direction to take for Byron to identify six Gold Coast based artists and Amelia to identify six New South Wales artists.

The artists are a cross-over between emerging and established artists working on different platforms and medias from multimedia to sound and craft. All the work included in the show represents different disciplines approaching the concept through different dialogues. “There is a real, lived experience to the topic here,” Amelia summarised.

“I would like each work speak its own particular truth and for it to harmonise the other work. Become greater than its parts,” Amelia continued. “Murwillumbah is a really exciting place to work in. Byron Shire and Gold Coast are culturally and artistically so strong right now and living their practises.”

‘Borderlands’ features works by Christine Willcocks, Ellie Beck, Geoff Davidson, Mitchell Schultz, Amelia Reid, Chris Bennie, Rebecca Ross, Hannah Cutts, Aaron Chapman, Byron Coathup, Ree Hegh, and Tim Wilson. It runs from 7 to 29 June in the Long Gallery at the M|Arts Precinct, Murwillumbah.

IMAGE (c) Aaron Chapman, exhibiting artist

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