SEALEVEL - The Art of Awareness - Ocean Photography Exhibition by Ted Grambeau

Renowned ocean, surf and adventure photographer Ted Grambeau has created a collection of abstract ocean images in hope of bringing our attention to the very real issue of climate change.

For over 40 years, Melbourne-born Ted Grambeau has been consumed by his quest to capture the world through his lens. It's an obsession that has led him on a journey to nearly 100 countries, exhausting over a dozen passports. He’s mostly known for leading adventure expeditions into remote locations in search of undiscovered waves and is most at home when deeply immersed in the ocean.


“Photography is more than a passion, it is my life,” he says. With formal studies in Illustrative photography at RMIT University in Melbourne, Grambeau communicates an intimate relationship with light, a sophisticated understanding of its various expressions – the refraction, reflection and absorptions. The documentary nature of this project requires that Ted be at the waters edge before dawn, when most of us haven’t even thought about opening our eyes.

When he’s not chasing monster waves half way around the world, he prefers to live by the ocean at Currumbin on the Gold Coast. Finding balance, Ted keeps life ‘low key’ but when given the opportunity to share his thoughts on photography an animated creative is revealed.

Screen Shot 2018-03-20 at 9.53.32 am.jpg

He is inspired by the Masters Henri Cartier-Bresson and Sebastião Salgado. A photojournalist style is expressed in his work after having spent his formative time assisting the great Magnum legend Burt Glinn of New York.

As Ted explains his views on environmental issues, he touches on the frustration he feels towards climate change and the urgency of action that needs to occur before our sea levels rise beyond the point of no return. “The effects will be devastating before we actually notice.” he says.

Image courtesy Trent Mitchell

Image courtesy Trent Mitchell

Ted is one of the world’s great surf and ocean photographers. Over the past 30 or so years he’s had more surf magazine covers than he can remember. His CV of magazine articles, expeditions, movies and books is an afternoon's read in anyone's language. He studies and monitors weather maps and understands the intricacies of an impending swell forecast well in advance. He has traveled to locations that will be lost, submerged under water once the sea levels start to rise due to the change in climate.

Excited by the prospects of exhibiting his work again, Ted reflects on the first time he showed his SEALEVEL Series at the Pipeline Gallery in Hawaii. Special guests like Kelly Slater and leading environmentalist Jack Johnson came along, with Jack’s wife Kim selecting a few pieces to hang in their home on the North Shore. And then in Sydney at the prestigious Stanley Street Gallery in Darlinghurst as a featured solo exhibition for the Head On Photo Festival. “It’s always great to spend some time chatting with art collectors and critics, all with an ecstatically positive response so far. “It’s nice to use my photography in a positive manner and that I have something to give and make a contribution for spending a bit of time on the planet.”

sealevel #3

sealevel #3

Ted’s current exhibition is showing at the Hinge Gallery, located at the Dust Temple in Currumbin as part of the Bleach Festival and Gold Coasts Arts and Culture feature coinciding with the 2018 Commonwealth Games celebrations. Opening night will be a bit special as Grambeau will be launching and signing copies of his new book Adventures in Light - a photographic journey spanning four decades combined with his abstract ocean photography exhibition SEALEVEL - The Art of Awareness.

Talk Suite | Coming into Fashion

The Arts Centre Gold Coast is hosting an impressive talk suit to coincide with the Coming into Fashion: A Century of Photography at Condé Nast exhibition.

This full-day talk suite will see the biggest names in Australian and international fashion come together with journalists, practitioners, and thought leaders to discuss their expertise and the future of the industry. With two full panels and two intimate in-conversation sessions, the day is punctuated by a networking lunch. Talk Suite attendees will gain free entry to the exhibition and also have the chance to mingle and speak directly with the special guests at the end of the day.

Saturday 25 November | 10am – 4.30pm | Tickets $45

Talk Suite Schedule


Condé Nast, The Empire
10am – 11am
This panel will see Coming into Fashion Exhibition Curator
Natalie Herschdorfer, Exhibition Manager Todd Brandow,
Vogue Australia Deputy Editor Sophie Tedmanson, and
curator and writer Alison Kubler come together to discuss
the enduring legacy of publishing house Condé Nast.
They will dissect, critique, and celebrate the iconic images
featured in the exhibition, exchanging opinions and stories
you won’t be able to hear anywhere else. Attendees will
gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the best
artists and photographers in contemporary fashion history.

Oracle Fox Talks
11.15am – 12.15pm
Amanda Shadforth is the brains and creative genius behind
one of the world’s most recognised fashion destinations,
Oracle Fox. Alison Kubler will host this intimate in-conversation
session and together they will cover the future of fashion
photography, illustration, and what social media means for
photography. Amanda is an accomplished illustrator and artist,
and has worked as a photographer and stylist on dynamic
digital campaigns and creative projects for international luxury
brands such as Versace, Ralph Lauren and Louis Vuitton. She
has grown Oracle Fox’s audience to its current reach of over
1.5 million people.

Lunch break with beverages and networking


Sunday Best to Fast Fashion
1.30pm – 2.30pm
How has the way we make, sell, and market clothes
changed? Listen to an illuminating (and at times alarming)
conversation with Clare Press, the highly regarded author
of Wardrobe Crisis: How We Went From Sunday Best to
Fast Fashion. Clare is the Fashion Editor-at-Large at Marie
Claire Australia, Daily Life’s Sustainable Style columnist,
and now produces the Wardrobe Crisis podcast. Hosted by
Alison Kubler, these women bring their combined wealth
of research and real-world experience to discuss the
evolution of the fashion system, from past to present, and
will discuss what they see as the future of fashion. Clare
will be available for book signings after their conversation.


Fashion and the Sartorial Gentleman
2.45pm – 3.45pm
The final session for the day will be a lively discussion
between two of fashion’s finest gentlemen, hosted by Alison
Kubler. Men in This Town began as a street style blog, and in
the past seven years Creative Director Giuseppe Santamaria
has grown the project into a magazine, book, and concept
space. Paul Hunt’s studio is in Brisbane, but he also spends
time each year sourcing fabrics and finding the inspiration for
his award-winning couture in Paris. Giuseppe and Paul both
have, and purvey, impeccable style, and this panel promises a
worldly insight into both Australian and international fashion.

After drinks and networking, the day will
conclude at 4.30pm

Talk Suite image - Sebastian Kim, Teen Vogue, January 2011 © Sebastian Kim  

Talk Suite image - Sebastian Kim, Teen Vogue, January 2011 © Sebastian Kim  

Coming into Fashion: Condé Nast fashion retrospective opens at ACGC

The highly-anticipated fashion photography retrospective Coming into Fashion: A Century of Photography at Condé Nast opens Friday at The Arts Centre Gold Coast.

The greats are all here: images by Cecil Beaton, Irving Penn, Helmut Newton, Herb Ritts and Mario Testino (& more!) line the gallery walls. It's a must-see exhibition for anyone living in, or visiting the Gold Coast.

Here is what's on offer:


Opening Night | Coming into Fashion

Friday 24 November | 6pm – 9pm | Tickets $90
The opening night party is your opportunity to mingle with the style greats and get an exclusive first look at Coming into Fashion: A Century of Photography at Condé Nast. Your ticket includes flowing drinks and delicious canapés through the night, touch-ups and tips from the experts at the Garbo & Kelly Beauty Bar, and photo opportunities at the designer vogueing wall. Once you’ve taken in the exhibition, spend the rest of the night on the dance floor with live band Tesla Coils and a vinyl DJ. As an opening night guest you will gain free entry into the exhibition plus one more ticket for when you want to return later in the season.


Talk Suite | Coming into Fashion


Saturday 25 November | 10am – 4.30pm | Tickets $45
This full-day talk suite will see the biggest names in Australian and international fashion come together with journalists, practitioners, and thought leaders to discuss their expertise and the future of the industry. With two full panels and two intimate in-conversation sessions, the day is punctuated by a networking lunch. Talk Suite attendees will gain free entry to the exhibition and also have the chance to mingle and speak directly with the special guests at the end of the day.

General Admission

25 Nov 2017 until 18 Feb 2018, open daily 10am-5pm (closed Christmas Day)

Coming into Fashion: A Century of Photography at Condé Nast is a ticketed exhibition on display at Gold Coast City Gallery. With unprecedented access to the vast Condé Nast archives, this exhibition highlights the sparkling intersection between photography and fashion.


General exhibition image: Sølve Sundsbø, Love, Spring/Summer 2011© Sølve Sundsbø/Art + Commerce. Subsequent images:  Miles Aldridge, Vogue Italia, September 2002,© Miles Aldridge. Albert Watson, American Vogue, May 1977© 1977 Condé Nast. Sebastian Kim, Teen Vogue, January 2011 © Sebastian Kim Clifford Coffin, American Vogue, June 1949, © 1949 Condé Nast.

New Photography Book Sheds Touching Light on Byron Homeless

No Fixed Abode is a book of portrait photographs and intimate stories that give voice to Byron’s homeless community. The book was created to build connection, empathy and understanding for the region’s homeless community.

The black and white photographic portraits in the book are the work of local photographer Drew Rogers, who also works with people experiencing homelessness in Byron. The trust and friendship that he has with his subjects is evident in the images.

An astonishing book… the photographs by Drew of these homeless people are brimful of humanity, almost glamorous… heartfelt stories by the writers… I hope one of these days a book like this won’t be needed.
— Craig McGregor, writer, journalist, & academic

The book’s stories are presented in firstperson narrative and have been collected by a team of local volunteer writers who’ve visited the services such as community breakfasts and showers in Byron Bay, Mullumbimby and Brunswick Heads over many months. The stories present an intimate insight into the lives of these storytellers. Such as from Lou:
“It was just before my fourteenth birthday when I went to the streets for the first time. My first night on the street I was sleeping under a band stand and three dogs attacked me, so I scrambled up a tree and tried to tie my sleeping bag under a branch. The sleeping bag gave way and I fell … I’d broken twelve bones and had fractures in my spine.”


"No Fixed Abode, published by the Byron Community Centre and The Byron Writers Festival gently addresses that callous disconnect by giving otherwise stifled, invisible Australians a face and a voice. By exploring the stories of people who’ve fallen through society’s cracks, readers can better understand some of the common trajectories of disenfranchisement – and what a truly horrible thing it is to be without a home." -Byron Community Centre

The book is a not-for-profit project that has been made possible by contributors volunteering their professional skills, and through the support of the Byron Community Centre, Byron Writers Festival and private donors L & R Uechtritz Foundation and Temple Byron. 

Rosie's life lines reel in Olive Cotton people's choice prize

Michael Cook's close-up portrait Memories has been voted the public's favourite in the Olive Cotton Award People's Choice Award, with visitors describing it as a "profound" and "powerful" image.


The well-known Sunshine Coast photographer was thrilled with the news and indicated he would be giving the $250 winner's prize to Rosie, the subject of his black and white portrait.

Visitors to the Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre said the detailed portrait effectively captured Rosie's character by starkly depicting what a number of voters described as her "life lines".

Cook described Rosie as a beautiful person who kindly introduced him to bush tucker and is everyone's favourite grandmother in her community.

"I wanted to capture her beauty physically and within. I think the photograph allows the viewer to not only see a lifetime of memories but to actually feel who she is beyond appearance," he said.

The People's Choice Award, funded by the Friends of the Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre Inc, helped wrap up this year's Olive Cotton Award for photographic portraiture.

Hundreds of visitors to the exhibition took the opportunity to vote for their favourite work from the 72 finalists, which were on display at the Tweed Regional Gallery until 8 October.

Voting was close, with the portrait Trevor Jamieson by Brett Canet-Gibson of WA just 30 votes behind.

The biennial competition reinforced its claim as Australia's top photographic portraiture prize by attracting record entries this year. Entrants ranged from many high-profile photographers to a strong field of emerging artists, including the Olive Cotton Award's youngest finalist, 12-year-old local Ari Messina.

The end of this year's exhibition also brought to a close a 'selfie' competition to promote the new social media pages for the Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre.

Sherry Mackay won a Tweed Regional Gallery prize pack, featuring Margaret Olley merchandise, for snapping herself with her favourite portrait, featuring actor and comedian Bill Bailey.

Sarah K8 @cloudcatcher15 chose Anita Modok's portrait, in absentia: Judy Cassab's bedroom, for her selfie on Instagram and won a $100 food and drinks voucher from the Gallery Cafe. She said the colours, composition and texture are "absolutely divine".

"I could totally move in and make it my own room!!" she said.

Local photographer, 12, becomes youngest Olive Cotton finalist

The list of finalists for the Olive Cotton Award in 2017 features many of the biggest names in Australian portrait photography, but it has also continued the emergence of a talented young local.

In 2014, Ari Messina was a winner in Tweed Regional Gallery's Les Peterkin prize for portraits for local primary school children.

Fast forward just three years and Messina, now aged 12, has become the youngest finalist for the Olive Cotton Award, which has been touted as Australia's leading prize in portrait photography.

His piece, Dark Side of a Girl, hangs among the other 71 finalists for 2017, on exhibition in Tweed Regional Gallery until Sunday 8 October.

Ari Messina, right.

Ari Messina, right.

Messina said his selection as a finalist was a "really big surprise".

"I wasn't expecting it to be a finalist. I was shocked at first but it felt so good," he said. "At the time I took it, I didn't have any intention to enter it in the Olive Cotton Awards, but after I looked at it on the computer, my mum and I knew it would be good to enter."

Messina said he was exposed to photography from a very early age because his grandfather and uncle are both photographers.

"Being immersed in it really got me to enjoy taking photos," he said.

Messina says he does not have any particularly ambitions with his photography. "Right now I am just enjoying taking photos and learning how to use my camera."

Ari Messina's  Dark Side of a Girl

Ari Messina's Dark Side of a Girl

2017 Olive Cotton Award Winner Justine Varga provides insight into her controversial win

Justine Varga has said that she could feel tension in the room when she was announced the winner of the 2017 Olive Cotton Award.

The prestigious prize for photographic portraiture was awarded to Ms Varga, despite the image not depicting a face, and a camera wasn’t used.  The judge, Dr Shaun Lakin, gave generous reasoning for his decision, which seemed to relax the crowd at the award ceremony. But the fallout was immediate. The Sydney Morning Herald ran a front page story titled 'Olive Cotton Award: Photographic portrait prize awarded to image without a face', and later, 'Justine Varga's Olive Cotton prize: questions of art over a grandmother's prizewinning scrawl'. Even The Times UK weighed in: "In fact, there’s little human about the work’s sqiggles and smears".

Here, Ms Varga provides BAM with her perspective.

BAM.  Please tell us your thoughts on why the piece is a portrait.
Varga.  “I thought the judge for this year’s Olive Cotton Award, Shaun Lakin, was very eloquent in explaining why he thought my photograph was indeed a portrait and I can do no better than quote his words:

‘The winning photograph is a really extraordinary photographic portrait, but one that withholds from us the physical appearance of its subject. Instead of showing us what the subject looks like, it uses her handwriting and her saliva to build a very moving portrait not just of a person — in this case, the artist’s elderly grandmother — but also of a relationship between two extraordinary women.
So, I know that Justine Varga’s photograph Maternal Line will confound a few of you, and no doubt some people will be dismayed that a photograph that does not actually ‘show’ its subject can win Australia’s most important photographic portrait prize. But the basic facts are that this work is, more than most — in fact I would say above all — of the photographs in this exhibition, profoundly photographic. Not just in the way that it relies on photography’s historical processes — film and the darkroom — but also in the way that it engages with the idea of the photograph as a trace of its subject. Our emotion and psychic relationship to photographs of loved ones is often based on the fact that they stood or sat there in front of the camera — that their body left its imprint or image on the photographic print. This is part of photography’s power. Think especially of a photograph of a parent who has died — their body was there, and the photograph is evidence of this.
Here, we have the most basic photographic trace — an elderly woman writing directly onto the photographic plate, and making marks with her saliva, creating a portrait which has been exquisitely printed to a monumental scale. While it looks abstract, it is, as the artist says in her statement, profoundly realistic.
In the end, the thing that ‘got’ me about this photograph was the way that it engaged me emotionally — in the direct experience of it. Again, you really need to stand before the print, which is so beautiful, and so melancholic in its way. To be able to witness and share a moment of significant emotional and cultural exchange between two women at such different points in their lives, both of whom have equally created this photograph.’

Justine Varga (b.1984) Maternal Line 2017, chromogenic hand printed photograph from 5 x 4 inch negative. Courtesy of the artist and Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide. Tweed Regional Gallery collection. © The artist

Justine Varga (b.1984) Maternal Line 2017, chromogenic hand printed photograph from 5 x 4 inch negative. Courtesy of the artist and Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide. Tweed Regional Gallery collection. © The artist

How did you come to the idea of creating this piece?
Varga.  "The form of my work is often determined by the circumstances in which I am living and working. At the moment I am spending a lot of time living with my grandmother and so I get to closely observe her. I try and make my photography an extension of my life, not something that is separate from it. Photography is something that is always with me. In fact, I can safely say that my entire way of being centres around it. In this instance, I brought a piece of photographic film, a negative, into my grandmother’s home and had her leave her own inscriptions on it. Her actions on the piece of film, so redolent of her character, of her love of doing things, of her way of always keeping busy, allowed me to conjure out of a piece of light-sensitive film a powerful portrait of the kind of person she is. I also chose this action because I wanted the marks that she made onto the negative surface to be automatic — I didn’t want her to get in the way of herself by feeling like she had to perform and make a work of art. As within all of my photography, there was only one attempt at this work. This is because my photography is about the action it is recording and not what looks most aesthetically pleasing. It simply is what it is. But the idea behind the portrait goes even further than gesture alone. With the trace of her hand and a touch of her saliva she is manifest within and as the photograph. In other words, there is no separation between her and the photographic object. When she is no longer of this world I will still always have her with me. If you close your eyes and imagine a loved one, I can almost guarantee that the impression you will find won’t be crisp and clear — it will be muffled and somewhat muted, just a memory of a gesture or the sound of a laugh, yet somehow you know it is them. My photography evokes this kind of sensation and I can’t express how close I feel to my grandmother when I view Maternal Line. Through it, I am nearer to her than any of the many lens-based photographs I have of her.

What is your feeling and reaction to the controversy?
Varga.  "I don’t court controversy but do insist on making the kind of work I feel is necessary. I think everyone benefits if the community is thinking about and debating issues — What is a portrait? What is a photograph? — as long as that debate takes place in a considered manner.

Is this sort of wide experimentation a frequent part of your process?
Varga.  "I am always seeking to direct my work into new areas. And really, this stems from a deep love for the photographic medium — I want to explore what a photograph is and what it is capable of retaining. As making photographs is my full time occupation, I would hate to know what each and every work was going to be and look like before it is finished — how incredibly boring! So, yes, experimentation of various kinds is fundamental to my work. This means sometimes I use a camera and sometimes I don’t, but with either method I am always pushing my concepts, along with the photographic materials and equipment I use, to an extreme. For an example, the negative from which the print of Maternal Line derives is incredibly over-exposed — it has been handled in the most uncouth manner. I have used a photographic process to collaborate with my subject in an effort to capture her more intensely than I otherwise might have been able to do. The resultant work that is currently on display at Tweed Regional Gallery, hung among my peers, for whom I have such enormous respect, is a culmination of all my experimentation with the medium to date."

Varga's large-scale work in homage to her grandmother won the $20,000 overall prize for the 2017 Olive Cotton Award, announced in an official opening and presentation ceremony at Tweed Regional Gallery, Murwillumbah on Saturday July 22. 


2017 Olive Cotton Award Winner Announced

Sydney photographer Justine Varga's large-scale work in homage to her grandmother has won the $20,000 overall prize for the 2017 Olive Cotton Award.

This year's judge, Dr Shaune Lakin, Senior Curator of Photography at the National Gallery of Australia (NGA), took a number of hours to make his final selection, saying Varga's entry is "a very moving portrait of the artist's relationship with and love for her grandmother".

Varga's work, Maternal Line, was selected from the work of 72 finalists, including emerging and established photographers from throughout Australia.

Winning photographer Justine Varga and 2017 judge Dr Shaune Lakin with overall prizewinner,  Maternal Lines .

Winning photographer Justine Varga and 2017 judge Dr Shaune Lakin with overall prizewinner, Maternal Lines.

Lakin described Maternal Line as "a series of scrawls made by the artist's grandmother directly onto a piece of film [which] has been printed at monumental scale".

"While Justine's work is very contemporary, she's also deeply interested in the history of photography.  It's a very complex photographic portrait ... it made me think a lot about the act of the making a portrait - about what it means today to make a photograph of someone else, even if in the end it doesn't reveal what they look like," he said.

The Papapetrou Family, a striking portrait by Sydney photographer Anne Zahalka, caught the eye of both Lakin and the Gallery's Director, Susi Muddiman OAM. The theatrical and highly constructed portrait - depicting celebrated photographer Polixeni Papapetrou and The Age art critic Robert Nelson - was snapped up as the 2017 Director's Choice Acquisition for the Gallery, using funds from the Friends of the Gallery. It was also one of five Highly Commended works chosen by the Judge.

Anne Zahalka,  The Papapetrou Family  2017, dye sublimation on chromalux metal

Anne Zahalka, The Papapetrou Family 2017, dye sublimation on chromalux metal

Lakin also Highly Commended:

  •  Jed & Sam2016 by Warwick Baker from Melbourne (type C print) - an intimate and moving double portrait taken in the couple's bedroom.
  •  Ghost2017 by Tina Fiveash from Sydney (digital print) - a poignant and thought provoking image of a woman in the desert.
Tina Fiveash,  Ghost  2017, digital print

Tina Fiveash, Ghost 2017, digital print

  •  My ghost2017 by Polixeni Papapetrou from Melbourne (screen print on gold metallic foil and linen) - a haunting and beautiful portrait of the artist's daughter Olympia.
  •  Timmily  2017by Rod McNicol from Melbourne (digital print) - a striking portrait in McNicol's ongoing documentary of the 'variegated' inhabitants of his home in inner city Melbourne.

Visitors to the exhibition can vote for their 'people's choice', with a $250 prize for the most popular finalist, funded by the Friends of the Gallery.

A record 492 entries were received this year for the biennial award, which is funded by Olive Cotton's family in memory of Cotton, who was one of Australia's leading 20th century photographers.  Lakin is a keen proponent of Cotton's work and was curator of the exhibition Max & Olive: The photographic life of Olive Cotton and Max Dupain which was toured by the NGA in 2016-17.

A full list of finalists is available on the Gallery's website.

The Olive Cotton Award exhibition will run until Sunday 8 October. The Gallery is open Wednesdays to Sundays from 10am to 5pm (closed Mondays and Tuesdays). Entry to view the exhibition is free.

2017 Olive Cotton Award Finalists on display

The 72 finalists in this year's Olive Cotton Award for photographic portraits, opening at Tweed Regional Gallery today, are a "snapshot of our times", according to Award Coordinator Anouk Beck.

James Brickwood,  British Comedian

James Brickwood, British Comedian

Ms Beck said the 2017 judge, Shaune Lakin, chose a shortlist of finalists that examined many contemporary issues and reflected the ideas, techniques and styles of the overall record pool of entries.

"Entrants have explored themes of masculinity, cultural diversity and immigration, transgender transformation, family and mortality," she said.

"The portraits range from theatrically-posed tableaux to moments advantageously snatched."

A total of 492 entries were received for the 2017 award, continuing a steady increase in submissions for the Gallery's biennial competition. All 72 finalists will be on exhibition at Tweed Regional Gallery until Sunday 8 October.

Twelve-year-old Tweed Shire resident Ari Messina is among the finalists, along with a number of well-known photographers including Michael Cook, Polixeni Papapetrou, Stephen Dupont, Anne Zahalka and Julie Rrap.

They are vying for a $20,000 prize for the overall winner, to be announced at the opening function and awards announcement on Saturday from 5pm.

Stephen DuPont,  Up in the Sky

Stephen DuPont, Up in the Sky

This year's Olive Cotton Award has again attracted a wide spectrum of photographic styles. Some have embraced an historic wet plate printing technique, while others challenge the whole concept of a portrait - at a time when technology is transforming photographic portraiture.

Dr Lakin, the National Gallery of Australia's Senior Curator Photography, said "we shared about 24 billion selfies in 2015, and who knows how many photographs of friends sitting opposite the dinner table or of children doing this or that are among the more than one trillion photographs we will take and share this year."

"All of this has had a huge impact, not just on the social practice of photographic portraiture but on its form. Think, for example, about the way that the digital selfie phenomenon has produced a new portrait pose, one that views the face from above and highlights forehead, raised eyebrow and pouty lips."

For further information, visit the Tweed Regional Gallery website or phone the Gallery on (02) 6670 2790.

Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre is open Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm.

Record number of entries received for the $20,000 Olive Cotton Award

Tweed Regional Gallery's biennial competition for portrait photography, the Olive Cotton Award, continues to grow in popularity, with a record number of entries in 2017. The 2015 winner was BAM's staff photographer, Natalie Grono.

The prestigious photographic portraiture prize attracts a diverse field of contenders. A total of 489 entries have been received for this year's national award, held to honour the memory of one of Australia's leading 20th century photographers, Olive Cotton.

The winner of the previous Olive Cotton Award in 2015 … Natalie Grono, Pandemonium's Shadow 2015, pigment injet print.

The winner of the previous Olive Cotton Award in 2015 … Natalie Grono, Pandemonium's Shadow 2015, pigment injet print.

Well-known and emerging photographers from throughout Australia have submitted new works for the competition, with more than 70 entries shortlisted for exhibition.

 This year's awards judge, the National Gallery of Australia's esteemed Senior Curator of Photography, Dr Shaune Lakin, said his task of selecting a shortlist was particularly challenging because of the high calibre of the entries.

The shortlisted photographs will go on public display at the Gallery from Friday 21 July, with an official opening of the exhibition on Saturday 22 July at 5.30pm. Members of the public are welcome to attend the free opening ceremony and awards presentation.

A $20,000 prize is up for grabs for the overall winning entry, which will be announced by Dr Lakin during the opening ceremony and will be acquired to join the Gallery's permanent collection.

Gallery Director Susi Muddiman will also select additional works for acquisition, utilising a generous $4,000 fund allocated by Friends of the Tweed Regional Gallery and Margaret Olley Art Centre Inc.

All other works in the exhibition will be available for sale.

Visitors to the exhibition may also vote for their 'people's choice', with a $250 prize for the most popular finalist.

A full list of finalists is available on the Gallery's website, here.

The Olive Cotton Award exhibition will run until Sunday 8 October. The Gallery is open Wednesdays to Sundays from 10am to 5pm (closed Mondays and Tuesdays). Entry is free to view the exhibition.


Call for Entries | Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award 2017

Entries for Queensland’s richest prize for contemporary Australian photography, the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award (JUWSPA) open Friday 2 June 2017.

Presented by Gold Coast City Gallery and supported in perpetuity by the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Foundation for the Arts, the photography award aims to support and encourage contemporary Australian photographers.

Established fifteen years ago, the annual award is considered one of the most important annual surveys of contemporary Australian photographic practice.

In 2017 the award becomes one of Australia’s most generous photography prizes with the total prize value increased to $50,000. First prize will be granted an acquisitive award of $25,000. The Gallery will also award up to $25,000 in acquisitions to a selection of finalists.

Gold Coast City Gallery Director, Tracy Cooper-Lavery said that the 2017 award will have great significance as the Gallery honours the memory of Win Schubert AO, who passed away in April this year.

‘The award is a testament to Win Schubert and her extraordinary lifelong generosity to the Gallery and Australian photography’, Ms Cooper-Lavery said.

‘This exciting new direction for the award in 2017 has a substantially increased award prize, making it the biggest award in Queensland and second in Australia for photography’, she said.

It is also one of the country's most diverse awards for photography. Since 2002, the award has included a broad selection of finalists with established photographers presented alongside emerging artists, creating a stunning display of diverse themes and approaches to the medium.

‘We are proud to see this art prize go from strength to strength. The Gallery continues to raise its profile on a national level and punch above its weight. We are well and truly setting the scene for our future new gallery due in 2020,’ said The Arts Centre CEO Criena Gehrke.

All works selected as finalists will be exhibited at Gold Coast City Gallery from 9 September to 22 October 2017. The winner will be announced at an official opening event on Friday 8 September.

The winning artwork will become part of the Gold Coast City Gallery collection.

Full details, including entry form and terms and conditions, will be available online here (see Gallery Opportunities page) from Friday 2 June, with submissions closing Friday 14 July.


First Prize: $25,000 (Acquisitive)

Gallery Collection Acquisitions: up to $25,000


Submissions Open - 2 June 2017

Submissions Close - 14 July 2017

Finalists Announced – 11 August 2017

Winner Announced & Exhibition Opening Event - 8 September 2017

Exhibition Dates - 9 September to 22 October 2017

Exhibition details are available here

Photography explores issues of stereotypes and life expectancy

Artist Michael Aird will shed light on his depiction of urban Aboriginal history and culture when he presents a talk at Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Arts Centre on Sunday 6 November, in conjunction with the exhibition Resolution: new Indigenous photomedia.

Aird and the Director of Fireworks Gallery in Brisbane, Michael Eather, will speak at the Gallery from 2pm (NSW time) to discuss the themes in Aird's work. Resolution: new Indigenous photomedia is a travelling exhibition by the National Gallery of Australia, bringing together diverse works by some of the most significant Indigenous photographers and multimedia artists during the past five years. 

Aird has worked as a photographer in the area of Aboriginal arts and cultural heritage since 1985, graduating in 1990 with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Queensland. He has curated more than 25 exhibitions, published several academic articles and has been involved in numerous research projects.

He is interested in recording aspects of urban Aboriginal history and culture and capturing the vibrant and important stories of Aborigines and the challenges they face.

His photograph Thinking about life, currently featured in the exhibition Resolution: new Indigenous photomedia, highlights the shorter life expectancy for Aboriginal men.

In particular, he aims to create images in contrast to those in mainstream media, which he describes as focusing on the "demonisation of Aboriginal men as criminals, alcoholics and violent paedophiles".

"Everybody has a story worth telling and I have selected people who I think are important and who have stories that are equally as important as the stories from the select few 'elders' and 'leaders' that are favoured by the government and the mainstream media," he said.

The exhibition will be on display at the Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre until 4 December, 2016, and will travel to Australian venues over the coming 18 months as part of the National Gallery of Australia's extensive touring program, sharing the National Collection with the wider Australian community. Entry to the exhibition is free.

Image: Michael Aird, Hector Mitchell Mossman Gorge Mission, 1989, digital print 40x28cm.