BSA Open Day and 2019 Long-Course Applications Open

Corrie Furner's  This is Not a Still Life,  from the exhibition  Let Her Rip  curated by Natalie Bull and Zoe Robinson-Kennedy

Corrie Furner's This is Not a Still Life, from the exhibition Let Her Rip curated by Natalie Bull and Zoe Robinson-Kennedy

2019 applications for the Byron School of Art are now open. The BSA offers a series of year-long courses that provide an extensive grounding in the Visual Arts. These are structured programs incorporating drawing, painting, printmaking, 3D studies, design principles, art history and critical thinking regarding contemporary practice.

Students can study for one to three years, beginning with the Visual Arts Foundation, leading on to Visual Arts Practice in second year, and then to the Research & Portfolio Course in third year. Course activities include studio work, field trips, gallery visits, guest lecturers, and group exhibitions. 

The BSA will also be hosting an open day on October 14. From 11am to 2pm, you can drop in and walk through the studios and exhibition space in Mullumbimby, view current students' work and participate in the open drawing studio. It's a great way to find out more about the BSA and what they offer in terms of Visual Arts Education. For those interested in the Long-Course applications, there is an information session at 12pm.

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  • 2019 Long-course info session 12 - 12.30pm

  • Exhibition of current students' work

  • Information session on BSA Project Space 12.45pm 

  • Open drawing studio - all welcome

  • Live music from 2pm with M.E. Baird, local Singer-Songwriter, Artist, Educator and friend of the BSA

    Applications for the 2019 intake must be received by 31 October, with intake interviews to be held in November. For more information visit the BSA website and look under LONG COURSES, where you may also apply online. If you have any questions, email admin@byronschoolofart.com or phone 0487 362 141. 

Tweed Regional Gallery to host free Artist Talks this weekend

Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre will host talks by three diverse Indigenous artists this Sunday, 2 September 2018. 

Multi-media artist Judy Watson, along with regional artists Digby Moran and Michael Philp, will be discussing their artworks currently on exhibition at the Gallery.

Digby Moran with his painting Bundjalung Stone Axe Gift of Margot Anthony AM, through the Tweed Regional Gallery Foundation Ltd., 2018 © The artist

Digby Moran with his painting Bundjalung Stone Axe Gift of Margot Anthony AM, through the Tweed Regional Gallery Foundation Ltd., 2018 © The artist

Judy Watson will speak to her work The Names of Places, currently on display in the touring exhibition Experimenta Make Sense,  as well as her artist prints held in the Gallery's permanent collection, a selection of which are currently on display as part of the Gallery's 30th anniversary exhibition Three Decades: celebrating the Tweed Regional Gallery collection.

Digby Moran and Michael Philp, also featured in Three Decades, will give insight into their works Bundjalung Stone Axe and Spotting for Sea Mullet, respectively.


EVENT DETAILS:

What:  Artist Talks

Where:  Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre

When:  Sunday 2 September at 2pm

Gallery Hours: Wednesday - Sunday, 10am - 5pm

Cost:    Free

IN CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL COOK ARTIST DINNER AT BARRIO, BYRON BAY

Byron Arts Magazine is excited to announce the launch of BAM Art Series Dinners. The first dinner hosted at BARRIO, Byron Bay on Wednesday, October 17 will feature works by artist Michael Cook. Cook is considered to be one of Australia’s most exciting contemporary indigenous artists.  

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A highlight of the evening will be a conversation hosted by art writer and author Louise Martin Chew, who will discuss the narrative behind Cook’s ethereal contemporary works.

Cook’s photographs restage colonial focused histories and re-image the contemporary reality of indigenous populations. His powerfully staged narratives have featured at both the Sydney and Venice Biennale. A selection of 15 works from the series Mother, Broken Dreams and Invasion will be displayed onsite at BARRIO. 


Guests will enjoy a Brookies gin cocktail on arrival and a delicious grazing table with matching wines curated by head chef Francisco Smoje.  The shared table menu includes pulled chicken, braised fennel & purple onion, herb roasted whole salmon side, rare roasted beef, gribiche sauce, potatoes, green beans, preserved lemons, chives & dill, brown rice, pecans, cranberries, feta & herbs and a delicious seasonal dessert.


The cost for the dinner and talk, including wines & Brookies gin cocktail is $140.

Artist BIO

Michael Cook is a Brisbane-based photomedia artist of Bidjara heritage. Cook’s photographs restage colonial-focused histories and re-image the contemporary reality of indigenous populations. Touching on the discriminatory nature of society, his images muddle racial and social roles ‘painting’ a picture of a societal structure reversed. Cook invites viewers to speculate Indigenous cultures living at the forefront, even a majority, rather than manipulated to live within the confines of a white man’s world. Cook’s images challenge our ingrained belief systems yet do not offer judgement – they are observational, asking questions without proffering neat prescriptive conclusions.


Considered to be one of Australia’s most exciting contemporary Indigenous artists, 2016 saw Cook present a solo exhibition at the global art fair, Art Basel Hong Kong. His work has most recently been curated into Indigenous Australia: enduring civilisation at the British Museum, London; Taba Naba, Oceanographic Musuem of Monaco; Saltwater Country at AAMU Museum of Contemporary Aboriginal Art, The Netherlands; and Personal Structures at Palazzo Mora, Venice during the 56th Venice Biennale. Cook’s photographs have also been exhibited in the 19th Biennale of Sydney: You Imagine What You Desire, 2014; the 2nd National Indigenous Triennial at the National Gallery of Australia, 2012; and the 7th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art at Queensland Art Gallery/ Gallery of Modern Art, 2013. A number of Cook’s works are currently being exihibited in a group show Colony – Frontier Wars at the NGV.


Cook’s work has been acquired by institutions including the National Gallery of Australia, Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of Western Australia, National Museum of Australia and Parliament House, Canberra.

The Art Series Dinners are bought to you with the support of Byron Arts Magazine, McGrath & Brookies Gin and produced by www.theartconnector.com.au

For further information and hi res images contact lisa@theartconnector.com.au
or 0413 453320

 

Art in the Pub: BAM's Sharne Wolff and Jane Denison on Australian Art and Walking

Join us at the Courthouse Hotel for Art in the Pub, as BAM Associate Editor Sharne Wolff and contributor Jane Denison speak about From Here to There: Australian art and walking.

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Art in the Pub: Annique Goldenberg's Arctic Residency

Join us Monday 27th November for the last Art in the Pub for 2017

 

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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

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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

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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.

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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:

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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.

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Talk Suite | Coming into Fashion

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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.

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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.

Caitlin Reilly Artist Talk in Byron

Join Caitlin Reilly is conversation with Andrew McDonald (Lone Goat Gallery) at 2pm on Saturday 28 October at Lone Goat Gallery as they discuss Caitlin's art practise, with a particular focus on her extensive experience working in Shanghai, collaborative workshops, art therapy programs, and strategies for emerging artists.

Caitlin Reilly is an Australian born multi-disciplinary artist living in Byron Bay, Australia, and has exhibited widely throughout China and Australia.

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Caitlin’s exhibition Hymn to the Horizon is now showing at Lone Goat Gallery until November 8. Hymn to the Horizon is a series of works rendered in oil paint, bitumen, dust and debris. Investigating abstract means and the simplicity of the horizontal line to explore surface rendering to access and communicate psychological states connected to lived and imagined terrains.

Her works have been exhibited at the Shanghai Museum of Art, the Xuhui Art Museum, the 1933 Historical Slaughterhouse in Shanghai, Asia Contemporary Art Hong Kong 2014/15/16, Singapore Art Fair, and 'Faces & Traces' retrospective at The Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai, Taikang Community Gallery Songjiang, China. In 2014-15 Caitlin undertook the Shokay Residency, travelling to Qinghai on the Tibetan plateau and to Chongming Island nearby Shanghai, working with the yak herding community, spinners and knitters.

Caitlin’s arts practice involves working in a broad range of media creating layering and textural history, with an extensive body of work exploring the development of surface rendering. Caitlin's visual arts practice spans international platforms and is represented in collections throughout Australia, Europe, America, and China.

Caitlin’s exhibition Hymn to the Horizon is showing at Lone Goat Gallery Byron Bay until November 8 2017.

Caitlin Reilly Artist Talk

2pm Saturday 28 October
Hymn to the Horizon – Caitlin Reilly in Conversation with Andrew McDonald (Lone Goat Gallery)

Free Entry
Lone Goat Gallery - 28 Lawson St, Byron Bay NSW 2481

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Byron School of Art Open Day - Sept 17

Byron School of Art is opening the doors of its beautiful studios and exhibition space in Mullumbimby on Sunday 17 September, 11am-2pm, for visitors to come and discover all the School and Project Space have to offer.

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Byron School of Art teachers and Directors Michael Cusack, James Guppy, Emma Walker and Christine Willcocks, all practising professional artists themselves, will be on hand to discuss the various courses, workshops and masterclasses on offer and will present an information session about year-long courses at 12pm. Printmaking demonstrations, stringmaking with Helle Jorgensen and an open drawing studio will run throughout the day. There will also be activities for kids and a chance for parents to hear about the new BSA Kids program of after-school classes starting in October.
 
“Our Open Day is a great opportunity for art lovers of all ages to find out more about the courses and classes on offer – for the absolute beginner to established artists wanting to deepen their practice – and chat to the artists who will be teaching them,” said BSA Director and teacher Christine Willcocks. “It’s also for anyone just wanting to come and see the current exhibition and check out the busy creative space that is Byron School of Art. Plus there will be some hands-on activities and demonstrations on the day. For those who want to know more about the year-long courses, don’t miss the info session at 12pm.”
 

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The Project Space gallery will be open, exhibiting the ‘Dirty Filthy Painting Group Show' (9-20 Sept), featuring the work of some of the best abstract painters in the country such Miles Hall, Terri Brooks, Julie Fragar and 2014 Archibald winner Fiona Lowry as well as some international artists who have never shown in Australia, including David Quinn, Helen O’Leary and Robert Dunne. These artists will be joined by a line-up of talented local artists like the well-travelled Paul McNeil; artists new to the region such as Brent Hallard, who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience; and young guns of the art world who used to call Byron home, like Josey Kidd Crowe and Sally Anderson. The Dirty Filthy Painting Group Show opens on Saturday 9 September and will be on show at Byron School of Art until Wednesday 20 September.
 

 

 Byron School of Art Open Day
Sunday 17 September, 11am-2pm
112 Dalley St, Mullumbimby
For more information visit www.byronschoolofart.com

 

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About Byron School of Art
Byron School of Art is an independent, contemporary art school based on an international model of Artists teaching Artists in a studio-based learning environment. BSA offers courses for emerging and established artists as well as an encouraging platform for the complete beginner. Students are guided in developing a strong work practice that is open to critical and creative thinking and grounded in technical and practical abilities. The courses are run by nationally recognised professional artists, who bring to the school a passion for their practice combined with extensive teaching experience.
 
Long Courses
Byron School of Art offers a progressive series of year-long courses that provide an extensive grounding in the Visual Arts. They are structured studio programs incorporating drawing, painting, printmaking, 3d studies, design principles, art history and creative thinking. Students can study in this program for one to three years, beginning with the Visual Arts Foundation Course, and leading on through Visual Arts Practice, to the Research & Portfolio Course in their third year.

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Many students relocate to Northern NSW to take part in BSA Long Courses. All course activities include studio work, field trips, gallery visits, guest lecturers, group exhibitions and more. Enrolments are now open for 2018, with intake interviews held in November.
 
BSA Kids
After many requests and enquiries, and plenty of research and consideration, BSA is very pleased to be offering Art Classes for young people who are serious about visual art.

BSA Afternoon Art Club is the perfect opportunity for children who love art to develop their skills and knowledge with a trained artist and teacher. Jacqueline Smith will be teaching two afternoon classes each week during school terms for children aged 9 -12 years and 13 -15 years starting 4th Term 2017 (11 & 12 October).

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Each week a new technique or idea is introduced, with activities building upon these in response to students' interests. Students will work independently and as a group on focused, structured art activities as well as on their own projects.
 
Short Courses
Byron School of Art taps into the extraordinary wealth and depth of artistic talent in the Northern Rivers to offer short courses, workshops and masterclasses taught by an impressive roster of leading professional artists across a variety of mediums including life drawing, painting, portraiture, basket weaving and sculpture.  Byron School of Art also offers a 10-week Visual Arts Introduction Course held one day per week, that introduces students to the fundamentals of contemporary art through observational drawing, design elements, materials, colour theory, and more.
 
Exhibitions at BSA Project Space
Byron School of Art houses a curated exhibition space, BSA Project Space, which exhibits shows by emerging and established artists and has a full exhibition calendar until the end of the year. Check the BSA website for details of upcoming exhibitions and fortnightly openings.
 
Art in the Pub
Art in the Pub is an artist talk presented by Byron School of Art in partnership with c.a.s.e. inc. every month at the Courthouse Hotel in Mullumbimby. Previous guest speakers include Lindy Lee, Jenny Watson, Guy Maestri (in association with Tweed Regional Gallery) Art Gallery NSW Director Michael Brand and Sebastian Smee (both in association with Byron Writers Festival). Free admission, inspiring conversation, great food, cheap drinks and a warm community.
 
For more information visit www.byronschoolofart.com

Photographs by Sarah Gray

 

c.a.s.e. presents Art in the Pub | Miles Hall

The wildly popular Art in the Pub series will host artist Miles Hall on September 4. The event is free but we recommend arriving early, as it is usually packed.

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David Hockney's brother to give talk at Tweed Regional Gallery

David Hockney,  Bedlam

David Hockney, Bedlam

Get a greater insight to the innovations and motivations of David Hockney, the subject of Tweed Regional Gallery's first international touring exhibition, when the Gallery hosts an Up Late event this Saturday.

The UK artist's Australian-based brother, John Hockey, will join Tweed Regional Gallery Director Susi Muddiman and Blue Mountains Cultural Centre Director Paul Brinkman for a conversation from 6.30pm.


The panel conversation will reflect on David Hockney's career, his exploration of digital technologies and concurrent exhibitions of Hockney's work in London and Melbourne.

Up Late will be held from 5-8pm, as part of a series of events on Saturday to accompany the current exhibition David Hockney: Words & Pictures.

David Hockney,  Self Portrait

David Hockney, Self Portrait


A free talk by John Hockney in the afternoon has booked out.

The Gallery cafe will be open for the evening. Drop in for wine and tapas from 5.30-6.30pm or stay for supper from 7.30-9pm. Bookings are essential by phoning (02) 6672 5088).

David Hockey has been described as "arguably Britain's greatest living painter" and in 2011 was voted by his peers as the most influential British artist of all time.

Drawn from the British Council's collection and direct from London, David Hockney: Words & Pictures presents four major suites of the artist's prints, produced between 1961 and 1977.


United by their reference to historical works of literature and art, the prints were produced during the first two decades of Hockney's career when he established himself as a pioneer of the British Pop art movement. Collectively they offer insight to Hockney's beginnings and evolution as an artist.

The international collection will be supplemented by outstanding original Hockney etchings, lithographs and photocollages, including colourful portraits of the artist's mother and a self-portrait, kindly loaned to the Gallery by John Hockney

David Hockney: Words & Pictures will end at Tweed Regional Gallery on Sunday 17 September, before moving on for a limited time to the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre in Katoomba.

This exhibition appears at Tweed Regional Gallery with the generous support of the Tweed Regional Gallery Foundation Ltd.

For more information, visit artgallery.tweed.nsw.gov.au or phone (02) 6670 2790.

Joshua Yeldham Shares Uncoventional Story of Endurance

The unorthodox life journey of artist Joshua Yeldham will be laid bare when he gives a free talk at Tweed Regional Gallery in Murwillumbah on Sunday 27 August.

The unconventional Sydney-based artist will speak about his exhibition Endurance, on display at the Gallery until 10 December, and his story of a "sensitive boy" who endured bullying, a literacy challenges and an unsympathetic school system to become one of Australia's most original artists.

Yeldham giving a previous talk at Tweed Regional Gallery.

Yeldham giving a previous talk at Tweed Regional Gallery.

Yeldham draws from a deep spiritual affiliation with the land and a love of nature, creating art that entwines narrative and myth, imagination and experience.

Working across painting, photography, drawing and sculpture, he has developed a singular aesthetic that combines various mediums such as his pierced and carved photographs, his characteristic oil paintings, and large-scale paper works.

Yeldham is also an enthralling and humorous storyteller and will share his learning journey - from the heart-breaking to the bizarre.

A small boy struggling with undiagnosed dyslexia, he was a boarder at an exclusive Sydney school from the age of eight and was regularly taunted and tormented by his "big-boned" fellow students.

He seized an opportunity to reinvent himself when he was 14, moving with his mother to Switzerland and studying at the prestigious Aiglon College.

Yeldham was inspired by his "mountain men" teachers who were "strong men but they weren't aggressive" and he threw himself into physical challenges.

It was another chapter in his unorthodox approach to physical and academic challenges and introduced him to skiing, navigation, mountain climbing and caving, throwing him into nature.

A succession of great art teachers throughout his education was also telling and he went on to study at the Rhode Island School of Design, then became an award-winning film maker.

 Endurance is the product of Yeldham's term at the Gallery's Nancy Fairfax Artist in Residence Studio in February, when he was invited to explore the waterways and surrounding scenery of the Northern Rivers.

His free talk will be held in the Withey Family Gallery from 2pm.

For further information, visit artgallery.tweed.nsw.gov.au or phone (02) 6670 2790.

Depends What You Mean By Extremist: John Safran comes to NORPA

John Safran, a Paladin dwarf and an ISIS supporter walk into a Catholic Church. Neo-Nazis are on the same side as the Jews. Pauline Hanson denies she was ever against Asian immigration… Welcome to Australia 2016. If it sounds mad, that’s because it is. And funny. But apparently that’s a dangerous thing now too – as Safran has just found out.

 A Feature Event presented by Byron Writers Festival and NORPA,  Safran reveals his alarming adventures in a weird world of misfits whose extremist views (and behaviour) have helped propel the rise of the alt-right. Welcome to a place in time where blonde-haired, blue-eyed boys grow-up aspiring to be ISIS freedom fighters, an Islamic preacher quotes Monty Python and newly arrived immigrants oppose multiculturalism. Yep, that’s right. It all depends what you mean by extremist…
 
John Safran will be in conversation with arts journalist, provocative performance artist and producer Bec Mac discussing Safran’s latest book Depends What You Mean By Extremist.
 
It’s Melbourne, 2015. John Safran (who’s always been interested in racists) rocked up to observe the second ‘Reclaim Australia’ versus ‘No Room for Racism’ rally. It turned out to be a multicultural anti-multicultural rally. Confused? So was John. And even more confusing, each of the opposing sides had appropriated the swastika for their banners. Intrigued – and somewhat alarmed, John began digging a little deeper.
 
“So it turns out I wasn’t the only Jew at the rally. There were two and a half more. Not protesting against the United Patriot Front, but supporting them? That clinches it. Skinheads side by side with Jews; immigrants against immigrants; Shermon’s promise of a far-right hajj – this is a case for John Safran, Jew Detective.
 
In the process he invariably finds himself in precarious and funny situations; slamming down tequila shots with Neo-Nazis, threatened with arrest by the Australian Liberty Alliance, praying with evangelical Christians, and arguing over scripture with an Iman, an Islamic preacher and a Paladin Dwarf.
 
He crosses the country and turns up where he’s not wanted; from the lawns of Parliament House in Perth, to a fascists rally for Golden Dawn in Brisbane, and the highly anticipated 10th anniversary of the Cronulla Riots in Sydney. Along the way he finds himself chastised by anarchists, outwitted by Jews, set-up by white nationalists, stood-up by Hanson and warned-off by Satan.
 
With an eye on what’s happening in his own community; escalating violence against Rabbis, increased security at synagogues, anti-Semitic propaganda in the mail, Safran takes up Israeli martial arts and starts carrying a knife. Then with sudden clarity he realises that it’s exactly these incremental changes that make way for a new way of living, of thinking, of being; that become the small stepping stones to radicalization. Just how rogue will Safran go?
 
Inevitably as Safran engages with the opposing factions the more compromised he becomes; privy to their secrets, he is acutely aware of his potential power to play the puppetmaster and change the course of events. Ultimately his uncanny knack for inserting himself into the action reveals an alarming common thread of ‘magical thinking’ among these outliers, that is, their conviction that there are no coincidences and a sense the end times are coming.
 
‘"I think about all the people I’ve been hanging with over the year, Pastor Daniel, Hamza, and the rest... It’s hard to cut a deal with people who think that what they’re doing will bring on the Messiah."
 
In Depends What You Mean by Extremist Safran unravels the complex tangles of race, religion, ethnicity and nationalism at play in Australia today. He calls out the contradictory and illogical arguments proffered by the extremists in our own backyard, while reminding us (with a raised eyebrow to the reader), of the vital and often dangerous role that humour and satire can play in tackling a seemingly global rise in hate, racism and extremism.
 

Depends What You Mean By Extremist:
John Safran in conversation with Bec Mac

Presented by Byron Writers Festival and NORPA
FRIDAY 4 AUGUST
6.30pm-7.45pm
NORPA at Lismore City Hall
Cost: $30
Tickets here