Bundanon Trust celebrates 25 years with a new program of public events

Bundanon Trust celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2018, as CEO Deborah Ely unveils highlights of upcoming program of public events to be held on the 1100 hectare-site gifted by renowned Australia artist Arthur Boyd and his wife Yvonne in 1993. The Boyd’s riverside idyll in Shoalhaven in New South Wales, will play host to a dynamic program of events highlighting the property’s importance as a place for Indigenous engagement and reflection and the impact of its landscape upon artists across multiple disciplines through its artist-in-residence program.

Arthur Boyd, Hanging rocks bathers and Mars, 1985, oil on canvas. Bundanon Trust Collection

Central to the Masterplan design of Riversdale – encompassing a world-class creative learning centre for school students, a contemporary visitor hub, accommodation and a 380m light-filled contemporary art gallery – developed, the new subterranean contemporary art gallery will house the Bundanon Trust’s collection over 3,800 items featuring 1,300 works by Arthur Boyd together with Boyd’s contemporaries such as Sidney Nolan, John Perceval, Joy Hester and Charles Blackman. The Collection also includes pieces by Pablo Picasso and Brett Whiteley, contemporary works by Brook Andrew, Rosemary Laing and Polixeni Papapetrou, as well as housing an archive of artist books, scripts, compositions and working models related to artwork developed on the properties. The Trust has also commissioned artworks by Linda Dement, Janet Laurence and Anne Ferran and contemporary works drawn from participants in the Trust’s artist in residence program.

The Arthur Boyd Gallery. Credit: Kerstin Thompson Architects

Highlights of the 2018 program include the 2018 Artists in Residence program, a cornerstone of the Boyd’s vision for Bundanon, which they saw as an engine room for contemporary art in Australia. Now the largest residency program of its kind in the country, Bundanon Trust’s Artist-in-Residence (AIR) program will provide creative time and space for around 350 artists in 2018. This has increased tenfold since the early years of the Trust and enabled artists from 34 countries to experience Australia. The 5,000 artists who have spent time in residence at Bundanon span all art forms ensuring that the property is embedded into the country’s cultural narrative, and that an invitation to Bundanon AIR has developed into an essential career milestone.

Christian Thompson. Siteworks 2016. Photograph: Andy Zakeli

On Saturday 29 September at Bundanon’s annual Spring event, Siteworks, artists and scientists will respond to the theme Micro by creating site-specific artworks, installations, performances, talks and immersive experiences. Micro invites artists to ‘be small-minded for a change’ and turn their attention to very small things, whether living, inert or conceptual. Microbes, dollhouses, neutrinos, crumbs, nanobots, tiny desires and minute acts of subversion are just some of the possible areas of enquiry. Among the participating artists are Deborah Kelly, exhibiting images of ‘the gods of tiny things’, Maria Fernanda Cardoso’s microscopic dancing spiders, opera director Patrick Nolan, ceramicist Emily Hunt and Helen Pynor who explores the inside of the body.

In 2018 Bundanon welcomes a new collaboration with Firesticks to investigate the role of Aboriginal cultural burning practices in managing the Bundanon properties. Led by Uncle Vic Steffensen and Oli Costello, the group will speak at the Bundanon Field Day on Sunday 15 April. In addition, the Shoalhaven Mudjingaalbarage Firesticks team will host the organisation’s 10th National Indigenous Fire Workshop at Bundanon in July 2018. This is the first time that the event has been held outside of Cape York.