Life in the times of COVID-19
by CHRIS RISBY
8th February 2021
RUNNING FROM February 5 to April 5, Montsalvat will be host to an exhibition titled Art in the Time of COVID-19.
The Exhibition consists of over 40 local and national artists, all of whom have been commissioned to share their artwork that responds to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The exhibition features works in the Local category from Elisabeth Bromley-Kulugitago, Michelle Caithness, Clive Murray-White, Jonathan Crowther, Karena Goldfinch, Lana de Jager, Carl de Jager, Siri Hayes, Emmy Mavroidis, James McMurtrie, Angela Nagel, Mandy Ord, Camilla Tadich, Ronak Taher, Melisa Savickas, Tara Stubley, Jennifer Dellaportas, Peter Wegner, and Gali Weiss.
Open category works from Dale Collier, Jane Crappsley, Fan Dongwang, Minna Gilligan, Tyler Grace, Michelle Hamer, Spencer Harrison, Paul Kalemba, Robbie
Karmel, Deb Mcfadzean, Anna McDermott, Valentina Palonen, Jenny Pollak, Zorica Purlija, Greer Townshend, Luigi Vescio, James Voller, Joel Zika, Liz Walker, and Yu Fang Chi.
The arts community, like many others, has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic.
Nillumbik Mayor Peter Perkins said Council was proud to support the Shire’s vibrant arts community through such an important project.
“History has shown that adversity brings out the very best in communities and this response from the arts community has been no different.
“The pandemic has touched us all in one way or another and these works are a reflection and reminder of life during 2020 and the struggles, challenges and uncertainties we all continue to face,” said Cr Perkins.
The works are a mixture of both reflective and experimental pieces, presented in a variety of mediums including painting, printmaking, photography, drawing, mixed media, sculpture, installation, textile and video.
The Diary spoke with local artist Siri Hayes, an artist who specialises in photography, video, and textiles, particularly botanical dyes.
Siri, like many people, used the 2020 lockdowns as an opportunity to take on “COVID projects”.
“Something they have always wanted to do but have not had the time for,” she said.
With the free time Siri said it meant that she could investigate indigo dying, which she says is probably the most complicated of the botanical dyes to make.
“It is quite scientific; it requires all the conditions to be right.”
The fruits of this labour will be on display at the Art in the Time of Covid-19 exhibition in the form of a three-metre-long weaving of yarn titled Wurundjeri country, Chux Blue.
The weaving was made using her indigo dye made from the native plant Indigofera australis.
Aside from being used to make dye, Siri told me the Wurundjeri people would crush the leaves and add them to water which would stun or kill fish and eels.
Her weaving was originally meant to be, essentially, “a really enlarged Chux cloth”
“I actually found one on the ground all covered in clay and a photo of that is also going to be in the show as well, so there’s a relationship between the cloth that I have made and then there is also the photo next to it.”
The Warrandyte Diary was given access to the gallery and those involved prior to the exhibitions opening.
To hear more about what the exhibition means to those involved and arts in Nillumbik generally, see our video on the Warrandyte Diary website.
Art in the Time of COVID-19 is presented in conjunction with Nillumbik Shire Council and on at Montsalvat in the Barn Gallery, The Skipper Studio and the Montsalvat Grounds until April 5.
Due to COVID restrictions, tickets must be pre-purchased.
Bookings and more information at www.montsalvat.com.au
Photo exhibition captures Manningham during lockdown
THE LIGHTS are on and everybody’s home.
Manningham Art Gallery’s first exhibition of the year, Empty Streets and Stacked Chairs, documents life in the final two weeks of Australia’s first COVID-19 lockdown in May 2020.
Photographers Bill McAuley and David Wadelton captured this historic moment in a series of poignant images featuring deserted shopping centres, desolated streets, closed schools and masked baristas.
Manningham Mayor, Cr Andrew Conlon said the exhibition has allowed us to document a shared experience from the pandemic and tells many stories of our community and how we have been affected in different ways.
“The exhibition tells a tale of the perseverance of the human spirit during an unprecedented time, and explores fear and adaptation with a glimmer
of hope shining through,” he said.
“It provides a portrait of Manningham and a snapshot of the different experiences our community has gone through, whether sad or heart-warming.”
The exhibition is open now until Saturday, March 27 at Manningham Art Gallery, 687 Doncaster Road, Doncaster.
In person and online artist talks with photojournalists Bill McAuley and David Wadelton are also scheduled during February.
Booking is essential.
Bill McAuley Artist Talk Tuesday, 16 February 11am to 12:30pm
David Wadelton Artist Talk Tuesday, 23 February 11am to 12:30pm
For more information about the exhibition, visit
Photos below by Bill McAuley
Photos below by David Wadelton