Tag Archives: Nillumbik Shire

Best of contemporary art on show

THE BARN GALLERY at Montsalvat is once again the setting for the Nillumbik Prize for Contemporary Art.
The 17th iteration of the prestigious art competition saw 323 entries, responding to the theme “Return”, with the 40 shortlisted finalists currently on show.
Emily Wubben, Exhibition Curator and Collections Management Officer for Nillumbik Council, said there was a good mix of local and national entries.
“The finalist exhibition is a good representation of the entries we received, both locally and nationally, with eight local artists among the 40 finalists.”
The contemporary biennial acquisitive art prize open to artists working in any medium in Australia.
The winner was announced at the exhibition opening on May 6, and for the first time, the Prize has been awarded to a digital artist.
James Nguyen, of Murumbeena, was presented the $20,000 prize in the Open Category for his moving image, The Camelia Economy.
The 20-minute, 29 second video tells the story of a handful of seeds given to the artist by his late grandmother on his return to Vietnam.
In Australia, his family grew the seeds into tea plants which they use to trade and swap with the community, symbolising the preservation of their culture of storytelling, care and entrepreneurship that has survived war and political exile.
Georgia Cribb, Director of Bunjil Place Gallery and one of the three prize judges, said it had been immensely challenging to determine a winner from a strong field across a range of media.
“We are delighted to learn that this is the first time that the prize has been awarded to an artist working in a digital medium,” she said.
The $10,000 local prize was won by Eltham artist Nusra Latif Qureshi for Remnant Blessings-I, an acrylic, graphite, gouache and gold on illustration board.
Nusra told the Diary the award means a lot to her on a personal level, as it is representative of the inclusiveness of the community.
She moved to Eltham about five years ago and says she has found it is a “very nurturing community”.
“I am finding that I am part of the community in a very interesting way, and I know that Eltham has always been a place where artists love to live and make it home.”
Nillumbik Mayor Peter Perkins said this year marked the 17th anniversary of the prize, which was highly regarded around Australia.
“This is a prestigious exhibition for artists to showcase excellence in contemporary art and is a celebration of Nillumbik’s rich artistic and cultural community,” Cr Perkins said.
“Council prides itself on being a strong supporter of the arts on all levels.
“Congratulations to the winners and all the finalists for their impressive and inspiring works.”
Sculptor Clive Murray-White, an artist-in-residence at the Dunmoochin art collective, took out the $500 Mayor’s Award for his work, Assisted Suiseki No: 9.
Cr Perkins said, “This striking piece can be viewed from any angle and immediately caught my eye as it is both contemporary and timeless.”
The open and local prizes are acquisitive, and the winning works will be included in the Nillumbik Shire Art Collection.
Emily said the calibre of the works was extremely high and there was a wonderful cross-section of works in all different media.
She said “Return” has been interpreted in a variety of different ways by the artists.
“These have included an exploration of returning to a sense of ones-self, of true identity — also stories of migration and connections to or memories of home as well as ideas of what returning to normal might be in the COVID context as well as an exploration of retuning to different techniques and methods.
“So there has been a very diverse range of very insightful and creative responses to the one theme,” Emily said.
The biennial prize was judged by Miriam Kelly, Curator at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art; Georgia Cribb, Director of Bunjil Place Gallery and Victoria Lynn, Director of TarraWarra Museum of Art.
The finalists were shortlisted by an independent panel of industry experts: Francis E. Parker, Curator of Exhibitions at Monash University Museum of Art, Jade Bitar, Visual Arts Officer at the City of Stonnington and Helen Walpole, independent art and museum curator.
The Finalist Exhibition is now open at Montsalvat until July 1, 2021.
Entry is free.
Montsalvat is currently open Thursday to Sunday, 10am–4pm.
Visitors are encouraged to vote for their favourite artwork in the People’s Choice Award, which will be announced on July 15, 2021.
For more information about the Nillumbik Prize for Contemporary Art, go to nillumbik.vic.gov.au/npca

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Feedback wanted on Nillumbik Draft Housing Strategy

Nillumbik Shire Council has released a Draft Housing Strategy which will help shape how Council responds to housing needs across the Shire for the next 15 years.
Nillumbik Mayor Karen Egan said the draft strategy aims to ensure the housing needs of the Shire can be met now and into the future.
The draft notes:

“Nillumbik is predicted to be the lowest growth municipality in metropolitan Melbourne, both in terms of the proportion of growth and absolute numbers, with 0.4 per cent annual population growth (6,140 additional people between 2016 and 2036).
This compares to a city-wide average annual growth rate of 1.6 per cent.
The Nillumbik community is ageing.
By 2036 Nillumbik will have a significant proportion of one and two person households, comprising mainly empty nesters and retirees.
In particular Nillumbik will have significantly more people aged over 70 than is the case today.”

Nillumbik Mayor Karen Egan said this strategy aims to ensure Nillumbik’s housing needs are met now and in the future.

“This strategy outlines a range of housing for all of our residents, including our ageing population and those with special needs.
“But, importantly, it also seeks to protect the Shire’s valued rural and neighbourhood characteristics and unique green wedge for future generations.
“Significant consolidation of housing is only proposed in the Eltham and Diamond Creek Major Activity Centres, where Council is expected, by State Government policy, to consolidate housing due to the easy, walkable access in these centres to shops, public transport and services.
“I encourage the community to provide feedback on this critical strategy,” Cr Egan said.

The Draft Housing Strategy is seeking feedback from residents and those with a vested interest in the Shire between now and June 29.
A copy of the draft document along with additional information is available via Council’s participate website.
Council is also holding a series of online Q&A sessions, where registered participants can discuss their questions/concerns with council officers.
These sessions are limited to 10 participants per session (excluding council officers) and are currently scheduled for the following dates:

11am, Wednesday, June 17.
2:30pm, Friday, June 19.
7pm, Tuesday, June 23.
1pm, Wednesday, June 24.

Those wishing to participate in the sessions, or supply feedback to the Draft Housing Strategy should visit: participate.nillumbik.vic.gov.au/draft-housing-strategy

New Research Pavillion kicks goals

CRICKET AND FOOTBALL in Research has a shiny new home, with the opening of the $3 million Research Park Pavilion.
Eltham MP Vicki Ward opened the pavilion on behalf of Local Government Minister Adem Somyurek.
She said she understood the importance of having such a community facility in Research.
“To be able to have every gathering that people want to have, at a venue in Research, is just fantastic,” she said.
The redevelopment project took almost 10 years from conception, and replaces the ground’s ageing infrastructure, and followed a huge turnout to a pivotal council meeting in 2017, which was attended by almost 300 club members in a show of support.
On the strength of the community engagement in the project the Council adopted the two-story option, rather than just a single-story pavilion.
The expanded clubrooms allow for a social space both for the resident clubs, but also for the whole community.

The then Mayor, Peter Clarke told the Diary that Council had to decide between a $1.2m single-storey pavilion, or an $1.7m double-storey.
“What it achieved was the financial viability of the clubs, because the clubs earn money out of that space as well as lease it out.”
He said the facility fills a need in Research for a community hub, and Council is encouraging community groups to use the space during the week.
“You do these things once and you do them really well — there is no good doing two-thirds of the task.
“This will last for 30–40 years — it’s a good investment in the future,” Cr Clarke said.
The two-storey redevelopment at the park, which is home to the Research Junior Football Club (RJFC) and Research Eltham Collegians Cricket Club (RECCC), has allowed for greater participation across the community.
Current Deputy Mayor Bruce Ranken, who is also the social infrastructure portfolio councillor, said the new pavilion was long overdue.
“The previous sports pavilion on this site was ageing and no longer fit for purpose,” Cr Ranken said.
“Council listened to what the community had to say and now we have this modern all-inclusive facility.
“This project shows what can be done with people power.”
Nillumbik Mayor Karen Egan said the upgrade included the addition of two much-needed female change rooms and facilities for female umpires.
“This wonderful new facility is a win for our whole community and, importantly, caters for the growing number of females in sport,” she said.
“Both the football and cricket clubs have had increasing numbers of female members over the past few years.
“But the growth of female participation in sport locally has been restricted by the lack of facilities and I’m pleased we are smashing these barriers here in Research,” Cr Egan said.
Paul Northey from Research Junior Football Club said that the new facilities would be fantastic for their 15 junior football teams — including four girls’ teams — and “would be an asset for the whole community for generations”.
Chris Cunningham from the Research and Eltham Collegians Cricket Club who play out of the facility said that the stadium would allow access for their 10 junior teams, including two girls’ sides, six mixed seniors’ sides, and a veterans’ team, an over sixties team and an all-abilities side.
Nillumbik Council contributed $1.69 million to the project as well as $265,000 for the upcoming car park works.
The State Government provided a total of $950,000, with $650 through the Growing Suburbs Fund, a $100,000 grant from Sport and Recreation Victoria and $200,000 in funding through a State Government election commitment in 2014.
“We went into every bucket,” Ms Ward quipped.
The football and cricket clubs raised $130,000 for the pavilion.
The pavilion features an upstairs community hall with kitchen, bar and meeting rooms overlooking the grounds.
Downstairs are four player change rooms, umpire change rooms and an accessible toilet and lift.

Be Fire Ready

Protecting your horses from bushfire

LIVING IN A bushfire prone area means residents need to think ahead before the bushfire season begins.
This includes horse owners living in Warrandyte and surrounds.
On October 20, the South Warrandyte CFA held a Horses and Bushfire Information Session at the South Warrandyte Cricket Club.
Horse owners who attended were treated to a fascinating session about the myths and realities of dealing with horses in a bushfire situation.
The biggest takeaway from the session is how critical it is to prepare and have a plan for their safety before a fire happens.
Many believe horses panic in fires.
We quickly learned from Captain Sharon Merritt, Macclesfield CFA, this is not the case.
Horses are rarely stressed out by fire and can generally look after themselves if they have the right conditions.
Their natural instinct is to move as far from the fire as possible and then quickly seek burnt ground to survive.
If you have a horse in a bushfire prone area, it is imperative to have a designated safe place on your property.
Ideally this safe place would include a paddock that has been eaten out with enough room to gallop and minimal vegetation.
A large sand ménage without buildings or vegetation too close is also suitable.
Animals confined to stables or small yards may panic and hurt themselves trying to escape if the building catches fire.
Fences should be prepared so they can contain your horse even if a fire passes through.
Star pickets and a sight wire can be added to post and rail fencing.
A dam or water in a concrete tank or deep bath should be available so horses can seek relief from the heat and avoid dehydration after the fire has passed.
It is very likely you will not have access to your property for some time after a fire so access to shade and water can make a big difference.
Your property should have a Property Identification Code (PIC).
This is registered with the Department of Agriculture through the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR).
The code shows authorities horses are on your property and DEDJTR may be able to enter after the fire to check on their welfare.
If a Severe, Extreme or Code Red fire danger day is declared, move your horse into the designated safer paddock or area early.
Remove rugs and fly veils as these can burn and cause serious injuries.
If possible plait your horse’s tail polo style to keep it from catching fire.
Run through your plan and check everything is ready.
If your horse is not microchipped, put your phone number on your horse using spray paint or use event crayon so they can be identified.

If you have to move your horse

If your property is not safe for your horse to remain during a fire, have a plan to move them to a safer area if a Severe, Extreme or Code Red fire danger day is declared.
It is too late to move your horse if there is fire in the area and risks putting both you and your horse in danger.
Bushfires can travel fast, and traffic management points will be set up, closing roads.
Coming back for your horse during a fire is extremely dangerous.
Do not attempt to move horses that you are not responsible for.
The horse owner may have a fire plan in place and by interfering you could be putting the horse in danger, as well as yourself.
Check if you can move your horse to a neighbour’s property, the local racecourse, pony club or showgrounds.
You should check well in advance if these places are willing to take your horse and you may be required to stay with them.
Alternatively, talk to other horse owners and create a group plan.
If you agist your horse, talk to the agistment owner to find out what the bushfire plan is for their property.
If other horses will be using the same temporary safe area, ensure they are familiar with each other or can be kept safely apart.
After the fire has passed, it may be some time before you can check on your horse.
Check the area is safe, with no fallen power lines or trees likely to fall.
Watch for ash pits where tree roots have burned underground that can cause burns if stepped in.
Make sure fencing is intact and water sources are clean.
Move your horse from hot ground as soon as possible to avoid laminitis.
If you have done your prep work well, your horse is more likely to survive with minimal injuries.
Generally, horses that have been through a bushfire have some facial burns, swollen eyelids and hoof damage.
You might not be able to get a vet to your horse, so it can be useful to have some basic first aid at hand or a plan to get your horse to a vet.
Horses can do well in bushfires if their owners have a plan and prepare early, before a fire starts.

More information can be found at www.cfa.vic.gov.au/plan-prepare/horses-and-bushfires

The whys and wherefores of bylaws: Fire preparation and vegetation management

By SANDI MILLER

WITH SUMMER approaching it is time to consider preparing your property for fire season.
The Diary spoke with Manningham and Nillumbik Councils about how to clean up your property but stay within the rules around vegetation management.
Angelo Kourambas, Manningham’s Director City Planning and Community said:
“Council strongly recommends that anyone looking to remove vegetation or trees on their property should contact Council before commencing any removal works”.
Nillumbik Council’s, Senior Communications Officer of Governance and Legal Services, Natalie Town likewise encourages residents “to think carefully about tree and vegetation removal and to contact Planning Services on 9433 3343 before doing so”.
Mr Kourambas said that cleaning up properties should form part of your fire plan.
“In the lead up to bushfire season residents should ensure they have an emergency plan ready and prepare their properties accordingly,” he said.
The CFA website has all the information residents need to prepare their property.
Council is urging all residents to prepare their property now and maintain it throughout summer.
Visit www.cfa.vic.gov.au/plan-prepare/how-to-prepare-your-property

Managing vegetation on your property 

Nillumbik, as the Green Wedge Shire, is known as the “lungs” of Melbourne.
“Our beautiful open spaces and natural treed environment, together with our friendly villages, add to the lifestyle of the Shire.
“While we like the environment surrounding us, bushfire safety is of paramount importance.
“Striking the right balance is essential,” Ms Town said.
Mr Kourambas said Manningham’s most valued features is the balance of city and country, with a range of urban areas surrounded by vast natural environment.
To protect this, he said residents are generally required to obtain a planning permit before vegetation can be removed.
Planning permits for vegetation removal are particularly important for residents living on a property with an: Environmental Significance Overlay (ESO), Vegetation Protection Overlay (VPO), Significant Landscape Overlay (SLO), or Heritage Overlay (HO).
There are some exemptions to allow vegetation removal around a resident’s home and along certain fences without obtaining a permit.
For instance, along the front fence, private landowners can use the exemption on their property but cannot remove vegetation from the roadside as they are not the property owner.
Landowners must check there are no covenants or other legal agreements which are not covered by the exemptions.

Reducing fire risk 

Preparing your property all year round reduces the risk of stockpiled waste.
Fallen tree debris, grass, twigs and excess vegetation can dry out and become very flammable in the event of a bush or grass fire.
For this reason, both Councils recommend residents clear this kind of garden waste before the warm weather hits.
It is also important for residents to clear out their gutters frequently to ensure they’re free from leaves and sticks.
Having clean gutters may offer protection from an ember attack during a fire and greatly reduces risk of water entering a roof space during a storm.
For a detailed guide on landscaping for bushfire prone properties residents can view the CFA’s Landscaping for bushfire guide.

Abiding by the 10/30 or 10/50 rule

Following recommendations from the Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission, the Victorian Government has made a number of changes to the Victoria Planning Provisions regarding vegetation removal.
It provides certain exemptions that may allow you to remove vegetation to create a defendable space around buildings used for accommodation, including associated outbuildings and boundary fences, without the need to obtain a planning permit.
Depending on whether your property is covered by the Bushfire Management Overlay planning scheme or not, will determine what you can remove.
When preparing properties for bushfire and considering the removal of vegetation, residents should check which of the 10/30 or 10/50 exemptions apply.
You are covered by the 10/30 rule, if there is no Bushfire Management Overlay on property.
It means you may remove trees up to 10m, or vegetation up to 30m, around existing building without a permit.
If a Bushfire Management Overlay exists on property, it means you are covered by the 10/50.
You may therefore remove trees up to 10m, and vegetation up to 50m, around existing building without a permit.
Buildings must be used for accommodation and have existed before September 2009.
Landowners must check there are no covenants or other legal agreements which are not covered by the exemptions.

How to dispose of green waste

Each year Manningham Council offers residents the option of:

  • Two household hard rubbish (waste) collections, or
  • Two household bundled garden waste (branches) collections, or
  • A combination of one hard rubbish (waste) collections and one bundled branches (garden waste) collection.

In addition to this, residents in bushfire prone areas are eligible for four complimentary green waste vouchers per year to help remove any excess garden waste from their properties.
In Nillumbik, residents can put their green waste in the 120-litre green waste bin which is collected weekly.
Residents can also deliver their green waste to Council’s Recycling and Recovery Centre at 290 Yan Yean Road, Yarrambat.
Property owners receive three green waste vouchers a year as part of their valuation and rates notice.
Property owners can pass these vouchers on to tenants to use.
Residents must bring their original or online rates notice to the Nillumbik Recycling and Recovery Centre.
Green waste vouchers provide flexibility to dispose of larger quantities of green waste at a convenient time.
One voucher is for one cubic metre of green waste, this a slightly heaped 6×4 sized trailer load.
Load size will be assessed by the attendant.
Green waste includes garden clippings, pruning, leaves and grass.
It must be clean and not contain processed wood such as treated pine, fence palings or untreated timber and must not include food waste.
For Manningham residents, green waste can be disposed of at the Manningham Garden Waste Centre at the corner of Websters and Blackburn Road, Templestowe.

The current and future voucher periods for 2019/20 are:

  • Sunday, October 6, 2019 to Sunday, December 22, 2019
  • Sunday, January 12, 2020 to Sunday, March 29, 2020
  • Sunday, April 5, 2020 to Sunday, June 28, 2020

For more information, including maximum trailer load sizes, visit: manningham.vic.gov.au/garden-waste-vouchers
Property owners, landlords and property managers can order new or additional bins for a property.
In Nillumbik, each property can have up to two green waste bins.
There is an upfront cost of $80 for an extra green bin with no additional annual collection charge.
If a tenant wishes to select an alternative option for their bins, they need to contact their landlord or property manager.

Get it done

Inspections will soon be conducted across both municipalities by Municipal Fire Prevention Officers to identify properties that may constitute a fire hazard.
If the property is not well maintained the owner will receive a Fire Prevention Notice requiring them to undertake works.
It is an offence to fail to comply with a Fire Prevention Notice.

Vacant land

To protect your neighbours, owners of vacant land are required to maintain the vegetation on their property during bushfire season by:

  • Removing any fallen and dead vegetation
  • Removing any fine fuels (anything less than 6mm in diameter e.g. twigs)
  • Creating separation between vegetation, buildings and fences by mowing and pruning vegetation.

If someone is concerned about a property with an excessive volume of fuel, they should contact Council.

Burning off 

Burning off in the open air is prohibited unless you have a valid permit issued by your Council.
In Manningham, residents who own, reside in, or manage a property greater in size than 2,500 square metres are eligible to apply for a permit to burn off green waste on their property.
Before applying for a permit to burn off green waste residents should know:

  • It is illegal to burn off during the fire danger period without a special permit.
  • Outside of the fire danger period it is illegal to burn off when the fire danger rating is very high or above.

Residents can apply for a permit via the Councils websites, either www.nillumbik.vic.gov.au or Manningham go to www.manningham.vic.gov.au/burning-off

In Nillumbik, burning off can occur from October 1 until the Fire Danger Period is declared by the CFA.
A permit is required to burn off in Nillumbik if your property is less than 1 acre (0.4 hectares) OR If you wish to burn off a large heap, a pile that occupies an area greater than 10 square metres or more than 25 cubic metres in volume.
If shade temperature exceeds 32 degrees Celsius or the wind speed exceeds 15kph, do not burn off.
It is the responsibility of the permit holder to check the fire danger rating before they intend to burn.
Any burn off must be registered with the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) on 1800 668 511 prior to commencement.
Further conditions apply to all permits and will be provided on approval of a permit.
Residents must read and be aware of all conditions prior to open air burning.
Residents may also contact the CFA to burn off their property for them.
For additional information on burning off residents can visit the CFA’s website: cfa.vic.gov.au/plan- prepare/burning-off

Fire danger period 

The Country Fire Authority is responsible for declaring the Fire Danger Period for each municipality at different times in the lead up to the fire season.
It depends on the amount of rain, grassland curing rate and other local conditions.
No fire danger period has been declared for Nillumbik yet but check with the CFA for updates.
www.cfa.vic.gov.au/warnings-restrictions/restrictions-during-the-fire-danger-period

Renters in fire prone areas 

Whether a person owns their property or rents, it is just as important to know their risks and have an emergency plan.
In regard to clearing vegetation, renters must adhere to Council conditions in the same way a property owner must.
If a person renting has concerns about the state of vegetation on their property, they should contact their real estate agent or landlord to discuss the matter directly.

 

Meet the Brigade at the Research CFA Open Day

By JOHN HUF

RESEARCH Fire Brigade will open its doors to the public on Saturday, November 30, 2019 as part of the 2019 CFA Open Day program.
Brigade members will be on hand on the day with a range of fire safety information and advice.
Fire Brigade Captain Neville Stewart said CFA Open Days were the perfect opportunity for brigades to show the community what they do to keep everyone safe and to deliver valuable fire safety messages.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for our local community to meet the men and women who work hard to keep them safe from fire and help out in times of emergency,” he said.
“Anyone interested in joining CFA, whether as a firefighter or in a support role is also welcome to come along for a look and a chat.”
CFA Chief Officer Steve Warrington said the open days are a great opportunity for people to find out how to best protect themselves, their family and property from fire this summer.
“A strong relationship between the community and emergency services is a crucial component in boosting community safety and greatly assists our members in their critical role of the protection of life and property.
“Now is the time to prepare your family and home in the lead up to summer and we’re here to help — members will be on hand to provide a range of fire safety information.”
Brigades throughout the state have opened their stations to their local communities as part of the CFA Open Day program since it started in 2011.
The day is an opportunity for all Victorians to learn more about what brigades do for the local community in a relaxed and friendly environment.
The Research Brigade Open Day will be held on Saturday, November 30 at the fire station in Research-Warrandyte Road from 10am to 12pm.

For information on this event and other events being held by brigades around Victoria, see cfa.vic.gov.au/whatson

 

“Are YOU Ready?” Bushfire Scenario

By DICK DAVIES

The Warrandyte Community Association’s ‘Be Ready Warrandyte’ campaign will be hosting a bushfire scenario on  Wednesday, November 27, from 7:00-9:00pm at the North Warrandyte Family Centre in Research Road, and all Warrandyte residents are urged to attend.
The emphasis is on the “Are YOU Ready?” with special attention to new neighbours and pets.
Community Emergency Management leaders will be on hand to answer questions about school shutdown, police activity, potential road closures etc. and the Bendigo Bank will provide advice on insurance.
The focus will be on North Warrandyte and Warrandyte, with Emergency Management Risk assessment and updates and a realistic scenario.
The last two bushfire forums were  information sessions at the Community Church which attracted about 250 people each time, but our feedback forms suggested that there was a perception that it was too Manningham oriented.
Consequently we are holding this one in the North Warrandyte Family Centre on Research Road.
It is however, a smaller venue and we plan to cater for an overflow in the North Warrandyte Fire Station with live projector and speaker feeds.
Parking is also limited so we advocate participants arrive early, car-share and utilise overflow parking in an adjacent paddock.
We plan to have a mini bus for those who don’t want to walk!
We urge everyone in the Warrandyte community to attend, especially new residents and those with pets.

Event Details:
“Are YOU Ready?”, Bushfire Scenario
Wednesday 27th November, 7:00–9:00pm
North Warrandyte Family Centre in Research Road.
RSVP info@warrandyte.org.au

Organised by the Warrandyte Community Association’s “Be Ready Warrandyte” campaign with the CFA, Nillumbik and Manningham Councils and local Emergency Services and supported by the Bendigo Bank Warrandyte Community Financial Services Limited.

DiaryTV interviews: Bryan Dawe

MONTSALVAT Gallery is host to a new exhibition from satirist and artist Bryan Dawe.
Known predominantly for his work as foil to the late John Clarke on the ABC’s 7:30 Report, Bryan is also an accomplished artist, with this the 14th exhibition of his work.
The exhibition has been assembled by curator Krista McClelland, who has managed to combine several styles of Bryans work into a cohesive gestalt that feels right at home in the rustic surrounds of the Barn Gallery.
Bryan spoke to the Diary just prior to the opening of the exhibition, Interlude in Montsalvat’s Barn Gallery about his art, his satire and his love aff air with Morocco.
Bryan develops his pieces using iPad technology.
“I picked a few of the little apps that were around that did exactly what I wanted them to do … I just play really.
“On the iPad now, there are so many painting and drawing apps that weren’t available even when I did the Tangiers exhibition and now they are, and so you keep at it, and hope you don’t trip over the furniture on the way, and end
up with some work,” he said.
The musical theme of his many pieces in this exhibition took inspiration from Montsalvat’s Barn Gallery itself, after looking at the gallery’s grand piano he produced a series of musically themed pieces.
“I walked in the door here and that inspired me … I just went ‘yup, music’.
“My stuff is pretty regular, circus, theatre, abandoned buildings, and the music is part of it… the shape of the piano is beautiful, and the shape of the violin is beautiful and so that is not hard,” he said.
Montsalvat’s Gallery Curator, Christine Johnson opened the exhibition by applauding Bryan’s innovative technique.
“Working on an iPad, he draws freehand, paints and transforms his imagery on the virtual plane and brings the images to full realisation as exquisite and vivid pigment prints.
“By his combining the hand-drawn with the digital, Bryan has more or less created a whole new idiom for himself.
“These images have their roots in Bryan’s photographic works, which were themselves also transformed beyond ordinary reality using similar technical methods,” she said.
Bryan told the Diary he gets a different sort of pleasure from art than producing his many satirical performances.
“It doesn’t clash in any way because I am not trying to be satirical in any way — if any of them become satirical then it is by accident, more than design, ironic maybe, there is a bit of that going on with some of them, … it is almost the opposite of it — and it is a release from all the politics, which bores me senseless.”
He said he feels lucky to have his art as an outlet since his work producing political satire ended abruptly when his collaborator John Clarke passed away.
“Boredom is a strange thing, as John Clarke used to say, boredom is the driving force of all art, and if you are not doing one thing you have got to look around and make sure boredom is kept at bay.
“When John passed away that was the end of our thirty-year relationship and the end of me doing political satire on television.
“There was no one else I was ever going to work with, or wanted to work with, so I was incredibly lucky I was doing this [art] at the same time,” he
said.
When John passed away Bryan was able to escape to Morocco where he has been traveling to and from for over a decade.
“It began with a man called Sandy McHutchin who used to work at the ABC and did Australia Overnight, and he lives with his family in Fez permanently now, and they invited me when they came back to Australia to look after their house in Fez, and that started the romance with Morocco, and that was seven trips ago.
“I discovered Tangiers which I had been through two or three times but had never stopped because everyone said ‘oh don’t stay in Tangiers, it is a bit
like Marcelles’.
“Then one day, an Australian woman said to me, ‘do you know what, you need to go and stay in Tangiers for a while, because I think you and Tangiers
were made for each other’.
“And I got there, spent a week, fell in love with it and then met the art gallery owner who said have the exhibition.
“So I went there last year for five months and did some of this work, but that was where it began and it has just grown from there, but I do love
Tangiers particularly, partly because it is a port town.
“I grew up in a port town and I love port towns.
“[Tangiers] is like Marseille, I went to Marseille, I said ‘oh yes this is easy, this is Tangiers with French language’.”
Bryan started creating his artwork around 12 years ago.
“I had a brief break of about fi ve years in between, because I didn’t quite know where I wanted to take it all… and I was in Tangiers, and the night before I came back [to Australia] an art gallery owner said ‘oh you are coming back next year, do you want to have an exhibition’?
“I came back to Australia and put together an exhibition of work that was nothing like anything I had ever done
and that is what kickstarted these — I had three [exhibitions] last year and this one.”
Bryan also spoke recently as part of the Montsalvat Festival, with a talk entitled A Satirists Journey.
“It is a talk about where I started, and my influences.
“I was told I couldn’t do any of the things I ended up doing, and I suppose if that is a message in the talk it is never tell a young kid they can’t do
something.
“I was told I could never work on radio, could never be an actor, could never be a writer, didn’t even get to art — because I came from the wrong background — a working class background in Port Adelaide.”
“What happened is my father died when I was 15 and I left school because I was — boredom is not quite the word, it is way beyond there — and so I left.
“And that is when I was told I couldn’t do all these thing, so there was a farsighted genius in all this that was the career advisory offi cer and he told me
that I couldn’t do these things… and one of the great things that happened, is eventually I was asked to go back over to Adelaide to my high school and
speak at their hundredth [anniversary] celebrations.
“I said very naughtily to them, ‘good evening ladies and gentlemen, I am here despite you, not because of you’.
“The night went downhill from there — that is what the talk is about, and I talk about working with my characters Roly and Sonya Parks and my other
character Sir Murray Rivers, and of course John Clarke, so it covers a fair territory along the way.”
Bryan said that his life’s journey has been about exploring possibilities.
“Things happen and you go down that trail and see what happens and hope you get home without hurting yourself,” he said.

Interlude is at the Barn Gallery,Montsalvat until November 11.

Meet the artist: Saturday, November 9, 2–4 pm
Bryan will talk about his practice as an artist working in the digital realm.