Blue Mountains MP Trish Doyle opened the Explorers exhibition at Woodford Academy

From left, Trish Doyle MP, Dr Jacqueline Millner (Latrobe University), Aunty Carol Cooper, Kate O’Neill (WA Management Committee historian), Mahalya Middlemist (MAPBM Committee and exhibition Co-curator), Noel Burgess (WA Treasurer), Beata Geyer (MAPBM President and exhibition Co-curator), Dharug man Chris Tobin, Tony Bond (MAPBM Vice-President) and Elizabeth Burgess (WA Vice-Chair).

From left, Trish Doyle MP, Dr Jacqueline Millner (Latrobe University), Aunty Carol Cooper, Kate O’Neill (WA Management Committee historian), Mahalya Middlemist (MAPBM Committee and exhibition Co-curator), Noel Burgess (WA Treasurer), Beata Geyer (MAPBM President and exhibition Co-curator), Dharug man Chris Tobin, Tony Bond (MAPBM Vice-President) and Elizabeth Burgess (WA Vice-Chair).

Modern Art Projects Blue Mountains (MAPBM) celebrated the successful opening on Saturday of its contemporary art exhibition, Explorers: narratives of site in contemporary art practices at Woodford Academy with another win, the announcement it will receive a second grant from Create NSW.

Nearly 100 people attended the launch and first open day which features the work of 17 Blue Mountains and western Sydney artists.

The exhibition was developed by MAPBM in conjunction with the Academy and was supported by funding from the organisation’s first grant from Create NSW. The show is co-curated by MAPBM president Beata Geyer and committee member Mahalya Middlemist. The second Create NSW grant will fund the Kiosk 3X6 Project, an intensive 18-week artist residency at the Katoomba Falls Kiosk. 

The Explorers opening was preceded by a Welcome to Country by Aunty Carol Cooper and smoking ceremony by Dharug man Chris Tobin.

In her opening speech Ms Geyer noted the Explorers exhibition had provided a framework for artists to work with the Academy site.

“The whole project was devised to allow artists to truly immerse themselves in the site,” Ms Geyer said praising the volunteers for their support, particularly historian Kate O’Neill.

Chris Tobin

Chris Tobin

The project sought to explore the lesser-known stories associated with the site. 

“This was the basis … thinking about the other kinds of stories that exist and how we could engage with them,” Ms Middlemist said.

Guest speaker, academic Dr Jacqueline Millner, who is writing the Explorers exhibition catalogue essay, discussed the changing relationship between artists and historic houses.

“When artists enter a museum or historic house they work not only with collections but also new ways of thinking. [They] have the potential to animate museums in novel ways, bring in new audiences and extend our thinking about things about which we may have become complacent.”

Blue Mountains MP Trish Doyle opened the exhibition and also announced the $22,000 grant towards the Kiosk 3x6 project.

Explorers will be open for the remaining Academy open days in 2017, on Saturday October 21 and Saturday November 18. School and other tours by arrangement. Go to www.explorersnarrativesofsite.org.

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