Exploring Woodford history in a new exhibition

Anne Graham: Detail from Bees, The Beehive Lady and the Beehive Observatories.
Anne Graham: Detail from Bees, The Beehive Lady and the Beehive Observatories.

A group of 17 Blue Mountains and western Sydney contemporary artists will engage with the concept of “exploration” through a multi-layered innovative exhibition which opens at Woodford Academy on Saturday, October 7.

The exhibition, Explorers: narratives of site in contemporary art practices, has been developed by Modern Art Projects (MAP) Blue Mountains in conjunction with the Academy and supported by funding from Create NSW. The show is being co-curated by MAP President Beata Geyer and committee member Mahalya Middlemist. 

“The idea of ‘exploration' has a strong association with the Blue Mountains and is one of the primary narratives of colonialist Australia,” Ms Geyer said.

“In this exhibition, however, the artists and curators are exploring other, lesser-known narratives, including pre-colonial perspectives and traditional cultural stories, historic accounts and urban myths.”

Ms Middlemist said the development of the project had involved a deep engagement with the cultural and architectural heritage of the Woodford Academy site which sought to address three key curatorial themes – stories, mapping the terrain and architecture.

“The artists have developed works using a range of media, including painting, installation, performance and time-based media to produce work which responds to the historical and cultural resonances of the site,” Ms Middlemist said.

“They have used these processes to engage in explorations of the academy’s many stories, both historical and traditional, as well as with the material traces of the past through explorations of archival materials, the landscape and architecture.”

Ms Geyer concluded: “The result is an extended, multilayered, accumulative exhibition project, which responds to the complex and overlapping narratives of the historic Woodford Academy site.”

The exhibition will be open on selected weekends through October and November. For further information, see www.explorersnarrativesofsite.org or email explorersproject.map@gmail.com.