Download our 2020 Exhibition Program

The Calleen Collection 1977–2019

Wendy Sharpe Erksineville Train Station
Wendy Sharpe, Erskineville Train Station, 2018 oil on canvas, 145 x 182 cm. Winner Calleen Art Award 2019.

15 December 2019 to 2 February 2020

The Calleen Collection comprises the winning works of the acquisitive Calleen Art Award, established in 1977 by Cowra arts patron and collector, Mrs. Patricia Fagan, OAM. Each year since the inaugural exhibition, the Calleen Art Award has grown in significance as an acquisitive art prize and is now valued at $20,000. This has ensured that the Calleen Collection housed at the Cowra Regional Art Gallery is worthy of the broad spectrum of other collections of Australian art in regional public galleries across NSW.

The works in the Calleen Collection are as wide-ranging and varied, as the artists who created them. Previous winning artists of the Calleen Art Award and represented in the Calleen Collection include Mandy Martin, Greg Daly, Claire Martin, Rowen Matthews, Meg Buchanan, David Fairbairn, Yvonne Boag, Peter Gardiner, Wendy Sharpe, Naomi White, G. W. Bot, Gladdy Kemarre and Zai Kuang, to name a few.

Behind the Lines: The Year’s Best Political Cartoons for 2019

Jon Kudelka (Behind the Lines 2019 Cartoonist of the Year).

8 February to 15 March 2020

Each year, the Behind the Lines exhibition features a broad selection of political cartoons from around Australia, providing an insight into the year in Australian politics. It celebrates the role of political cartoonists in Australia and highlights the power that their drawings have in contributing to our daily political and social discourse.

Framed by the world of rock music and under this year’s theme song of The Greatest Hits Tour, Australia’s leading political cartoonists amped up the satire on 2019’s greatest political hits. This year, Behind the Lines features over 80 artworks of striking artistic quality from over 30 political cartoonists from across Australia.

Temporarily closed due to COVID-19 restrictions

25 March to 16 June 2020

As Far As The Eye Can See

Susanna Castleden, Bitumen Landscape (Indian Ocean Drive), 2016, frottage and screen print on gesso paper maps, 210 x 360cm.
Photograph: Silversalt.

16 June to 19 July 2020

Through the work of 22 Australian artists, this exhibition celebrates the contemporary topography of both landscape and printmaking. The artists express their individual relationships to the land through a variety of print media, describing both the vast scale and the intimate detail of our diverse natural environment and portraying Australia’s unique and varied geography.

A Blue Mountains City Art Gallery exhibition curated by Rilka Oakley.

Obsessed: Compelled to make

Greg Daly, 2020. Photography: John Daly

1 August to 13 September 2020

Obsessed: Compelled to make presents the work of 15 artists from across Australia, delving beyond the finished object, beyond the personality of the maker, into the fundamental conceptual framework of their creations. We look at the complexities of their materials and processes, the realities of their day-to-day studio routine and unravel what compels each maker to create over the course of their personal career – Why this technique or material? Why that concept? How does the mind of a maker work?

This exhibition explores the act of making through the framework of obsession – how it consumes us, carrying us along in its wake, colouring every aspect of our lives. With these professional artists, it is their obsessions, and all the associated angst, failures, breakthroughs and milestones, that feeds their productivity and to deliver exceptional outcomes.

Artists: Gabriella Bisetto | Lorraine Connelly-Northey |  Honor Freeman | Jon Goulder | Kath Inglis | Laura McCusker | Elliat Rich and James B Young (Elbowrkshp) | Kate Rohde | Oliver Smith | Vipoo Srivilasa | Tjunkaya Tapaya | Louise Weaver | Liz Williamson | Greg Daly (Cowra Regional Art Gallery guest artist)

Obsessed: Compelled to make is an Australian Design Centre of ADC on Tour exhibition, accompanied by a series of films and a full-length catalogue.

Curators: Lisa Cahill and Penny Craswell
Exhibition design: Stephen Goddard
Catalogue design: Michael Donohue
Filmmaker and photography: Angus Lee Forbes
Additional photography:Jules Boag, Peter Whyte
Poet: Sarah Rice
Curatorial Research and Development: Lisa Cahill and Jo Higgins

Learn: Download the education kit here.

Explore the exhibition webpage here.

ADC’s CEO and Artistic Director spoke to one of the artists in the exhibition Living Treasure Master of Australian Craft weaver Liz Williamson and a local Cowra artist with an international reputation ceramicist Greg Daly about their practice.

Watch the complete film series below:

Exhibition touring dates listed have changed due to COVID-19. Check with the Australian Design Centre for updated details.
Greg Daly’s work has been included in the Obsessed: Compelled to make exhibition at Cowra Regional Art Gallery. A key feature of the Obsessed project is to include a local component at each stop on the tour and Cowra Regional Art Gallery chose to incorporate a local artist in the exhibition. The film accompanying Greg’s work in the exhibition was made by his son John Daly.
Gabriella Bisetto has built a career as one of Australia’s prominent glass artists. Gabriella’s obsession is evidenced by her long-term exploration of how glass can be used to visualise and reinterpret the human body’s internal activity as tangible forms in glass.
Filmmaker and photography: Angus Lee Forbes
Lorraine Connelly-Northey is a Waradgerie mixed media artist who has become known for her oversized woven installations of fibre vessels.
Filmmaker and photography: Angus Lee Forbes
Adelaide-based ceramic artist Honor Freeman is inspired by everyday domesticity in her work. From recreating in clay a lifetime in old, used-up cakes of soap to making Besser Blocks or light switches from the same material, Honor captivates with her faithful reconstructions of the ordinary.
Filmmaker and photography: Angus Lee Forbes
Jon Goulder is a furniture designer-maker who is widely acknowledged as a master craftsperson and creates his one-off pieces, limited editions and prototypes by hand in his workshop in Adelaide. Growing up in Mittagong and Bowral in NSW as a fourth generation furniture maker, Jon’s passion for furniture started young.
Filmmaker and photography: Angus Lee Forbes
Kath Inglis is a jeweller who has honed her craft through decades of practice working with one material – PVC. The artist expertly dyes, carves and/or fuses this seemingly ordinary sheet plastic to create jewellery pieces with a particular luminosity, eschewing expensive gems and metals.
Filmmaker and photography: Angus Lee Forbes
Laura McCusker is a furniture designer and maker who is never happier than when she’s in her workshop, transforming rough timber into beautifully finished furniture pieces. Working from a converted apple-packing shed in Hobart alongside her husband, she has embraced the beauty of local timbers like Mountain Ash and Stringybark, crafting works that hold a deep connection to place. Authenticity of materials is vital to Laura, who combines traditional woodworking skills learnt at Sturt School for Wood in New South Wales with contemporary cutting-edge design.
Filmmaker and photography: Angus Lee Forbes
Elbowrkshp is the studio of Elliat Rich and James B Young, combining Elliat’s conceptual approach to contemporary design and James’s skills in traditional leatherwork and shoemaking
Filmmaker and photography: Angus Lee Forbes
Melbourne-based artist Kate Rohde makes highly ornate sculptural objects, taking inspiration from Rococo and Baroque decorative art, science, zoomorphism and the Wunderkammer (cabinet of curiosity)
Filmmaker and photography: Angus Lee Forbes
Oliver Smith is acknowledged as an innovative and skilled silversmith he comes, perhaps not coincidentally, from generations of jewellers and metalsmiths, including makers of armour. A deep understanding of metallurgy is pivotal to Oliver’s practice, built on a working knowledge of gold and silver and expanding to encompass toolmaking and particularly the composition and historical use of steel.
Filmmaker and photography: Angus Lee Forbes
Vipoo Srivilasa is a Melbourne-based artist whose friendly, child-like joy for life belies his serious dedication to the mastery of ceramics. Originally from Bangkok, Vipoo moved to Australia about 20 years ago and, since then, has become one of Australia’s most widely exhibited artists.
Filmmaker and photography: Angus Lee Forbes
Tjunkaya Tapaya divides her time as an artist painting for Ernabella Arts in the mornings and weaving in the afternoons for Tjanpi Desert Weavers. Tjunkaya is a member of the Pitjantjatjara people. She was born in the desert in the far northwest of South Australia near Attila (Mount Connor). Her mother had walked from Walytjitjata, in the Northern Territory, and arrived at Ernabella Mission at Pukatja shortly after Tjunkaya’s birth. Now a senior Anangu woman based at Ernabella in South Australia, Tjunkaya holds senior positions in her community and is a keeper of culture and stories. It is these stories and experiences that she weaves into her work, an important element being to pass on culture and skills to new generations of makers.
Filmmaker and photography: Angus Lee Forbes
Louise Weaver is a Melbourne-based contemporary artist whose experimental approach sees her working across a range of different materials and mediums.
Filmmaker and photography: Angus Lee Forbes
Liz Williamson is a weaver based in Sydney. Creating woven structures has been a fascination, passion and creative practice for her since taking a weaving course in the late 1970s.
Filmmaker and photography: Angus Lee Forbes

Calleen Art Award 2020

4 October to 15 November 2020

Zoe Young
ZOE YOUNG On the Farm 2020, acrylic on Belgian linen, 120 x 160cm. Winner Calleen Art Award 2020

The Calleen Art Award is a major Gallery event and a favourite annual exhibition with Cowra and district audiences and visitors to the region. This celebrated acquisitive art prize is open to original contemporary paintings in any style or subject and its ongoing development as a nationally significant and prestigious art award is due to the support of the Calleen Trust providing prize money of $20,000 for 2020.

Founded in 1977 by Mrs Patricia Fagan OAM with the aim to foster originality, creativity and excellence in the visual arts the winning work joins The Calleen Collection at Cowra Regional Art Gallery. This year’s exhibition features a diverse selection of 52 artworks selected by a panel of professional art curators chaired by the Brian Langer, Director – Cowra Regional Art Gallery from 330 entries. The Calleen Art Award Judge for 2020 is Steven Alderton, Director and CEO, National Art School.

The winning painting of the Calleen Art Award 2020, is On the Farm (pictured) by Zoe Young.

For the first time in the history of the Calleen Art Award, our opening night was held virtually with a live broadcast of the winner announcement on the Gallery Facebook page on Saturday 3 October from 7pm.

Prior to the announcement of the winner, visitors were invited to view the finalists exhibition in our special preview on Saturday 3 October from 1.30pm to 4pm.

Click here for more information including Exhibition Catalogue, Learning Resource and Video Walkthrough.

upstART 2020

22 November to 6 December 2020

The 18th annual UpstART Exhibition and Awards showcases the work of regional students in Stages 5 and 6, encompassing a broad range of styles and subjects. The exhibition includes experimental and creative approaches to painting, ceramics, mixed media, photography and sculpture. This is a “must-see” exhibition presented by the Cowra Regional Art Gallery, in association with high schools in the Central West.

Virtual Opening: Saturday 21 November 2020 commencing at 2.30pm.
Click here for the Facebook Live broadcast of the opening and award ceremony.

2020 Judge – Dr Rowen Matthews, artist and lecturer

upstART 2020 is supported by the following generous sponsors and donors: Eckersley’s, Webster’s Optometrists, Vineyard Motel, Yellow House Cowra, LT 131 Pizza, The Friends of the Gallery, The Cowra Art Group and Mrs. Margaret Henley.

The upstART 2020 winners were announced on Saturday 21 November by award judge, Dr Rowen Matthews, artist and lecturer. The event was live streamed to the Gallery Facebook page and is now available to view below.

View the walkthrough of the upstART 2020 exhibition below.

Operation Art


Operation Art is an initiative of the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, in collaboration with the NSW Department of Education. This unique exhibition project of artworks by children in Kindergarten through to Year 10 from across NSW schools contributes to the wellbeing of sick children and their families by creating work which is uplifting and gives hope to those who spend much of their time at hospital.

The Operation Art touring exhibition comprises 50 selected artworks from the main exhibition presented annually at Sydney Olympic Park. The tour of the selected artworks visits several regional galleries in NSW, before the works are donated to the Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions the Operation Art exhibition has been cancelled. The 50 selected artworks are available to view in the following video:

A Cowra Regional Art Gallery outreach community project presented in the Cowra Library.