New exhibition: There’s A War On! World War II At Home

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Meg Sheaffe in Sydney, c. 1943. Courtesy of Meg Sheaffe. Private collection

Meg Sheaffe in Sydney, c. 1943. Courtesy of Meg Sheaffe. Private collection

Commencing 4 June to 5 July 2011 at the Cowra Regional Art Gallery is a new thought provoking exhibition There’s A War On! World War II At Home. The exhibition is a Museums and Galleries NSW touring exhibition investigating the effect of World War II on the home front: loss, adventure, hardship, love, internment, friendship, uncertainty – the EXPERIENCES that shaped a generation.

World War II inflicted monumentous changes upon the people of New South Wales. As the cry “There’s a war on!” echoed across the countryside, men, women and children banded together to face an uncertain future.

For some, wartime meant loss, hardship or time in a POW/internment camp because of their status as ‘enemy aliens’. For others, supporting the war effort led to adventure, love, lasting friendships and new experiences.

There’s A War On! is made up of objects, memorabilia, photographs and video footage that presents the memories and ongoing stories of everyday Australians living in extraordinary circumstances. The exhibition will display a diverse collection of precious and practical World War II artefacts, including the delicate lace wedding dress and veil worn by more than fifty Brunswick Valley brides due to rationing of material, and the helmet and diary of Hurstville twin sisters who contributed their bit to the local war effort through the National Emergency Service.

The Cowra Regional Art Gallery is also presenting a showcase of local memorabilia including the two restored alter panels created by Italian Prisoners of War which were originally housed in the Italian Chapel at the Cowra Prisoner of War Camp.

The exhibition will be officially opened on Friday 3 June at 6.30pm by Mr Michael Rolfe CEO of Musuems and Galleries NSW.

There is also a special floor talk (free admission) about the exhibition on Saturday 4 June from 11am to 12 noon by Co-curator Sarah – Jane Rennie followed by the There’s a War

On ! website workshop (free admission) commencing at 1.30pm. During the workshop participants will view the online database for the project, may register as a member and shown how to enter their own material or collection of war memorabillia onto the site.

Cowra Shire Council wins Cultural Award

Friday, May 20, 2011

Adult workshop paticipants with completed shibori textiles (Babara Schey second from the end on the right). Image from

Adult workshop paticipants with completed shibori textiles (Babara Schey second from the end on the right). Image from

A residency and exhibition project presented by the Cowra Regional Art Gallery was among the winners of 17 NSW council projects that were recognised at the 2011 Local Government Cultural Awards ceremony at Parliament House, Sydney on Friday 6 May 2011. Cowra Shire Council received the ‘Program Projects and Partnerships Award’ in Division A for local government councils with a population under 20,000.

More than 100 projects across 54 councils were nominated for the annual awards – organised by the Local Government and Shires Associations of NSW, sponsored by Essential Energy and supported by Accessible Arts NSW.

Judges comments:

The project consisted of a residency/workshop and survey exhibition of Shibori textiles by Sydney based textile artist and tutor Barbara Schey. The residency/workshop component included the artist presenting a series of workshops at two local high schools titled ‘Disappearing Shibori’ and a two day adult’s workshop titled ‘Shibori with Attitude’. The exhibition was titled ‘The Eternal Now: Shibori Textiles by Barbara Schey’ and curated by Brian Langer Cowra Regional Art Gallery Director.

Shibori Textiles Residency and Exhibition – Cowra’s history of connection to Japanese culture had mixed and uncertain beginnings. This project effectively encapsulated the role public galleries have within their communities to extend and grow cultural awareness, within the parameters set by a professional, challenging and well constructed exhibition program.

Other winning entries included a program that mentors local youth entrepreneurs, a series of Saturday morning reading activities for families, a literary and writing festival, and a large-scale collaborative theatre work that examines life in Sydney.

President of the Local Government Association, Cr Keith Rhoades AFSM, said the Awards are a celebration of councils’ commitment to enriching the lives of their residents through arts and culture.

President of the Shires Association, Cr Bruce Miller, said the awards highlight the importance of culture within the community.

For more information contact the Cowra Regional Art Gallery on 63402190.

2011 Calleen Art Award and Central West Regional Artists Award Winners Announced

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Image: Peter Gardiner Landscape 2010 No. VIII 2010, Oil on canvas 210 x 180cm. Image courtesy the artist.

Image: Peter Gardiner Landscape 2010 No. VIII 2010, Oil on canvas 210 x 180cm. Image courtesy the artist.

Winners Announced

The winners of the 2011 Calleen Art Award and Central West Regional Artists Award were announced at the awards exhibition opening on Friday 15 April at the Cowra Regional Art Gallery. Over 150 people attended the opening including many of the finalists, some from interstate and as far away as West Australia. Cr Bill West, Mayor Cowra Shire Council opened the exhibition. The announcement of the award winners was by the 2011 awards judge Deborah Ely, CEO of the Bundanon Trust.

The Calleen Art Award was established in 1977 through a gift by Mrs. Patricia Fagan OAM. During the past 34 years, the award has developed into a major art prize for painting and now worth $15,000 through the generous support of the Calleen Trust. The Calleen Art Award is an acquisitive award and the winning work will become part of the Calleen Art Collection at the Cowra Regional Art Gallery.

The Central West Regional Artists Award is a non acquisitive award for painting and drawing. The award was established in 2009 by the Cowra Regional Art Gallery with prize money of $2,000 donated by David Henley, Cowra based artist and patron of the Gallery. The award is open to artists living in the Central West Region of NSW as defined by the local government areas of Bathurst, Blayney, Cabonne, Cowra, Forbes, Lachlan, Lithgow, Mudgee/Gulgong (Mid Western Region), Oberon, Orange, Parkes, Weddin and Wellington. The winner of the 2011 award is also offered an exhibition at the Cowra Regional Art Gallery during 2012/2013

This year 71 artworks were selected from 214 artworks submitted.

The Friends of the Gallery Committee have also generously donated $500 for the People’s Choice Award which will be announced at the end of the exhibition.

The winner of the 2011 Calleen Art Award is Newcastle based artist Peter Gardiner for his painting Landscape 2010 No.VIII 2010, oil on canvas 210 x 180 cm.

Judges Comments

Peter Gardiner’s Landscape 2010 Number VIII dips its hat to the Spanish masters Valezquez and Goya and to the traditions of landscape painting, but takes them to another place. The viewer becomes involved in a dark narrative that hints at an evolving, indecipherable, drama. It is both frightening and contemplative. There is a strong sense of the present in its possible references to catastrophic weather and natural disasters. It is a sensational painting and will be a wonderful acquisition for the Cowra Regional Art Gallery Collection.

The winner of the 2011 Central West Regional Artists Award is Stuart Town based artist Tim Winters for his painting The Pinnacles Desert 2010, mixed media on canvas 150 x 150 cm.

Judges Comments

Tim Winter’s stylish and confident painting celebrates the desert landscape, incorporating rich reds, ochres and pinks – edged with references to plant life with vibrant flashes of green.

Highly Commended – Calleen Art Award

  • Stephen Caldis (Gymea NSW), Pond of Tears 2011, oil on board 86 x 61cm
  • Peta Dzubiel (Elanora Heights NSW), July 2011, oil on canvas 76 x 91.5cm
  • Ross Laurie (Walcha NSW), Midground –Campfire Road 2010, oil on canvas 106.5 x 122cm.

Highly Commended – Central West Regional Artists Award

  • Rachel Ellis (Bathurst NSW), Orange House, George Street, Bathurst 2011, oil on linen 91.5 x 83.5cm.

The Exhibition continues to 29 May 2011

Free passport to adventure for kids

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

kidsCowra Regional Art Gallery 77 Darling Street Cowra is taking part in this year’s Kids’ Adventure Passport which encourages NSW primary school children to visit the state’s cultural venues.

Kids get free entry to 71 museums and galleries as part of the program, which runs until 26 April this year.

Brian Langer Gallery Director Cowra Regional Art Gallery said they were pleased to be involved in the Passport program.

“This is a fantastic initiative for NSW kids in years K-6 and I strongly encourage all local families to get involved. We’d love to see you at our venue.”

Kids can pick up their Passport at any of the participating venues, or register online at

Each visit to a museum or gallery earns one Passport stamp.

Kids who collect three stamps can apply for a certificate in recognition of their achievement.

Even if they can only visit one or two venues, all children can go in the draw to win prizes and have their drawing of their favourite attraction featured on the Passport website at

For more information contact the Cowra Regional Art Gallery on (02) 63402190

Cultural Connections – A new exhibition

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Image: Sarit Cohen, Three Salad  Bowls, 2010, 15 x 17 cm, slip cast porcelain

Image: Sarit Cohen, Three Salad Bowls, 2010, 15 x 17 cm, slip cast porcelain

The exhibition Cultural Connections is presented by the Cowra Regional Art Gallery in association with the Cowra Festival of International Understanding. Each year the festival invites a different guest nation, with Turkey the guest nation in 2011. Cultural Connections brings together four artists of Turkish descent with varied contemporary art and craft practices. The artists selected for this unique exhibition are Gokcen Altinok, Ebru Arda, Sarit Cohen and Huseyin Sami. Gokcen Altinok is a printmaker who works intuitively and touches on the themes of connection and displacement within a cultural and abstract framework. Ebru Arda works with stop motion animation and her work in the exhibition called ‘Bir Fincan Kahve’ (Cup of Caffine) consists of charcoal drawings (along with other mediums close to charcoal) about the world of superstition and adventure, driven by the art of coffee reading from a tradition centuries old. Sarit Cohen is a ceramicist who has exhibited widely in Australia and overseas. Her work in the exhibition includes designs and carved motifs which speak of a range of sources and influences including desert landscapes, Islamic architecture and the Hebrew language. Huseyin Sami has formulated a unique language with the medium of acrylic household paint, which aids him in addressing the question of how and what to paint. Sami’s work explores the possibilities inherent in the painted process, combining activities that explore a mixture of authorial intention and chance within the action of painting, constructing a sense of experimentation, process and play.

The official opening of Cultural Connections is on Friday 11 March 2011 at 6.15pm for 6.30pm with a special welcome by Councillor Bill West Mayor Cowra Shire Council and opening by His Excellency Mr. Oğuz Özge, Ambassador of Turkey to Australia. Catering for this special event has been generously provided by the Turkish Embassy.