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M&G NSW IMAGinE Awards 2023 winners

M&GNSW IMAGinE Awards 2023 winners, Museums & Galleries of NSW, December 2023


 

EXHIBITION PROJECTS – GALLERIES AND VISUAL ARTS PROJECTS
Small or Volunteer Galleries

Winner: Dyarubbin. Hawkesbury Regional Gallery.

Winner

HAWKESBURY REGIONAL GALLERY
Dyarubbin
Dyarubbin took its name from the ancient waterway also known as the Hawkesbury River. Inspiration for the exhibition came after Dharug place-names for distinctive features and landmarks along the river were unearthed in a handwritten list compiled by a Presbyterian minister in 1829. In an act of cultural revitalisation, Dharug knowledge holders, artists, and educators came together to celebrate this discovery through soundscapes, installation art, animation, and storytelling.

Highly Commended
BONDI PAVILION GALLERY
Rainbow, Mermaid, Fireworks
Rainbow, Mermaid, Fireworks, created by Rosie Deacon and Emily Crockford (Studio A), transformed the gallery into an immersive mermaid-themed wonderland. Paying homage to Bondi’s history of mermaid sculptures, this family-focused exhibition invited visitors to explore an undersea disco, don artist-made garments, and snap selfies with a new ‘big rock’ in the mermaid’s garden.

Highly Commended
BONDI PAVILION GALLERY
Bondi Story Room

Bondi Story Room, designed and developed in partnership with Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects and Grumpy Sailor, is a space currently hosting over 325 stories which span topics like First Nations heritage, surf history, and migration. A pioneering digital heritage space, it boasts the largest interactive radar touch screen in the world alongside other leading technologies. An integrated online portal makes this growing archive of stories accessible to a global audience.

 


EXHIBITION PROJECTS – GALLERIES AND VISUAL ARTS PROJECTS
Medium

Winner

MAITLAND REGIONAL ART GALLERY
Upriver Downriver

Flowing from the Mount Royal Range’s babbling brooks, meandering through Wonnarua Country, the Upper Hunter, Maitland, and down to the bustling Port of Newcastle, Upriver Downriver featured 52 artists with strong connections to the Hunter region. Celebrating the work of some of the Hunter’s most established and award-winning artists alongside young and emerging creatives, the exhibition will now become a permanent biennial in Maitland Regional Art Gallery’s artistic program.

Highly Commended
CASULA POWERHOUSE ARTS CENTRE & TAMWORTH REGIONAL GALLERY
LOOKING AT GOLD

LOOKING AT GOLD showcased artists from across NSW who have an enduring fascination with gold as a material, colour, and symbol. Developed through curatorial exchange, the exhibition featured artworks from both collections alongside newly commissioned pieces. By delving into the conceptual potential and recurrence of gold throughout global art histories, this exhibition was able to bring together artists from Green Valley to Tamworth and beyond.

 


EXHIBITION PROJECTS – Major Metropolitan Institutions

Winner

AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM
Burra Learning Place

Burra takes visitors on a fascinating learning journey through Country while immersing visitors in Western science and First Nations knowledges. This innovative learning and play space traces the incredible migration of burra (eel) along estuaries and rivers, across rockpools, and out to sea. Embracing a ‘many-ways’ learning approach, Burra is dedicated to child and family learning while challenging traditional museum practices.

Highly Commended
ART GALLERY OF NSW
Adrián Villar Rojas, The End of Imagination
The End of Imagination was the inaugural exhibition in the Tank, a vast repurposed wartime fuel bunker. Over five years of engagement with the gallery and its team, Adrian Villar Rojas choreographed lights to unveil his astonishing installation of ‘survivor objects’ within the oil-stained space. Through this epic speculation on environmental change and human history, Villar Rojas transformed the Tank into a space of profound reflection.

 


EXHIBITION PROJECTS – MUSEUMS AND HERITAGE PROJECTS
Volunteer Organisations

Winner

MISS PORTER’S HOUSE
Series of Audio Stories
Based on volunteer research into their UNESCO listed collection, Miss Porter’s House produced fifteen engaging audio stories about the Porter family and the house itself. Accessible online and via QR codes throughout the space, these recordings bring history to life and are conveyed by professional voice over artists.

 


EXHIBITION PROJECTS – MUSEUMS AND HERITAGE PROJECTS
Small Organisations

Winner

ORANGE REGIONAL MUSEUM
Mulaa Giilang: Wiradjuri stories of the night sky
Showcasing Wiradjuri skylore, this Indigenous-led exhibition featured dramatic large-scale night-sky photography, impactful graphics, film sequences, digital interactives, and an immersive soundtrack. Mulaa Giilang presented ancient astronomical knowledge while drawing on the living culture of local First Nations talent.

Highly Commended
LA PEROUSE MUSEUM
Talking Sport
Curated by Panthers Aboriginal Sporting Association together with Elders and community leaders of the La Perouse Aboriginal community, Talking Sport featured thirteen interviews conducted with selected community members alongside archival film, photographs, and objects from the museum collection. Through telling the stories of local sporting heroes and their achievements, this First Nations-driven exhibition presented a legacy of community inclusion, resilience, and dedication to sports.

 


EXHIBITION PROJECTS – MUSEUMS AND HERITAGE PROJECTS
Medium Organisations

Winner

SYDNEY JEWISH MUSEUM
Reverberations: A Future for Memory
Reverberations took visitors on a journey through a high-definition gallery of recorded footage presenting the thoughts and experiences of forty-three Holocaust survivors. The three simulated conversation booths with Olga Horak, Yvonne Engelman, and the late Eddie Jaku allowed for people to ask questions directly to these survivors and receive answers through cutting-edge artificial intelligence – a glimpse into the future of survivor testimony.

Highly Commended
MUSEUM OF THE RIVERINA
Semi-permanent exhibition

With a focus on making a sustainable display guided by Wiradyuri consciousness, the new semi-permanent galleries reopened to the public in March 2023. In taking the Murrumbidgee River as a starting place, the exhibition uses a thematic approach that is grounded in Truth Telling. Now, multiple voices – sometimes dissenting – occupy the galleries and tell local stories of connection, resilience, and community.

Highly Commended
NEWCASTLE MUSEUM
Shralp
Shralp is an exploration of the Newcastle skateboarding scene from 1985 to today. Curated and designed by local skateboarder and academic, Jim Turvey, the exhibition is a rich narrative about an often-maligned urban youth culture. The exhibition celebrates Newcastle’s significant role in the history of Australian skateboarding and highlights the lives of local skaters who have gone on to national and international success.

 


ENGAGEMENT PROGRAMS
Small and Volunteer Organisations

Winner

HAWKESBURY REGIONAL MUSEUM
Bangadyi Nawi Making a Canoe

Bangadyi Nawi was a community engagement project between Hawkesbury Regional Museum, the Darug community, and Brewongle Environmental Education Centre. The project provided a transformative experience for local Aboriginal high school students who created a traditional canoe during an Elder-led, inter-generational camp on Country. As a new exhibit at the Museum, the canoe will shape learning opportunities for the whole community.

Highly Commended
FAIRFIELD CITY MUSEUM & GALLERY
Tick the Box
Tick the Box was a creative development program and pop-up event that invited artists and writers from different disciplines to be critical about cultural institutions’ practices of engaging with diverse creatives. New works in the forms of interactive art, performance, and poetry were presented and exhibited at the event, sprawling across the Museum and Gallery’s historic site.

Highly Commended
SINGLETON ARTS + CULTURAL CENTRE
Spirit of Place
A program of activities was organised to coincide with Spirit of Place, an exhibition of photography and cultural objects documenting important and fragile Aboriginal sites in the Hunter region. Activities included a launch event with a Smoking Ceremony by Wonnarua Elder Uncle Warren, a performance by the Puwampi Unti Kunarr Aboriginal dance group, an artist talk, school visits, and professional development sessions.

Highly Commended
ORANGE REGIONAL MUSEUM
Sharing music of the Dunera boys, Orange
Orange Regional Museum collaborated with Orange Regional Conservatorium to deliver a meaningful public program of music performances linked to the exhibition Enemy Aliens: The Dunera boys in Orange, 1941. The project included community participation and shared original music composed by Dunera internee Max-Peter Meyer during his internment in Australia, including works never performed outside the camps.

 


ENGAGEMENT PROGRAMS
Medium Organisations

Winner

MUSEUM OF THE RIVERINA
RETURN: Reconnecting objects and collections with people and places

The RETURN symposium brought together First Nations peoples, museum professionals, and academics from across the globe to discuss the past, present and future of the return of cultural artefacts. Conversations led by First Nations voices explored successful returns, changing dynamics and a way forward built on relationships and collaboration.

Highly Commended
TAMWORTH REGIONAL GALLERY
Trans Day of Visibility
Tamworth Pride and Tamworth Regional Gallery partnered on a Trans Day of Visibility event to celebrate the artistic talent and achievements of LGBTQIA+ community from the region. The event provided opportunities to acknowledge the LGBTQIA+ community, tell regional stories, spark important conversations, and provide a safe and inclusive space for socialising.

Highly Commended
NEW ENGLAND REGIONAL ART MUSEUM
Winter Blooming Festival 2022

The Winter Blooming Festival was a bold and inclusive program of visual arts, literature, spoken word, music, and public forums that celebrated Indigenous, multicultural and LGBTIQ+ arts, culture, people, and allies. The festival was a vital regional event that promoted diverse cultures, communities, and voices.

 


ENGAGEMENT PROGRAMS
Large Organisations

Winner

MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART AUSTRALIA & PARRAMATTA ARTISTS’ STUDIOS (PAS)
Being Together: Parramatta Yearbook

Being Together: Parramatta Yearbook saw artist Cherine Fahd engage with Parramatta’s long-time and new residents, workers, students and visitors in the creation of a collective portrait of the city’s diverse citizenry, during a moment of momentous change at a scale unprecedented in its civic history.

Highly Commended
SYDNEY JEWISH MUSEUM
Lotte Weiss Intercultural Day

Holocaust survivor Lotte Weiss was committed to standing against hate and discrimination. To continue to impart her inspiring message, the Lotte Weiss Intercultural Day brought together 120 students from diverse Sydney schools. This program was designed around object-focused teaching to enable collective storytelling, increased empathy, and understanding.

 


INNOVATION & RESILIENCE
Projects with a budget of $10,000 or less

Winner

TAMWORTH REGIONAL FILM AND SOUND ARCHIVE
Relocation Rush
The Tamworth Regional Film and Sound Archive faced unexpected safety issues, prompting a move from its Ray Walsh House location. The dedicated volunteer team collaborated with Tamworth Regional Council staff to organise a new premises, preserving the valuable collection. The Archive’s continued cataloguing and digitisation efforts ensure that regional stories are available for future generations.
<h4id=”achaa”>INNOVATION & RESILIENCE
Projects with a budget of between $10,000 and $100,000

Winner

NEW ENGLAND REGIONAL ART MUSEUM
HOME
HOME was a collaborative project between several Armidale cultural institutions to provide an integrated arts and cultural program for 14 remote primary schools affected by the Black Summer bushfires in the region. HOME fosters the skills of rural teachers and integrates visual arts, music, and Indigenous culture around the theme of ‘home’.

Highly Commended
EUGOWRA HISTORICAL MUSEUM AND BUSHRANGER CENTRE
Eugowra Disaster Response Team & Project
Eugowra faced severe flooding on November 14, 2022, nearly wiping out the village. A Disaster Response Team comprised of local volunteers, museum staff, consultants, and conservators came together. In just two weeks, over 30 individuals dedicated more than 500 hours to clean, pack and salvage the museum and its collections in challenging conditions, providing crucial support to the community.

Highly Commended
NORTHERN RIVERS COMMUNITY GALLERY & IGNITE STUDIOS
Commemorative Flood Recovery Project
The Commemorative Flood Recovery Project delivered free creative workshops to flood-affected community members in the Ballina Shire. Led by professional artists, the workshops culminated in a community art exhibition, engaging 150 participants. The project garnered widespread community support, fostering social cohesion, resilience and well-being through arts-based activities.

 


INNOVATION & RESILIENCE
Projects with a budget of $100,00 or greater

Winner

BATHURST REGIONAL COUNCIL, MUSEUMS BATHURST
Central Tablelands Collections Facility
The Central Tablelands Collections Facility is a 2,500-square-metre repository and learning space that opened in 2022. It provides state-of-the-art collection storage, including climate control, specialised racking and security for the Bathurst Regional Council’s collections, regional collection groups and larger state operated institutions. The project originated from many years of identified needs and secured funding through various plans and business cases.

 


The ACHAA Award for Outstanding Lifetime Contribution to NSW Aboriginal Culture, Heritage and Arts

Dr Uncle Stan Grant Senior AM
Uncle Stan Grant Sr has been crucial to the reconstruction, revival and teaching of Wiradjuri language, enriching the lives of countless thousands of students and Wiradjuri people.

Born in 1940, he learnt to speak Wiradjuri from his grandfather Wilfred Johnson (known as Budyaan). When Uncle Stan was only seven or eight years old, his grandfather was arrested and detained overnight after a policeman overheard him speaking in language.

From the next day on, Budyaan refrained from speaking Wiradjuri in public. But he continued to speak it in the bush which was where young Stan learnt his language along with hunting and other skills. Language, his grandfather told him, was important because “it is who you are and where you belong”.

He honoured his grandfather’s memory in his 1999 short story collection Stories told by my grandfather and other old men. Then In 2005 with the late Dr John Rudder he published the nearly 600 page A New Wiradjuri Dictionary. The following year his work was recognised with the Deadly Award for Outstanding Achievement in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education. Uncle Stan has since produced numerous publications, recordings and teaching resources including children’s books, song books and university texts alongside being a teacher, lecturer, course developer and passionate advocate himself.

Over the past decade, he has successfully collaborated with Wiradjuri/Gamillaroi multi-disciplinary artist Jonathon Jones, with language and concept informing each other.  As a result, their collaborations can be found in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, and the Art Gallery of NSW. Additionally their works have appeared at the Powerhouse Museum, the Art Gallery of South Australia, in triennials, festivals and public art commissions including the permanent Wagga Wagga weaving welcome at Wagga Wagga Regional Airport. Uncle Stan has also been cultural advisor to other exhibitions including for the Bathurst Regional Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of NSW.

Uncle Stan was named a Member of the Order of Australia in 2009 for “service to Indigenous education and the preservation and promotion of the Wiradjuri language and culture, as a teacher and author, and to youth”. He was granted an Honorary Doctorate of Letters in recognition of his work in education and language revival by Charles Sturt University in 2013.

He has also been recognised with Lifetime Achievement Awards from the National NAIDOC Committee and the NSW Aboriginal Languages Trust and now joins the roll call of ACHAA IMAGinE Award recipients for his Lifetime Contribution to NSW Culture, Heritage and Arts.

 


The ACHAA Award for Excellence by an Aboriginal Curator

CHERIE JOHNSON
Newcastle Museum
Cherie Johnson is the founder and CEO of Speaking in Colour, which offers programs to Aboriginal students and community members to engage in Aboriginal cultural practices, such as weaving and making of possum skin cloaks. Led by Johnson, Cultural Resurgence featured artworks made by over 600 program participants from across the region. The exhibition was a timely reminder that Australia has one of the oldest cultures in the world and that the practices on show are techniques handed down through many generations.

 


Volunteer Achievement Award

ANNABEL MARGARET SENIOR – MISS PORTER’S HOUSE (NATIONAL TRUST)
UNESCO Memory of the World Listing (UNESCO MoW)
As the Chair of Miss Porter’s House, Annabel Senior has played a pivotal role in the UNESCO Memory of the World Listing (2023) and its enabling projects. Her leadership has ensured high standards of museum practice, leading to partnerships with Newcastle Museum for offsite storage and long-term preservation initiatives in the Hunter region, benefiting the UNESCO MoW listed MPH documents. Her inclusive, supportive, and proactive leadership has been instrumental in the successful completion of these projects.

Highly Commended
MYF THOMPSON – BATEMANS BAY HERITAGE MUSEUM
Crossing The Clyde
Myf Thompson, an honorary curator at Bateman’s Bay Heritage Museum, played a pivotal role in repurposing elements from the replacement of Batemans Bay’s beloved town bridge for a maritime-themed exhibit. Thompson collected stories and objects, creatively honouring the bridge’s spirit, and transitioning the museum towards its maritime themes. This transformation, known as Crossing The Clyde, showcases the region’s history and marks a shift towards distinctive maritime presentations.

Highly Commended
RAY AGUSTIN – EUGOWRA HISTORICAL MUSEUM AND BUSHRANGER CENTRE
Eugowra Disaster Response Team & Project
Ray Agustin, chairman of the Eugowra Historical Museum & Bushranger Centre, demonstrated exceptional dedication during Eugowra’s catastrophic flooding event, doing all he could to protect the museum. Following the flood, he coordinated the disaster recovery team and ensured the safety of the collection, leading clean-up efforts, engaging volunteers and museum experts and, and overseeing restoration work to preserve Eugowra’s historical artefacts.

 


NSW Health Infrastructure Arts and Health Award

Boomalli Aboriginal Artist Cooperative
Artist led consultation with Aboriginal stakeholders for aesthetic interventions in emergency department waiting rooms
The St Vincent’s Hospital Emergency Department waiting room serves a multitude of community members, including a high number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients. While some efforts have been made to make this a culturally competent, welcoming space, it can still be intimidating and confronting for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members.

St Vincent’s Arts Health program, in collaboration with Boomalli Aboriginal Artist Cooperative, propose to manage a first-stage creative, artist-led, community consultation process to explore potential aesthetic interventions to be incorporated into St Vincent’s Emergency Department waiting rooms.

At the end of the consultation process, an artist from Boomalli Aboriginal Artist Cooperative will create a visual response to the workshop’s outcomes. This artwork will be exhibited alongside workshop outcomes to highlight the process and developmental work undertaken to invite further input and feedback from community members.

The IMAGinE Awards are an initiative of Museums & Galleries of NSW, developed with support from the Australian Museums and Galleries Association NSW and Regional and Public Galleries of NSW. 

The 2023 IMAGinE Awards is made possible through the generous support of our sponsors, including International Conservation Services as the Major Sponsor of the Awards. This year we welcome the Art Gallery of NSW as a Sponsor and Venue Partner for the IMAGinE Award’s night.