Report from Australia: Le Chéile at the New Land Gallery, Port Adelaide as part of the South Australia touring exhibition organised by Counrty Arts, South Australia and Visual Art in Celtica Festival Port Adelaide

Le Chéile looks excellent in the New Land Gallery, Port Adelaide. It is the premier art space in Port Adelaide, a short drive from the city. The streets of Port Adelaide are wide and spacious leading to the harbour and waterfront where the New Land Gallery is located.

The gallery has a high ceiling with good lighting, a foyer space with the exhibition title Le Chéile written high up as visitors enter the building and print works leading into the main space. 123 works are showing by 17 participants from the start of the project and includes recent new participants. The selection process by Veronica Calarco, Rob Johnson (Visual Arts Manager, Country Arts SA) and Katinka Gleim (Visual Arts Officer) has really worked in creating a consolidated exhibition out of the many the different collaborations, ideas and processes. Additional work by each artist is presented in a highly visible print browser. At the time of writing there are two sales from the exhibition (Steffan and Veronica). The exhibition’s coherency is helped by the combination of several works in large frames; often, but not always collaborative partners are framed together creating a substantial wall presence. Other works, mostly the larger prints are also in individual frames. The artists books and folios are displayed clearly in cases, with one sketchbook accessible to touch. The private view was well attended. Vicky Reynolds, Head of Printmaking at TAFE School of Arts opened the show talking about process and printmaking with a musical performance by Irish band Blind Mary. Further photos of the show are at


continued PART 2….



The exhibition has shown in Elliston Community Hall, Jamestown Belalie Art Gallery, Bordertown Civic Centre Walkway Gallery and will continue to Roxby Downs Regional Gallery and continues its tour well into 2010 throughout South Australia. I was able to visit the Riddoch Art Gallery in Mount Gambier with Rob Johnston and Katinka Gleim whilst installing another show Parallel at Mellicent Art Gallery, both towns located toward the Victoria Border in the South East of the State. The Riddoch Art Gallery is run by Lucia Pichler, SA South East Director and Lucia gave a tour of the gallery and the Gooch collection of Aboriginal art from Utopia (aboriginal country near Alice Springs). The collection consists of 2D and 3D work by, mainly, living and recent contemporary aboriginal artists and is a rich and diverse collection. The Riddoch also has a national collection of contemporary art making a comprehensive selection of Australian art with artists such as Ian Abdullah and Ann Newmarch. The photograph features Lucia Pichler and myself in front of a large triptych by John Beard (painter born Wales 1945) one of the paintings in the collection. Le Chéile will be touring to the Riddoch when it reopens after rebuilding later 2010.

With the touring programme organised by Country Arts SA Le Chéile is reaching a wide audience as it travels throughout South Australia. The exposure in this substantial exhibition form adds to the central theme of the project, that of distant communication through printmaking; ideas flow between art work and exhibition viewer as individual and cultural connections are discovered and reinvented. The exhibition has been reviewed in Imprint, December 2009 edition.

There are plenty of visitors to Port Adelaide throughout the week and at weekends, particularly during festivals. The Celtica festival has attracted a large audience over this weekend (5 and 6th December). Organised by Suzanne Laslett it showcases performers with Celtic heritage and association, musicians on two stages, numerous stalls, Scotland focus, Welsh and Irish language classes, food stalls, traditional dancing, demonstrations of musical instruments and an impressive line up of bands including Rickety Bridge and Bric a Brac, the Melbourne based band with strong Brittany connections. The visual art element of Celtica was comandingly inaugurated by bagpipes leading all from the Gaff gallery to the . The exhibitions include Wales and Ireland Le Chéile participants.

Thanks must go to Veronica Calarco for instigating the Australian participation in Le Chéile and putting together the proposal for exhibition; Rob Johnston and Katinka Gleim for selecting and organising the touring exhibition and Suzanne Laslett for organising the Celtica festival with visual art element (coordinated again by Veronica) creating a strong Wales/Ireland art presence in Port Adelaide at the moment.

There are numerous further adventures to report from my three week visit to Australia so please see more at http://energystations.blogspot.com/ to be loaded over the coming days.

Andrew Smith 6th (Adelaide) and 11th December (Sydney) 2009