The recent rains are supposedly abating and we planned an indoor/outdoor day to hedge our bets. First stop was the Tweed Regional Gallery and Margaret Olley Art Centre in Murwillumbah, a 25 minute drive from our house. Not large, but very lively, this young institution aims to be a hub for cultural activity and seems to be succeeding. There were three rotating exhibits that included intriguing work by a still life artist, Dean Home, and paintings by an Aboriginal artist based in this region, Digby Moran.
There was also a group of works that show a regional landmark, Mt. Warning, painted by several different people over a span of about 100 years. (The banner painting is yet another view of Mt. Warning by Thomas Dean).
The permanent exhibit includes Margaret Olley’s studio, brought lock, stock, and paintbrushes from her home in Sydney. All the materials were photographed in place, catalogued, measured, described, assessed from a conservation standpoint, moved hundreds of kilometers from Sydney to Murwillumbah, stored until the building that is now the gallery was completed, and then reinstalled. I would have loved to be a volunteer helping with that project!
There’s also an artist in residence, and contributions by former artists-in-residence to current exhibits. A good cafe, gift shop, and engaged docents that we observed in action guiding a tour, the Tweed Regional Gallery was impressive as an organization. We had our picnic at one of the outdoor tables looking over the rolling landscape of greater Murwillumbah. I did say this was only the first stop. The weather stayed bright and sunny so we stopped at the Moobal National Park along the road home and went for a walk in the rainforest. There are only a few remnants of coastal rainforest in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland. If you find a patch, the walking is lovely and cool, and there are a few birds. We had our moment in nature before heading home, without a drop falling on us.