Arts / What’s on and where in Canberra this weekend

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The ACO’s Richard Tognetti. Photo by Zan Wimberley.
RICHARD Tognetti will lead the Australian Chamber Orchestra in a program that partners two 19th century greats, Brahms and Tchaikovsky, with the world premiere of Missy Mazzoli’s “Dark with Excessive Bright” double bass concerto and Anna Clyne’s “Prince of Clouds” double violin concerto. Llewellyn Hall, 8pm, Saturday, February 3. Bookings to


THE NGA’s recently opened exhibition, “David Hockney: prints”, has inspired a “prints party”, which will have punch, food and live entertainment, such as drag superstar Venus Mantrap and local producer Nick Delatovic. At the National Gallery, from 6pm-8pm this Friday, February 2. Bookings to

THE Paperbark Treehouse, made from recycled timber and designed and built by Cave Urban, has been launched by the Friends of the Australian National Botanic Gardens and is now open to the public.


Padma Menon
THE Canberra Jung Society will host Padma Menon for a talk entitled “Embodying Archetype: Indian Dance Theatre Traditions and Philosophy and their Modern Relevance”. At MacKillop Conference Centre, 50 Archibald Street, Lyneham, 8pm this Friday, February 2, all welcome. Cost for non-members is $12, $10 for seniors or $6 concession.

NGA’s Hyper Real exhibition star Patricia Piccinini will be in conversation with NGA’s senior curator of Contemporary Art Jaklyn Babington, at MUSE Café, East Hotel, Kingston, from 3pm-4pm, Sunday, February 4. Bookings to

Workshops and classes

NOW in its 28th year as Canberra’s longest running acting course, “Acting for the Fun of It” offers four distinct courses throughout the year. The first of these courses is devised especially for people with little or no experience in acting and will commence at the Hedley Beare Centre for Teaching and Learning, 51 Fremantle Street, Stirling, from 7-9pm on Thursday nights between February 15 and April 21. Information and enrolment forms at or or on 0408 034373.

Budding Theatre
KIRSTY Budding’s Budding Theatre stages several shows each year and offers drama classes for all ages and a space for playwrights, directors and performers of all ages and experience levels. Inquiries to

CANBERRA Vocal Development is presenting new performance and singing classes. Enrolments are now open. Inquiries to or 0431 759232.

GARY France’s percussion centre the Groove Warehouse in Hume is commencing classes for 2018. Payment plans are now available for all students. Information and bookings to

Work by Leeanne Crisp
PAINTER Leeanne Crisp is running four Sundays of drawing and painting at the Margaret Whitlam Pavilion in the Nation Arboretum. Crisp’s work can be seen in the National Portrait Gallery and the National Library collections. The workshops are between 9.30am-4.30pm, finishing on February 4. Fees apply and lunch is included. Bookings to

TICKETS are now on sale for the 24th Canberra International Music Festival, running from April 27 to May 6. There’ll be 23 ticketed concerts, intimate conversations with festival artists, musical talks and free events. Bookings and full program at

FOUR Winds 2018 Easter Festival, Barragga Bay, March 28 to April 1. Bookings to or 6493 3414.

THE Alliance Française de Canberra at 66 McCaughey Street, Turner, offers language and culture courses all through the year. Information about courses to

MUSIC for Canberra has opened enrolments for Term 1. To trial a new class or audition for the James McCusker Orchestra and Canberra Youth Orchestra visit

CIT Adult Short courses are held every first weekend of the month all year round at Canberra Glassworks. Costs apply. To find out more email

SUBSCRIPTION bookings for The Canberra Theatre Centre’s “Collected Works 2018” are now open at

THE annual subscription theatre program for The Q, Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre, is now open. Bookings at

CANBERRA Repertory has now launched its 86th season, billed as “a season with something for everyone”. Bookings to


THE Mother Tongue Multilingual Poetry will be at the 2018 National Multicultural Festival and poets can read or recite a four-minute poem in a language other than English (or more than one language) at one of the showcases on February 16 and 17. Expressions of interest to

Arts Business

Playing Field Studio
PLAYING Field Studio is holding its Annual General Meeting at Playing Field Studio, 2 Kingsley Street, Civic, at 5.45 pm for a 6pm start on Tuesday February 13. All positions are voluntary and come with access to the studio as a thank you to the time spent on the space. All welcome.

CANBERRA Academy of Dramatic Art has now moved to new premises at 11 Whyalla Street, Fyshwick. The phone contact is still 1300 908905.

THE Embassy of Brazil in Canberra and the Rotary Club of Canberra are organising the 2018 Brazilian Gala Masquerade Charity Ball at the Embassy of Brazil on Friday, February 9. The evening will feature Brazilian cuisine, samba by The Glamourosas and Allan Dantas and capoeira by Mestre Rodriguinho. Funds raised go to malaria eradication programs and initiatives. Bookings to

CRAFT ACT is calling for new exhibition proposals from artists, craftspeople, designers, makers and curators for the 2019 program. Submissions close at midnight on Sunday, March 4 to

WITH productions like Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour’s “La Bohème” and Massenet’s “Don Quichotte” coming up, Opera Australia is offering gift vouchers, which can be emailed, at

ENTRIES are now open to register the annual “RAW Comedy” competition where new performers test their skill and stamina with five minutes of new, original comedy material – stand-up, sketch, double and triple acts and musical comedy. The National Grand Final are at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in April. ACT heats at The Civic Pub on February 21 and 28, and the final will be at The Street Theatre on February 28. Registrations and details to

Aarwun Gallery
AARWUN Gallery is selling works by the legendary Norman Lindsay at up to 50 per cent off the price of works on paper, facsimiles, etchings, original pencil drawings, books and prints. At the gallery, Federation Square, Gold Creek, Canberra, open daily 10am to 5pm until February 10.

THE Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council will be trialling a new concept in The Q Exhibition Space in early 2018. “Quirk” will, as well as functioning as an exhibition space, be a shopfront to support and promote regional creatives, with a selection of souvenirs and gourmet goodies. Council’s cultural staff are currently compiling a list of local producers, artists and craftspeople who may be interested in becoming suppliers. Inquiries to with “Quirk” in the heading.

ALSO, The Q would like to invite artists and creators to help celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre in February through to March by submitting a work with the theme of “ten”, “celebration”, “party”, “anniversary” and “birthday” to with “Ten” in the heading.

The Young Music Society offices are now located at the Flynn Community Hub, Bingle Street, Flynn, and the organisation has a new phone number, 6258 0200. Instrument hire is conducted from the business office at the Community Hub from 10am-4pm Tuesday to Thursday.

THE Belconnen Children’s Choir, formerly the Voices Out Loud Primary Choir, is an ensemble of Canberra’s own Young Music Society. Any primary-aged child from around the region is invited to join with conductor Veronica Moore to enjoy singing, learning about music and the voice, and making new friends. The choir meets on Tuesday afternoons, 4.15pm-5.15pm during school term in the Music Room of the UC Secondary College Lake Ginninderra, Emu Bank, Belconnen. Information and registration to or 6258 0200.

JULIA Landford’s new Canberra NatureArt Lab at M16 Artspace, in Griffith is proving to be very popular. Bookings for 2018 are now open through the website

PRIZE-winning botanical artist, Sharon Field, has set up a blog which considers ideas of “beauty” and “creativity” in botanical art and summarises what is coming up for her on the art scene. Visit or follow her on Instagram at @sharon_field_artist

AINSLIE and Gorman Arts Centres offers supported office accommodation for artists, creatives, as well as arts and music-based organisations and individuals. Inquiries to


Museum and Art Gallery of the NT
ENTRIES have now opened for the 2018 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award. The Museum and Art Gallery of the NT hosts this annual event that showcases the best in indigenous art from across the country. Entries are open to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists over the age of 18 until March 16 at

THE Matt Withers Australian Music Composition Competition is on again, with the first prize doubling to $2000 and total cash prizes of over $3000, also there’s recording and performance opportunities too. Entries close COB, April 20 to


WARWICK Thornton’s 2009 Cannes award-winning feature “Samson and Delilah” will screen at the Arc Cinema, NFSA until February 3. Bookings to

AMERICAN Express Openair Cinemas is bringing movies to Canberra with more than 40 events happening on Patrick White Lawns outside the National Library of Australia to February 25. Dogs are welcome and catered for. Bookings to

THE National Film and Sound Archive of Australia has “Strictly Ballroom: Behind the Curtain”, a new online exhibition to celebrate 25 years since the release of Baz Luhrmann’s debut film in August 1992. Visit

Concerts and Gigs

AFTER a jam-packed 2017 that involved a month of shows in Europe, a guest appearance on vocals with David Bowie’s band at the Sydney Opera House and a second invitation and appearance at India’s NH7 Weekender Festival, Paul Dempsey returns to Canberra for an intimate solo performance in The Playhouse, this Saturday, February 3. Bookings to or 6275 2700.


Rehearsal for “Foxes: The Musical”
“WE’RE not too young to achieve the impossible” is the motto of Ribix Productions, one of the liveliest new theatre companies in Canberra. Its current musical, “Foxes: The Musical” has music and lyrics by Parnell and a book by Pengilly, who also directs. The script follows the journey of two young women, Sierra and Indi, as they try to find their place in a fictional kingdom. “Foxes: The Musical”, at Belconnen Community Theatre, January 31- February 3. Bookings to


QL2 Dance’s training programs provide a series of weekly classes for ages eight through to 20 and over, designed to build choreographic awareness, creative capacity and confidence, dance technique, strength, alignment, fitness, and awareness of stylistic traditions and directions. Enrolment Day at QL2 office and foyer in A Block, Gorman Arts Centre, 55 Ainslie Avenue, Braddon, 3pm-6.30pm, Monday, February 5.

“CITYNEWS” Artist of the year, Liz Lea, is calling for expressions of interest from dancers/creators for the forthcoming “DANscience Moving Well” event to be held in Parramatta, from June 1-2. Email by February 16 with proposals.


Work by Michael Retter and Scott Mitchell
MARQUETRY artist Michael Retter and wood master Scott Mitchell, who first worked together some 20 years ago when fitting out an old Railway Carriage situated on Dick Smith’s property near Canberra, have collaborated again to break new ground, in an exhibition at Bungendore Wood Works Gallery, Kings Highway, Bungendore until February 27.

CANBERRA Glassworks’s newest exhibition features “Hurt Locker” by Penny Byrne and “between stillness and movement”, by Harriet Schwarzrock, which involves a sound sculpture by Brian McNamara. At Canberra Glassworks, 11 Wentworth Avenue, Kingston, to March 25.

Jon Lewis, Martin Place, Sydney, 2014
JON Lewis’ exhibition “Perfect Strangers”, which launched at the State Library of NSW last year joins Konrad Lenz’s “Portraits” exhibition at The Photography Room, Old Bus Depot, 21 Wentworth Avenue, Kingston Foreshore, running until March 4. Gallery open Sundays 10am-4pm and by appointment.

QUEANBEYAN Art Society’s “Anything Goes” exhibition will be opened by Maggie Hickey in the Queanbeyan Art Society Gallery, 6 Trinculo Place, Queanbeyan, under the bridge, at 2pm, this Sunday, February 4. All welcome.

Phil Ryan’s Mt-Schank Volcano
TUGGERANONG Arts Centre will host two exhibitions from Batlow landscape artist Phil Ryan and local videographers Silver Dory Productions. Phil Ryan’s mixed media exhibition is titled “Young Volcanic Landscapes”, while Silver Dory Productions’ “Brindabellas: Edge of Light” takes viewers on a cinematic tour of the frozen mountain wilderness using near infrared technology. Launch by environmental scientist Randall Falkiner, 6pm, Thursday February 1. All welcome, then open to the public February 2-17.

GALLERY@bcs springboard series presents “Plucked 2018”, an exhibition of drawing and printmaking by Belconnen Community Gallery Emerging Artist Support Scheme prize-winners Alex Butler, Alice Turner, Miriam Slater, Sharon “Shags” Gallagher and Yimin Cen. Belconnen Community Centre, Swanson Court, Belconnen, 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday, until February 16. All welcome.

“SMALL Worlds” is an exhibition of photographs of moss, lichens and fungi by Brenda Runnegar with drawings by Emma Kelly, at the Visitor Information Centre, Australian National Botanical Gardens, until February 4, daily 9.30am–4.30pm. All welcome.

David Lancashire’s “The Magic of Country”
“THE Magic of Country” by David Lancashire presents over 50 painted and collage works connected to a larger body of over 200 works initiated on a long ago trip to the MacDonnell Ranges in Alice Springs. Opens at the Nishi Gallery, facing Hotel Hotel, 6pm, Friday, February 2. All welcome.

“TITANIC the Exhibition” is still on in Sydney at Byron Kennedy Hall, The Entertainment Quarter, Lang Road, Moore Park, until February 4. Bookings to or 8240 2135.

“ANCESTRAL Journeys: Waters of the Past”, a multiple-media exhibition by Canberra artist Tracey Benson, incorporates a range of media, such as photography, video and augmented reality. It focuses on the waters of migration and connections to ancestral lands and places of significance. The video work is interwoven with music made from DNA sequencing, created by NZ/US based artist and programmer Josiah Jordan. CSIRO Discovery Centre, Clunies-Ross Street, Acton, until March 2.

Sunny Autumn Day, by Valentyna Crane
RUSSIAN-trained impressionist artist Valentyna Crane has produced original paintings conveying the vistas, skies and forests through the changing seasons. The exhibition is at the Village Centre, National Arboretum, daily from 9am to 4pm to February 18. All works are for sale.

“PLAYUP” is the exhibition space in Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House for children and families based around the United Nations Convention on the rights of the child. The new and third PlayUP includes lots of hands-on activities such as listening pods, a fuzzy felt wall, a voting interactive and a role play “Kindness” café.

“THE Selfie Factory” by Ralph Kenke and Elmar Trefz, winner of the 2017 Digital Portraiture Award at the National Portrait Gallery, will be available for public interaction using the hashtag #selfiefactory, until February 18. Interaction times are between 10am-11am, 1.30pm-2pm and 3.30pm-4pm, daily. All of the finalists’ works can be viewed at

THE National Museum of Australia is showing artworks inspired by plants of north-east Arnhem Land by Yol?u elder Mulku? Wirrpanda and landscape painter John Wolseley, in the exhibition “Midawarr Harvest”, until February 18. Free entry, but donations welcome.

Chloe Gray, Crises of Content 3, 2017, photomedia
M16 Artspace at 21 Blaxland Crescent, Griffith, is reopening for 2018 with the launch of four new exhibitions: “Gesture Light” by Racheal Bruhn; “The Rebirth of Reason” by Coralee Rooney; “Crises of Content” by Chloe Gray; and in Chutespace, “Nature’s Table” by Joseph Neville. Running until February 4, Wednesday to Sunday 12pm-5pm. To become a “friend” of M16 Artspace visit

NGA Play has opened an arty play area for children set up by Indonesian art duo Santi Ariestyowanti and Miko Bawono, known as “Indieguerillas” in the play space near the entrance desk, National Gallery of Australia, until May 13.

SA Adair’s “Encasement” is an amazing network of felt components making an organic, perhaps alien appearance. Adair’s work has been selected by the Canberra Museum and Gallery for the “Enlighten” festival in March. “Encasement” is in the Civic Square window gallery facing the Legislative Assembly until further notice.

At Craft ACT
CRAFT ACT is titling a new solo exhibition by textile artist Sharon Peoples, “Death of a Craft”. In it she uses lace as “a vehicle to approach the withered nexus between the craft of lace and its design in traditional lacemaking”. At Craft and Design Centre in the North Building, Civic, alongside Craft ACT’s National Award Exhibition for early career artists, “Emerging Contemporaries”. Both open at 6pm this Thursday, February 1 and run to Saturday, March 17.

THE Australian War Memorial has as a permanent exhibition “The Holocaust: witnesses and survivors”, which includes over 85 collection items.

WORLD War II veterans – 6500 of them – are showcased in a unique photography installation at the Australian War Memorial, “Reflections – honouring our WWII veterans”. The images will be archived and made accessible to the public as part of the Memorial’s online collection.

A LARGE painting by artists from the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands in SA has gone on permanent display in the Australian War Memorial. “Kulatangku angakanyini manta munu Tjukurpa” [Country and Culture will be protected by spears] is in in the orientation gallery, directly opposite the Gallipoli landing boat that took men of the 13th Battalion ashore on April 25, 1915.

CANBERRA Spinners and Weavers have their 50th anniversary show, “Crossing Threads”, curated by Meredith Hinchliffe, at Canberra Museum and Gallery, corner of London Circuit and Civic Square, to March 18.

“FINDERS Keepers: Collectors and their Stories” is at MoAD at Old Parliament House and runs from 9am-5pm, daily, until the middle of 2018. Entry is free after museum admission.

Narek – now in Bermagui
KAREN O’Clery’s Narek Gallery re-opens this week after moving from the old Church on Tathra Rod to Bermagui. It’s group exhibition of new works in textiles, ceramics and wood by artists Gail Nichols, Sharon Peoples, Jennifer Robertson, Ros Auld, Marianne Huhn, Shannon Garson, Moraig McKenna, Ian Jones, Sophie Xarhakos and Peter Carrigy. 5/3 Wapengo Street, Bermagui, Wednesday to Saturday 10am–1pm and 2pm–5pm. Details at

“SONGLINES: Tracking the Seven Sisters”, the story in arts of the women of Central Australia, at the National Museum of Australia, to February 25, 2018. ALSO at the National Museum is the annual exhibition celebrating the achievements and contribution of nominees for the Australian of the Year Awards. Main Hall, until February 18. Free.

GROUND-BREAKING Australian audio-video artist Angelica Mesiti has an exhibition of five major works, including the National Gallery of Australia’s most recent acquisition, “The Calling”, at the NGA until March 2018.

“EIRENE Mort: A Livelihood” marks the 40th anniversary of Eirene Mort’s death at the age of 98. Mort was a prolific artist, collaborator, teacher, writer, family historian and a “new woman” pursuing a profession in the arts at the beginning of the 20th Century. Curated by Dale Middleby, this social history exhibition features an extraordinary array of artworks and artefacts created by her. Canberra Museum and Gallery, until February 25.

MEREDITH Hinchliffe has curated an online exhibition of work by tapestry exponent Belinda Ramson, who died in 2014. This exhibition was mounted at the American Tapestry Alliance, visit

Midden – Wallagga Lake (2017) by Peter Cotton
THE exhibition “Fresh Salt” will be launched this Friday at the Bega Valley Regional Gallery in a partnership with Four Winds, and presents the works created through the “Creative Field Studies” program which showcases the region’s visual artists, musicians, composers, choreographers, and creative writers. The works on show are the result of three field trips to eight estuaries between the mountains of Gulaga and Mumbulla in Yuin Country. Opens at 6pm this Friday, February 2 and runs until February 17.

THE NGA’s summer exhibition “Hyper Real” consists of 50 works in sculpture and video art by 32 artists, varying from the huge “Pregnant woman” by Ron Mueck to Patricia Piccininni’s fragile hybrid babies. National Gallery of Australia, to February 18, 2018. Bookings to or 132 849.

“THE Art of Giving” is a summer trail showing new acquisitions by general donors to the National Gallery of Australia, free, except for entry to “Hyper Real”. Stops on the trail are: ATSI Galleries, Level 1; Impressionism, Australian Art, Level 1; Australian Art Level 1; Sidney Nolan Gallery opposite the NGA shop, Level 1; Hyper Real Level 1; International Art Level 2; and Polynesian Gallery, Level 1.

THE exhibition “Boundless Volumes”, new artworks made from excess leather bound volumes of parliamentary proceedings by Michael Eather, Simryn Gill, Katherine Hattam, Pam Langdon, Archie Moore, Elvis Richardson, Kylie Stillman, Imants Tillers and Hossein Valamanesh. Presiding Officers’ Exhibition Area (level 1) at Parliament House. Free to the public and open until February 11.

Karena Keys’ “Break it up”, 2017
PHOTOACCESS opens two exhibitions this Thursday, February 1: “Break It Up”, a visual and tactile installation by Karena Keys featuring an animation filled with pulsating and bulging golden blobs; and “The In Between”, in which Madeline Bishop explores the construction of women’s identities and the development of relationships within domestic space. Both at Manuka Arts Centre to February 25.

“BEHIND the Lines”, with the theme this year “Three Ring Circus”, is showing the best political cartoons of 2017 and Political Cartoonist of the Year – at the Museum of Australian Democracy in Old Parliament House, until further notice.

THE NPG’s big summer exhibition, “Starstruck: Australian Movie Portraits”, is for people who love film and portraits, at the National Portrait Gallery until March 4. Bookings to


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Helen Musa
“CityNews” arts editor

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