A new artist-run contemporary art space that’s been 18 months in the making, Slag Heap Projects, is opening at 217 Oxide St with a fundraising event from 6pm this Friday, December 1.
Attracted to the richness of the cultural landscape, Founding Co-Directors Hester Lyon, Verity Nunan, and Asma Mather sought to create a project that advocates for artists in Far West NSW through experimentation, place-based research, and commercial engagement by facilitating a gallery space to exhibit and sell artwork, while also wanting to understand the complexity of the region using art as a tool for inquiry.
“Opening [this space] comes at a time where it’s in step with a national conversation that’s advocating for regional arts and trying to break down this binary between metro or urban arts and regional arts,” Ms Lyon told the Barrier Truth.
“We’re kind of responding to that national level discourse around contemporary art and the regions, and then also a local discourse around how cultural spaces have been compromised in our community and wanting to have a space that’s really founded on best practice that really is about support.
“It began out of conversation. We identified that was something that was missing, something that had a really strong curatorial focus as well the opportunity to sell work in our gallery. We have the resources amongst our three really diverse networks to provide a really professional experience that can also be a professional development experience for artists.”
Ms Mather agreed, telling us that the trio were “finding that a lot of [their] conversations were coming back to similar things, and we wanted sort of a method or a way of capturing those things, transcribing them into our artistic or curatorial practices”.
The fundraising event on Friday night – helped by the support and sponsorship of Foundation Broken Hill – will incorporate art, raffles, live performances, and drag. More than 20 contemporary artist’s works will be on display, including pieces from Bonnie Quayle, Anthony Hayward, Joshua de Gruchy, Badger Bates, Nici Cumpston, Ruby Davies, Rick Ball, Taanya Quayle, Lindy Marshall, and more.
Activating spaces such as this new contemporary gallery is important for the town’s vibrancy that sits outside of Argent St, says Ms Lyon, believing Slag Heap Projects is in the right location to deliver such an exciting program that’s centred around its work and the people that can inspire conversations around understanding the history of place.
“We did a call out to all our local artists, friends, people we’ve worked with in the past, people we whose work we love, as well as people nationally. We’ve got people from the east coast, southeast, people that are either practicing here, or have a relationship to this place in some way,” Ms Lyon said.
“I think some of the local artists that are able to be there on the night, it could be a really interesting exercise to see their work in relationship with other people’s work that they may not have met or may not have had the chance to work with. It’s always fun trying to fit such diverse practices together in a fundraiser exhibition, but it’s going to be a great show.”
With the chance to purchase artwork, go into a $10 raffle for one of Bonnie Quayle’s pieces of artwork, and buy Slag Heap Projects merchandise, everything that’s raised on the night will go into their 2024 operations, including artist fees and exhibition materials to help best support the artists.
Slag Heap Project’s opening night fundraiser event kicks off at 6pm on Friday, December 1 at 217 Oxide St. To RSVP to the event, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/16757451637703/.