Make an Art Play Date for May

Posted in Communities on 07/May/2019 00:45

This May, Gippsland comes alive with artistic endeavours, as part of the Creative Gippsland – ‘Come and Play – All of May’ celebration of the Arts of Gippsland.

Now in its ninth year, this celebration shines the spotlight on our creative communities and is spread across six different Gippsland regions.  It will feature a dazzling array of performances and exhibitions designed to take you on a voyage of discovery.

Previous years have included art, music, drama, visual artists, historical displays and new media, presented in locations as diverse as galleries, gardens, cafes and even basketball courts.  It’s a unique chance to explore local art, geography and produce hand-in-hand and this year promises to be similarly diverse and bountiful.

The opportunity to get hands-on experience in the creative process is one of the most popular aspects of this month of creativity.  Each year, there’s the chance to take part in arts workshops and get up close to the artists in their workspace.

Another key part of ‘Come and Play’ is the Artist-In-Residence program in six small towns across Gippsland.  This year the host towns are: Buchan, Leongatha, Morwell, Wonthaggi, Port Albert and Warragul.  The artists paired with these towns are in East Gippsland – Paul Oswin, South Gippsland –Nina Katzmarski, West Gippsland–Michelle Roger, Latrobe – Sofie Dieu, Wellington – Ulla Taylor and Bass Coast – Varuni Kanagasundaram.

This May, come on a creative voyage of discovery and revel in the hidden talents and treasures on your doorstep.  For more information, and check in with our Facebook and Instagram accounts.

South Gippsland: Nina Katzmarski


Nina is a Newcastle based visual artist, designer and educator with a passion for community arts practice, collaboration and creative place making.  She has previously studied and worked throughout Australia and Europe as a facilitator for creative work shops and place making initiatives and believes that art contributes to vibrant, healthy and creative cultures and landscapes.  This is evident in the many public art installations, interactive sculptures, collaborative murals and paste ups she has made happen across her creative practice.

The Leongatha Business Association are thrilled to host Nina in her South Gippsland residency and look forward to working with her on a placemaking project that will involve a Leongatha laneway, community collaboration, paint, paste-ups, workshops, some magnets and a treasure hunt!

East Gippsland: Paul Oswin


Paul was born and raised in Robinvale Victoria on the Murray River surrounded by vineyards and orchards.  His late teens and early twenties were spent working on various farms in the area.  He spent a lot of time involved in the local rowing club and fishing and camping on the river.

Paul currently lives in the town of Kerang in Victoria where he resides with his partner and children. Kerang is well known for its natural lakes and abundance of birdlife.  The wildlife of these areas are of inspiration for much of his artwork.

He is a lifelong creative person.  Drawing was painting have always been an interest to me.   He enjoyed art and design at school and later completed a Bachelor of Fine Art in La Trobe University in Mildura in the late 90’s.

Since then Paul has gained teaching qualifications and went on to teach Art in Secondary Schools.  He has been involved in numerous group and solo exhibitions in the Mallee region of Victoria, most recently exhibiting a two month show in Mildura.  He has won several awards for painting, drawing and printmaking.  He likes his art to be vibrant in colour and rich in textural elements so the work has visual movement and energy.  He wants to make art that he enjoys creating while also having broad appeal to an audience.

Paul generally chooses to work with ‘wet mediums’ such as watercolour and inks on heavy watercolour papers to capture the vibrancy of the colours of my subjects.  He likes to create images that sit somewhere between realism and abstraction.  He will often work from photographic references as a starting point, and at some point in the creative process allows himself to work on a purely instinctive level.  In the last few years he has conducted many workshops with community/art groups and schools that focus on instinctive painting using expressive watercolour and ink mediums.  He enjoys sharing ideas with people and watching people’s creativity take over.

Wellington: Ulla Taylor


Ulla has had over 30 years’ experience as a professional painter.  Most of Ulla’s commissioned work has been as a pavement artist creating street murals using pastels and tempera on pavements, which can last many months-years, fading slowly with the effect of the elements.

Ulla usually uses fine art pastels and pigments in a fresco secco technique on various surfaces including concrete, bitumen and pavers.  She also works as a painter, painting on variously surfaced walls and floors.

In 2016 Ulla was successful in being offered a Creative Gippsland residency working in Newhaven. Wellington Shire are thrilled to have her back for 2019, working with the Port Albert community to come up with a great design for the water tower.

Baw Baw: Michelle Roger


Michelle is a blogger and speaker and writes about Dysautonomia and life as a disabled woman.  Her work has appeared in ‘The Victorian Writer’ and ‘Kill Your Darlings’ and online for Writers Victoria, ABC RampUp and multiple support groups.

Michelle received a Write-ability Fellowship in 2014, has been a panellist and performer at both the Emerging Writers Festival and Digital Writers Festival and has performed at several Writers Victoria Salons.  Michelle blogs at tweets at @rustyhoe and runs a digital project #UpAndDressed on Instagram.

Her residency project will be hosted by the Warragul Community House and will explore the relationship of disability and the natural environment both to encourage other disabled people in rural regions to engage in creative pursuits and for non-disabled community members to explore their beliefs around disability, and what constitutes writing and art practice.  Questions around the accessibility of the arts will also be raised.

The project will seek to address these aims through the creation of a series of visual images in various natural settings in Baw Baw Shire and Latrobe City with accompanying written content by the writer. These images will also be used by other community members to create conversations which will be added to the project.

Images and written content will be set in a digital space, Instagram. Workshops and a more informal pop up at the West Gippsland Arts Centre will also occur.

Latrobe: Sofie Dieu


“Poetic and humanistic, my work resides at the intersection of personal narratives, environmental art and recovery processes.”

In her practice, Sofie explores how identity, emotions, and memory fluctuates according to our immediate environment.  She believes that nature is more than a thing outside us, it lives, grows and shape us from within.  As such landscapes, people, healing, and the dichotomy between light and darkness are some of the recurring themes that she explores.

Due to the current drought and devastating summer fires, environmental anxiety among the local population is high. Using both drawing and writing, her project for Artist in Community is to create a cloudscape that crystallises local residents’ relationship to their natural environment while withholding an obvious message of hope.

The community workshop that Sofie proposes, provides residents with a safe environment were well-being and creativity is central.  The collective creation of poems and texts will find its way to punctuate, orientate and help shape her final artwork.  As a result her art will simultaneously acknowledge people’s hardship and acts as a catalyst for resilience.

Bass Coast: Varuni Kanagasundaram


“An Everyday Story She tells” Creative Gippsland Artist in Community in Bass Coast is Ceramic artist, Varuni Kanagasundaram, hosted by the SCM Rescue Station Arts in Wonthaggi.  Varuni is a PhD candidate with RMIT University and is a highly experienced artist through exhibitions, workshops and presentations.

Her practice investigates the cultural rituals undertaken by women from diverse backgrounds.  The creative project ‘An Everyday Story She Tells’, shines a light on domestic rituals to celebrate women from diverse backgrounds coming together to hand make vessel forms out of clay.

Facilitated by the artist, the participants of the creative project hope to ignite a form of story-telling through clay and mark making. The creative experience of the participants of the clay workshops as well as the celebratory event displaying, sharing, performing will convey to the broader community, the diversity of stories from different cultural background that exists in Gippsland.

The rescue station extends an invitation to women of all ages from all backgrounds to the information day Thursday, 9 May 11.00 – 12.30 at the Rescue Station Arts, 95 West Area Rd, Wonthaggi.



For further information speak with:

Ms Andrea Court
East Gippsland Shire Council Arts and Culture Coordinator

This May, Gippsland comes alive with artistic endeavours, as part of the Creative Gippsland – ‘Come and Play – All of May’ celebration of the Arts of Gippsland.