Words: Briony Downes
Staged at the Bega Valley Regional Gallery between 2018 and 2020, the award-winning South/East Interference exhibition series brought local and international artists together to explore themes of place and identity in an Australasian context. Curated by the gallery’s director Iain Dawson, the series embraced a cross section of works by artists such as Sri-Lankan-born Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, Jogja-based Jumaadi and Yolngu artist Gunybi Ganambarr.
Looking ahead, Dawson hopes to continue the gallery’s emphasis on expanding cultural boundaries. Currently steering the Bega Valley Regional Gallery into its rebrand as the South East Centre for Contemporary Art (SECCA), Dawson is maintaining his focus on developing a culturally enriching space that reflects the diversity of surrounding communities.
“SECCA will be reflecting this rich and unique character back to the world,” he says, “so the world can see itself in SECCA. Our artistic program framework has been designed to respond to this and we plan to present Australian artists working around these themes as well as artists from the Asia Pacific region.”
Over the next 12 months, Dawson reveals the SECCA visual arts program will include a solo show by Indonesian/Canadian artist Ari Bayuaji, exhibitions of work by Bonita Ely and Jess MacNeil and several touring shows including Dennis Golding’s POWER – The Future is Here and the Archibald Prize 2023. He points out that prior to the gallery’s renovations, large scale exhibitions could not have been staged due to size limitations. With the interior now extended to double its previous height and size, the scope of art SECCA can accommodate encompasses a much broader spectrum. A highlight of his 14-year run as director, Dawson says, “SECCA elevates the presentation of contemporary visual arts and brings us into line with the world class offerings already within our cultural ecosystem.”
Featured image: Iain Dawson with Gangguan Tengarra – Edition Indonesi at the Bega Valley Regional Gallery, 2020. Photo: David Rogers. Courtesy: Bega Valley Regional Gallery.
This article was originally published in Art Collector issue 103, January-March 2023.