‘The Old Men’, 2019

Latest & Greatest

Image source: Photographer Mick Richards

Nina Shadforth celebrates the latest exhibition of the Sunshine Coast Art Collection – and explains the importance of the Collection for the community.

There has been quite a buzz of late around the Sunshine Coast Art Collection which recently received a significant artwork by prominent First Nations artist, the late Michael Nelson (Kumantye), Jagamara (1946-2020). This generous gesture arose from local philanthropists, the De Deyne Family, who are steadfastly passionate about the arts and culture on the Sunshine Coast. Upon seeing the painting in the 2020 Sunshine Coast Art Prize, there was no question about acquiring the work to donate it to the Collection. This gift has helped boost the representation of First Nations art and to ensure it remains on the Sunshine Coast for the community to enjoy.

Wait! Hold on, what art collection? Yes! One does exist on the Sunshine Coast and it’s an incredible cultural asset that belongs to the Sunshine Coast community. Chances are if you have walked into your local library or one of the Council administration buildings, you would have been in the presence of, or even noticed an artwork on the wall. Artworks from the Sunshine Coast Art Collection are often displayed in Council’s libraries and civic buildings across the region, and at times, the Caloundra Regional Gallery features works from the Collection in its curated shows. There has also been instances where works from the Collection have been requested from curators outside of our region to tour around the nation in travelling exhibitions – which is fabulous exposure not only for the Sunshine Coast Art Collection, but also demonstrates the Sunshine Coast’s rich arts and culture!

Officially known as the ‘Sunshine Coast Art Collection’, it was formed when two existing Council collections from the former Caloundra City and Maroochy Shire Councils amalgamated in 2008. Years later, in 2017, Council worked with rigour behind the scenes to assess and audit the artworks in the amalgamated Collection to establish clear goals and focus areas for future acquisitions.

These are important foundations in order to shape an art collection with a distinct ‘Sunshine Coast’ identity and for it to become a long-lasting cultural asset for the community. Each artwork added to the Collection since the review has endured a process of evaluation to ensure that works align to and represent any one or more criterions in Council’s Arts and Heritage Collections Policy, for instance: ‘Contemporary Australian Art’. The assessment of a potential incoming acquisition can also be quite involved as it takes time to research the artwork and address areas of compliance within the Policy, so as to ensure consistency with the goals of the Collection.

The painting ‘The Old Men’ (pictured) by Jagamara, has been donated by the De Deyne Family through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program.

It is an exquisite rendition of traditional dot painting combined with contemporary aesthetics, depicting the Walpiri/Luritja elder’s traditional story of sacred men’s business, and features in the current exhibition at the Caloundra Regional Gallery aptly-titled, Latest & Greatest: Sunshine Coast Art Collection Recent Acquisitions.

This exhibition celebrates a remarkable period for the Sunshine Coast Art Collection, having experienced a 28% growth in the last two years in its holdings of contemporary Australian art.

More than seventy artworks selected from the recent acquisitions are on display and there’s bound to be something for everyone!

Pottery, sculpture, abstract paintings and portrait photographs, as well as landscapes and digital media by nationally renowned artists like Joe Furlonger, Natalya Hughes and local identities such as, Johanna DeMaine, Joy Roggenkamp (1928-1999), plus many more!

Artworks find their way into the Collection generally by direct donation or as a tax incentive through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program.

These have been, and still are, the main modes for acquiring artworks, in addition to the annual Sunshine Coast Art Prize, presented by Caloundra Regional Gallery, where the winning work is added to the Collection.

From the high profile artists represented, through to the philanthropic relationships that has evolved over this time, the Latest & Greatest: Sunshine Coast Art Collection Recent Acquisitions exhibition acknowledges and pays tribute to those who have made contributions that are of significant value to the size and calibre of the Collection.

If you are unable to head down to the Gallery to see the exhibition and you’re curious to know more, there’s an online art collection database on the Caloundra Regional Gallery webpage that is free for any member of the public to peruse.

Once there, you can search by artist or artwork and delve into the details about what it is made of, who by, how big or small it is in size or when it was created through to the inspiration and story behind the artwork.

One way or another, the Sunshine Coast Art Collection is accessible to all members of the public through a vibrant program of exhibitions, region-wide displays and online.

Supported by Council, the Art Collection affords an opportunity for broad community access to learn about, appreciate and enjoy the visual arts, and as an important cultural asset in the Region, it contributes to civic pride and enrichment of our community’s cultural and social vitality. Whilst we may not have DaVinci’s Mona Lisa or Jackson Pollock’s Blue Poles in the Collection, we do have a wonderful array of artworks, that reflects the culture and character of the Region, as well as artworks of state and national significance that anyone, local or visiting, can view, consume and connect to!


About the Author /

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Deb has 25+ years' experience providing strategic communications and brand reputation advice to clients in the government, business and not-for-profit clients. She is passionate about Noosa and is an active member of her community, providing PR to Slow Food Noosa and other clients. Her passion lies in working with small businesses to help them succeed. She is planning to release the Tastes of Noosa cookbook with Matt Golinski in 2019.

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