The Mid North Coast is and always has been home to some surfing legends, and looking back at the surfing lifestyle as it was from the 1960s through to the present day provides a fascinating glimpse into our local culture. Jane Hosking, Acting Director Manning Regional Art Gallery, has curated a comprehensive exhibition of surfing memorabilia, including photographs, to showcase our surfing history …
Introduce us to the concept behind Locals Only II. How was the idea behind this exhibition initiated?
For some, surfing is like a religion. Their lives are dictated by the swell, and they must obey.
Locals Only II is the second chapter of an exhibition we held back in 2008, Locals Only. The idea for the show is to explore the surfing culture of the Mid North Coast, which has quite a history.
The first Locals Only contained memorabilia, surfboards, clothing, photography and artwork which had a connection to the local area, and we will continue that story with this exhibition. We put the call out and have sourced photographs of local surfers and the surfing lifestyle, dating back to the 1960s.
As there is such a diverse range of residents and visitors in the Valley, we also want to feature an exhibition that may bring a new audience into the gallery.
What are some of the themes/topics this exhibition explores?
The exhibition will have mainly a historical bent, featuring photographs of not only the local surfers, including the Saltwater Boardriders Club, but aspects of the lifestyle such as the cars and the competitions. Part of the display will be a recreation of the surf shop of the ‘70s and ‘80s, with clothing, decor and memorabilia.
The internationally successful Hot Tuna brand began in Taree, so we will have advertising, clothing and other products from the archives on show. There will also be some contemporary photography of local surfers by Carl Muxlow and other local photographers.
Through our research we have also uncovered some old footage of local surfers and surfing competitions. These will be shown throughout the day with other still photographs.
This area has also fostered some internationally successful surfers of the likes of Ben Dunn and his father, Martin Dunn, who is a WCT Coach and works for Surfing Australia. Trophies and medals from various competition successes will also be on show.
Visitors to the last exhibition were intrigued and fascinated with the surf paraphernalia, artworks and old photographs of the local surfing history. Many brought friends in to see photos of them all back in the ‘60s and ‘70s. It was a nostalgic experience.
How many pieces of work will Locals Only II comprise, and what are some of the various types of media that have been used to execute these pieces?
There isn’t really much art as such, mainly photography.
I must acknowledge all the people who’ve supplied work/photos for this exhibition, including Saltwater Boardriders and the Manning River Times.
How important do you feel it is for local artists to have a venue such as the Manning Regional Art Gallery to showcase their work?
Part of a Regional Gallery’s brief is to support and encourage local artists to further their career, and the gallery is one of the few places local artists have the opportunity to show their work. Often an artist will have their first solo exhibition at the gallery, and it is a great training ground to learn what goes into presenting an exhibition and what is expected of an artist.
An exhibition in a Regional Gallery is a kind of validation of the artist’s work, so they can go on to pursue opportunities in larger centres, or in the private sector.
What are the dates Locals Only II will be available for viewing, and what are the opening hours at the gallery?
Locals Only II will be on show from 24 July to 6 September, with an opening celebration on Friday 24 July at 6:30pm. Everyone is welcome. Opening hours are 10am to 4pm, Wednesday to Saturday, and 1pm to 4pm on Sundays.
The gallery is well known for the diversity of its exhibitions and displays. Please touch briefly on any exciting plans/projects you have in the pipeline for the next few months …
There are more exciting exhibitions coming through to the end of the year, with the Manning Art Prize: Naked & Nude coming up next. The Friends of the Gallery have been running this art prize for 24 years, and prize-money now tops $16,000. Entries have come from all over Australia, and the new theme of Naked & Nude is proving extremely popular.
At the end of the year we have a fascinating exhibition of contemporary art, Stars + Stripes, American Art of the 21st Century, and it is a special treat to have internationally renowned artists showing in our gallery. The annual Children’s Week exhibition of local preschoolers’ art is always popular and will be on show at the end of October.
What’s the best way for people to contact the gallery, or to find out more information about any current or upcoming exhibitions?
Our website has all the information at www.manningregionalartgallery.com.au or visitors can call 6592 5455 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks Jane Hosking.