It’s Sunday, 6th November 2022 and we were at Bondi Beach for the opening of AddOn (part of the HeadOn Photo Festival) at the newly renovated Bondi Pavilion. Winter hadn’t really left and the day was uncharacteristically warm. The bodies on the beach, refugees from the COVID wars, lay scattered on the hot sands. It’s good to see AddOn return to the public space after being relegated to an online exhibition during the COVID lockdowns. This is my 9th year of exhibiting in this arm of the HeadOn Photo Festival. HeadOn is Australia’s largest photo festival.
The show was opened by Charles McKean and Moshe Rosenzveig OAM. The impact of the COVID years was evident in the scaling down of the exhibition space, however given the restrictions, the works, although smaller than previous years in terms of printed scale, held up well and we (Suzy and I) are looking forward to the mailing out of the catalogue to this years exhibiting photographers.
A gigantic roll of newsprint backed by Bondi headlands and rolling cloud. Didn’t make much sense to me at the time but I loved the patent contradiction of once valued and sought after media impressions rolled into temporary stasis. A continuum of information rendered senseless.
Stopped off at Leura on the way home Friday 8th May. Originally off to Lilli’s Pad so parked opposite but decided to walk up further and check out some artworks at Gallery Lane, off Railway Pde, Leura. We entered via the back gate with a sign ‘Gallery” on it and in wandered up past the outside of the gallery. My partner wanted to go straight in to view the works but on first inspection from the outside things didn’t look too exciting (for me at least) and since we were near Leura Garage I said “lets have a look on the way back after we grab something to eat”. Well that’s just exactly what we did and as we walked down to the gallery at around 3pm we noticed two elderly people (a man and a woman) sitting outside to the right of the closed gallery doors. “Is the gallery closed” my partner asked as we slowed to wait for a response. There was no reply, so we continued on. “Excuse me”, suddenly an abrupt and acerbic voice cut the air. “You can’t go through there, this is not a public thoroughfare, this is a private garden. I remember you, I saw you two walk through earlier. You can only come through here if you are visiting the gallery or going to the chiropractor.” There must have been a momentarily perplexed expression on my face. Where were the signs saying “No public access” “No thoroughfare” “Access only for gallery patrons” “No access beyond this point” From the laneway, none, just a sign on the open gate saying “Gallery” and certainly nothing at the front entrance to the drive from Railway Pde, or anything to indicate a denial of access or passage. In a moment that person (who I assumed to be the gallery owner) had cost the gallery any chance of future patronage on both our parts and any chance of recommendation to friends or other interested parties. I couldn’t even be bothered to explain that, that, was what we had come for; to see the gallery. Rude is not my food. We could have returned the response and kept walking the extra 7 meters, however, we just turned and walked back out the drive and around the block to where we were parked and; lamenting our decision, headed home.