Prolific Australian artist Karma Barnes shares her local knowledge on the Tweed region’s fabulously robust arts and culture scene – where world-class and boutique galleries will inspire you.
Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre
Housed in an architecturally award-winning building just outside of quaint Murwillumbah is the spectacular Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre. Awaken your senses as you wander through a dynamic array of regionally and nationally significant exhibitions, both historical and contemporary, before admiring the permanent recreation of Margaret Olley’s home studio, Australia’s most celebrated still-life painter. Gaze through the glass panels and you’ll find the gallery’s surrounds as visually moving as its interior – with sweeping views of Wollumbin Mount Warning, the Tweed River and slow-moving cows nibbling the lush grass. Perhaps the views are best taken in with a crisp white wine in hand as you graze on nourishing local produce at the on-site café.
Why Karma loves it: This is my favourite gallery to take visiting friends and family to enjoy the array of well-curated shows. You can’t help but feel inspired to take a moment to explore the stunning surroundings and create a quick sketch of the Border Ranges or Wollumbin Mount Warning as a memento. Head out on a stroll on the path in front of the gallery, admire the Tim Storrier sculpture, then take a seat on the concrete plinth to find an angle that catches your eye.
Peer behind the Art-Deco façade of the
Why Karma loves it: This all-encompassing arts hub is always changing and developing; it’s a great window into the edgy local arts scene and a hotspot to see artists at work! Head upstairs to the Yellow Brick Studio – it’s my favourite place to browse fine-quality art products in a stunning presentation of materiality and colour.
Chicis a fresh addition to the Tweed region’s arts trail – opening the doors to its concrete-panelled interior in South Murwillumbah’s industrial estate in May 2022. The largest privately owned contemporary gallery in the region, its vision is to vivify Murwillumbah’s cultural landscape by showcasing a seamless blend of figuration, abstract, landscape and conceptual art specifically intended to challenge your perception and perspective. Step inside the striking space and you’ll be awe-struck by the stunning architecture, which – with its eight-metre-high walls – complements the bold exhibition pieces suspended there.
Why Karma loves it: The moment you step into the Lundberg Gallery, you experience a vast contemplative space that fosters an intimate exchange between yourself and the artist. Lundberg challenges your viewpoint of art and the world through its selection of works, while offering a reprieve from the bustle of life in the main town of nearby Murwillumbah.
Inhale the sea breeze from dreamy Cabarita Beach and waltz into the airy space that is Mist Gallery. Here, owner-operator Helen Otway curates a considered and regularly rotating selection of beautiful work from talented artists, both local and invited – pieces she hopes will nurture the soul. Feast your eyes on the contemporary art exhibited alongside jewellery, sculpture and ceramics; connect with community members over a mug-making or drawing-from-the-heart workshop; and gain a new outlook by attending an artist talk.
Why Karma loves it: For me, Mist Gallery evokes a sense of awe and aesthetic appreciation of domestic landscapes. It's a great gallery to visit to enjoy the array of locally themed artworks that speak of the delightful place we call home, from Anthea Amore's stunning environmental ceramic sculptural works to Annie Long's intricate porcelain pieces.
Art Post Uki
Nestled in the adorable town of Uki, the still fully functioning heritage-listed post office has been handsomely restored and transformed into sophisticated gallery and café Art Post Uki. Savour a coffee as you admire a roving exhibition of thought-provoking regional work curated by an independent panel of artists – all while observing the comings-and-goings of the vibrant community. The space is hip and inviting, and also sells its bespoke hand-roasted beans, so you can take a tiny piece of Uki home with you.
Why Karma loves it: Art Post Uki is my regular for a direct hit of two of my favourite things in life: art and coffee! It truly showcases the creative essence of the Northern Rivers with its intimate collection of cultivated works that celebrate our community’s culture and environment.
About Karma Barnes
Karma Barnes is an artist based on Bundjalung Country in the Northern Rivers, NSW. Her creative practice encompasses installation art, painting, participatory and social-impact practices, community and street art.
See more at: www.karmabarnes.org