Sylvia Griffin: upcoming artist-in-residence

Sylvia Griffin is a Sydney based artist whose work focuses on trauma, displacement, memory and history, advancing the notion that contemporary art can offer a means to express grief and mourning as an alternative to the traditional monument or memorial experience. Sylvia's practice is materially diverse ranging across sculpture, installation, textiles, video and photography. She often employs materials traditionally used in memorial culture – such as metal and stone – unconventionally, to lend a playful yet political aspect in personalising and feminising this inherently masculine domain. Sylvia often works with a range personal objects to maintain a connection to memory and intimate families history, including using her mother’s dowry linen and filming herself unraveling then reknitting a 55 year-old childhood cardigan. 

Sylvia Griffin, Inhabit, 2016, human hair and monogrammed damask linen, 63 cm diameter 

Over the past fifteen years Sylvia has exhibited in many exhibitions, awards and prizes, both nationally and internationally. She was the winner of the $20,000 Willoughby Sculpture Prize in 2013. Last year Sylvia was awarded a PhD from Sydney College of the Arts, the University of Sydney for her practice-led research entitled Inscribing Memory: Art and the Place of Personal Expressions of Grief in Memorial Culture. During the course of her postgraduate candidature she was the recipient of several scholarships and research grants. Later this year she will be presenting a conference paper based on her research and practice titled Presence and Absence: The Role of Contemporary Art in Engaging with Jewish Heritage in Krakow, Poland. 

Sylvia Griffin, Soot, 2016, soot on marble, 10 x 520 cm

While at Gunyah I plan to create new work for several shows scheduled for later this year including an exhibition with photographer Anne Zahalka at the Sydney Jewish Museum and work for a solo show in the inaugural Biennale of Australian Art (BOAA) at Ballarat. I also hope to finalise my conference paper and take advantage of Gunyah’s beautiful natural environment to indulge in a little bushwalking and birdwatching!

Sylvia Griffin, Untitled, 2017, plaster, wax, metal pins, human hair,
cat whisker, cardboard, matchboxes and marble, dimensions variable 

To see more of Sylvia’s work please go to 

Residency report: Nerine Martini and Paula Broom

Three figuresPaula Broom, Gunyah 2018

We arrived in the pouring rain during a cold snap. It rained constantly throughout the first night and day, and it took us a while to warm up. Yet only a couple of days into the residency, the sun shone and we were able to venture out into the bush. The wet leaves sparkled on the paths, and cobwebs in the undergrowth glistened with dew in the sun.

Sunrise, Paula Broom, Gunyah 2018

With the fire warming the house and the light dancing on the water below, we settled into the relaxing space, enjoying the changing colours on the water, soft pinks, cool greys and orange sunsets. One day the scene was even blanketed in soft mist. During our stay we caught glimpses of wildlife - sea eagle, kangaroos and even a pod of dolphins in a nearby bay.

Nerine's work space, Gunyah 2018

Paula continued to explore ideas around ecology and perception. She collected fallen leaves and stitched them into expressive, single eyed masks, which formed the basis of an afternoon’s photoshoot in the bush - the very bush from where the leaves had been foraged. Nerine and her friend Christine, who was visiting for the afternoon, wore the masks and were photographed in amongst the tea trees, ironbarks and angophora and other plants near Gunyah.

Nerine and Craig, Gunyah 2018

Nerine also had a sewing project evolving;  stitching poetic words onto hessian. These will be part of a larger installation of sandbags and text. She also spent a part of each day reading and writing as shecontinuesher practice led PhD.  Nerine’s partner Craig  drove up from Sydney to celebrate his birthday with us. He stayed on for a couple of days over the weekend, when Paula took the ferry from Tea Gardens over to Nelson Bay to spend a night with family there.

Sunset from the jetty, Paula Broom, Gunyah 2018

Evenings were spent by the fireside, after co-created meals, talking about art as well as our shared experiences.  Often time, reading or even stitching happened now, the slow meditative type that really allowed us to unwind and reflect upon our lives happenstance.

Morning mist off the jetty, Paula Broom, Gunyah 2018

In the studio, we both experimented with frottage techniques, rubbing leaves and text to make layered impressions onto thin paper, and Paula even tried out an idea she had involving burnishing and printmaking.

Paula and Nerine at Gunyah

Overall it was a wonderful, relaxing stay in the homely, healing environment of Gunyah.  The house exuded the feel of family times, and friendships continued and forged.  We could imagine many celebratory lunches and dinners around the kitchen table, overlooking that view! It allowed us the time and space to experiment and create and to cook and share wonderful meals throughout the stay.

Nerine Martini and Paula Broom
Residency report July 2018

Residency report: Phillippa Murphy-Haste and Patrik Jarlestam

We had a wonderful time at Gunyah, waking up every morning to look out over the landscape and spy pelicans and dolphins in the water. 
It was the perfect place for a creative retreat and gave us space and time to think carefully about our craft. 
We used our time in North Arm Cove to experiment with musical ideas and devise new processes of working together. 
Patrik started learning new programming skills in order to see how we could interact with clarinet and video projections. He also took many photos of the natural landscape and surrounding area for incorporation into his projections. 
We collaborated on new compositions and invited some friends to play with us who also brought their own music which we played together. 
Gunyah is a unique place for artists to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life and focus on creativity within a calm and serene environment. 
We absolutely loved our stay. Thank you so much to Kath and all the owners of Gunyah for having us.

Phillippa Murphy-Haste and Patrik Jarlestam

Patrik Jarlestam and Phillippa Murphy-Haste at Gunyah 
Gunyah jetty, Phillippa Murphy-Haste and Patrik Jarlestam residency 
Trees and water, Phillippa Murphy-Haste and Patrik Jarlestam Gunyah 
Sideways rocks, Phillippa Murphy-Haste and Patrik Jarlestam Gunyah 

Nerine Martini and Paula Broom: upcoming artists-in-residence

Paula Broom and Nerine Martini working together in Sydney 2018

Nerine Martini is a visual artist, based in Sydney, working across the fields of sculpture, installation, socially engaged art, public art and drawing. Her work has been included in major award exhibitions such as Sculpture by the Sea, the Blake Prize and the Helen Lempriere National Sculpture Awards. Nerine's practice shifts continually between her studio and exhibition practice and working on community-based, public art projects. Martini is currently a PhD candidate at Sydney College of the Arts. More info

Nerine Martini, Holding the Key, 2017, photograph by Paula Broom
excerpt of work in progress with community groups at Blacktown Arts Centre

Sydney-based artist and environmentalist, Paula Broom, believes art can reconnect us to our natural world and built environments, as well as to ourselves, our health and each other. Working in expanded photo-media, she explores ecological, social and personal issues relating to loss, death, extinction and our collective future. Paula's work has recently been selected as a finalist in Head On Photo Festival Awards and the Australian Photography Awards. She is an active member of the environmental artist’s collective the Tree Veneration Society, and also manages Instagramers Sydney on Instagram, underpinning her sentiment that art creates a strong sense of place, connects people and creates social cohesion. 
More info

Paula Broom, Endless Pink Ladder, 2017, bricklayers line and painted dowel

Nerine and Paula met as patients at the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse in 2016 whilst undergoing treatment for breast cancer. They recognised in each other a shared interest in creating artworks that engage both art and nature in the healing process and subsequently began exhibiting together later that year. Even though they have both finished their breast cancer treatments, they continue to live with an increased level of uncertainty and therefore wish to use their time at Gunyah to investigate more personal notions of health, conferred by nature and art.

Nerine Martini, Social Scaffold, 2017, bamboo, porcelain, string, hessian sandbags, (detail view)

During their Gunyah residency Nerine Martini and Paula Broom plan to explore experiences of the human body in the landscape, the human body as landscape; and relationships between health, wellbeing and the natural environment. This will include drawing and frotage techniques, as well as working with Olloclips (macro lenses) with mobile phones in the field, which will then be combined collaboratively back in the studio. The process of walking in and through the landscape will contribute to the conceptual development of the artwork, by physically relating to the environment. The senses of smell, touch, sight and sound, will all be involved in reconnecting with the physicality of being in the body and being in the landscape, an immersion in nature.

Paula Broom, Goodbye to all that, 2017, waterproofed plaster 

Residency report: Heidi Lee Douglas, Megan Riakos and Shideh Faramand

Heidi Lee Douglas, Megan Riakos and Shideh Faramand,
Gunyah artists-in-residence May 2018

"Two weeks of clean air, the ever changing light on the water, a chorus of birds as companions. In some ways I wish I had spent more time exploring the beautiful outside landscape of the whole area, but for me time at Gunyah was a chance to be quiet with myself and explore the inner, creative landscape. Gunyah provided a fresh perspective to think deeply and clearly, and bring down onto the page the stories that have brewing inside me and asking to born or refined.
I was relieved to have these intense writing sessions punctuated by the passionate discussions and meals with my colleagues Megan and Shideh who had been thrashing out their own projects. Or to take an hour for by a head clearing walk in the forest on our doorstep. I made great headway on three projects whilst at The Gunyah and cried tears of gratitude when I left, because it felt like the generous community that created the Artists in Residence had enabled a new chapter of my life into existence.” 
Heidi Lee Douglas

Writing by the water, Gunyah artists-in-residence May 2018

“So many writers I know juggle a number of freelance jobs, projects and general life commitments. It means that without a hard-and-fast external deadline, it’s easy to get distracted by the never-ending ‘to do’ lists of life. But a writer’s retreat helps you to stake a claim on your time, compelling you to meet your page count and by the end of the retreat I was able to finally click save on the first full draft of my feature script Hidden Valley.
But Gunyah is not just a place of exile. For me it was a place to type away while overlooking the stunning North Arm Cove, a place to enjoy the last ounces of warm weather with a kayak on the water and morning runs through the bush and a place to share hearty dinners and inspiring discussions with fellow writers and friends Heidi and Shideh.
It reminds me that even though a writer’s life can sometimes feel like an uphill battle, it is in fact a pleasure and a privilege to be able to create and to do this in the beautiful Gunyah is the cherry on the top.”
Megan Riakos

Tree top view from writing desk, Gunyah artists-in-residence May 2018

"We each came to this sacred spot to focus on the task at hand. Each project different, but passion and determination the same. Such a rare experience but one we were fortunate enough to share. I can’t stress enough the importance of this opportunity … to step outside your daily life and to indulge ones artistic pursuits. It was a magical retreat … souls were nourished, and the presence of past artists felt in the walls.” 
- Shideh Faramand

Sky boat, Gunyah artists-in-residence May 2018

Phillippa Murphy-Haste and Patrik Jarlestam: upcoming artists-in-residence

Patrik Jarlestam and Phillippa Murphy-Haste after rehearsal in Malmo, 2016, Sweden. 

Phillippa Murphy-Haste is an accomplished clarinet player and multi-instrumentalist, who is based between Sydney and Malmö Sweden. Her practice reflects a broad range of styles and contexts - from jazz to contemporary classical, experimental, improvised music, theatre, inter-arts and cross-cultural collaborations, and music-related social justice projects. Phillippa has trained in classical and jazz styles, completing a Bachelor's degree with a double major in performance and education with Honours, and a BMus Jazz Performance from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music with a one-year component at the Malmö Academy of Music in Sweden. She has been awarded scholarships from The University of Sydney, The Golden Key International Honour Society, the Layne Beachley Aim For The Stars foundation, SBS Youth Orchestra, and the Australian Art Orchestra (AAO) to participate in a Creative Intensive with AAO musicians and world-renowned Carnatic percussionist Guru Kaaraikkudi Mani and his associates. Phillippa has played clarinet at the Sydney Opera House with the 13-piece Sydney Chamber Orchestra and BAFTA-winning multi-instrumentalist and Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds (Broadchurch); performed at Malmö Live (Sweden) with multi Latin Grammy-nominated Brazilian musician Joyce Moreno (formerly 'Joyce'); and collaborated with writer-director Shakthi Shatkhidharan (CuriousWorks, National Theatre of Parramatta) for 'A Counting and Cracking of Heads' at Carriageworks Sydney.  Phillippa has released three albums through Bandcamp with Micro Micro and Microfiche. 

Phillippa performing at the Fat Yahoozah album launch in 2015.

Patrik Jarlestam is a composer, musician and light/video designer based in Malmö in the south of Sweden. After his Master of Composition studies at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, he has worked with integrating his music into both light design and projected video. He composes contemporary art music that centres around conveying stories, sometimes balanced through the lenses of electronics, sound design and light choreography. Patrik finished his college degrees by composing Pieces for baroque orchestra (2010) and two short operas in 2012. The first of the two operas, Vi Brinner (We burn), was written for classical and folk music singers, classical musicians, folk musicians and early music players; responding to the Arab Spring uprisings. The second opera, Den 4444:e dagen (the 4444:th day), was written for classical singers and chamber orchestra based on 'The Girl in the Box' documentary.
Patrik has been commissioned by The Stockholm Saxophone quartet, Krock guitar ensemble, Ventus (acc/flt) and Tomomi Fukagawa/Maija Kauhanen (perc+kantele/song). His music has been performed at the Sonic Festival in Copenhagen, Västerås Concert House, Christchurch The Piano, Malmö Concert House. He has also written music and sound design for video games and short movies.

Patrik Jarlestam playing live at the 2015 Malmo City Festival, Sweden.

Phillippa Murphy-Haste and Patrik Jarlestam have worked and performed together extensively in Denmark, Australia and New Zealand. Their collaborations involve traditional compositions and instruments as well as video projections, electronics and digital media. They plan to use their residency at Gunyah to collaborate and compose music for their upcoming Sydney performance of clarinet, electronics and video projections. 

Phillippa Murphy-Haste at the charity fundraiser she organised for Hand in Hand for Syria,
with the band "Ash-Shams" and composer Patrik Jarlestam

Shideh Faramand, Megan Riakos and Heidi Lee Douglas: upcoming artists-in-residence

Shideh Faramand, Megan Riakos and Heidi Lee Douglas are all screenwriters who are currently working on individual feature film scripts. 
"As writers it is imperative for us to take time out of the demands of every day life and fully immerse ourselves into the storyworlds we are creating. This unique opportunity nestled in the natural environment of Gunyah will rejuvenate and inspire us, allowing each of us to work in a peaceful, supportive and collaborative environment, while working to bring to life the first drafts of new screen works and capitalising on our combined skills to catapult these projects forward."
Shideh Faramand, Megan Riakos and Heidi Lee Douglas

Shideh Faramand is an award-winning writer, director and actor, having written and directed over half a dozen shorts. Her standout short films  ‘A Reluctant Bride’ and ‘Amalia Lucia Gomez is Gluten Intolerant’ have screened at prestigious film festivals to audiences across Australia, North America and Europe, and was broadcast on national television in Sweden. In 2016, Shideh had the honour of becoming one of Screen Australia’s Gender Matters recipients’ for the development of her debut feature film Sheeda, with producer Kirsty Stark of Epic Films. She is currently developing several short form, feature and television projects and is an active member of Film Fatales, the Australian Writers Guild, the Australian Directors Guild, and Women in Film and Television.
As a first generation Australian/Iranian, Shideh’s strengths and passions lie in diverse stories, which reflect the ever-changing face of Australia, with a key focus on female driven characters. 
Her Gunyah residency project will focus on the script development of her second comedy feature, AIR NATION.

Shideh Faramand, Directing on the set of 'Amalia Lucia Gomez is Gluten Intolerant', 2013

Megan Riakos is a screenwriter and director with a passion for telling stories that engage and provoke. She recently completed her debut feature Crushed, a mystery thriller set in the wine region of Mudgee. The Australian newspaper calling Crushed “a tense, bloody mystery thriller”; Dread Central noting its “beautiful cinematography and exceptional performances” and The Hollywood Reporter labelling Crushed “A solid debut”. Crushed completed a successful limited theatrical release and screens on Channel 10 in 2018. Megan has also completed over a dozen short films including the psychological thriller The Shed; a 1930’s crime drama 50-50; and experimental dance film The Eye of the Beholder. Megan earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Media Arts & Production) at University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) and has completed both a Graduate Certificate in Screen Drama and a Graduate Diploma in Directing at the prestigious Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS). In 2013, she also completed the Professional Screenwriters Program at UCLA. Megan is an active member of Film Fatales – a global female feature film directors’ collective and is the president of the advocacy group Women in Film and Television (WIFT NSW).
During her residency at Gunyah Megan plans to work on her survival thriller feature film script Hidden Valley which she plans to direct over the summer of 2018/19.

Megan Riakos, Crushed, 2015, film poster

Heidi Lee Douglas is an award winning Australian director who works across documentary and drama. She has a special interest in strong female protagonists, social thrillers and social change documentaries. An accomplished writer, the First Draft of Heidi’s convict western thriller feature film Unnatural Conduct was shortlisted for the Sundance Screenwriters Lab 2017, a Semi Finalist Gateway LA Script Development Program 2017, and a Quarter Finalist in the Screencraft Action/Thriller Screenplay Competition 2017 and won the “On the Table” Feature Script Competition WOW Film Festival 2016. Heidi’s drama short Little Lamb, supported by Screen Australia and Wide Angle Tasmania, screened at over 25 festivals worldwide, including Fantastic Fest (TX) 2014 and Flickerfest 2015, and was awarded Best Film, Best Production Design, Best Script and Best Thriller. Little Lamb was  selected for the 7 from Etheria anthology feature, distributed theatrically and through Amazon and iTunes (USA). Her broadcast documentary Defendant 5, about her personal experience being sued by the biggest logging company in the Southern Hemisphere, has been repeatedly broadcast by ABC and Al Jazeera worldwide, and was awarded Best Short Film at Green Film Festival in Seoul 2016 and nominated for the Golden Kapok award at the Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festival 2016. Heidi recently completed her new horror short Devil Woman and is developing a slate of projects across documentary and drama.

Heide Lee Douglas, Defendant 5, 2014, film poster

Heidi Lee Douglas, Little Lamb, 2014, film poster