2020 Gunyah artists-in-residence program

Thank you to everyone who applied for the 2020 Gunyah residencies!

Congratulations to the artists who have been selected for the 2020 Gunyah artists-in-residence program:

New for 2020: Gunyah artists-in-residence program has just launched an Instagram account @gunyahartists ... follow to see what our artists get up to on their residencies!  

Gunyah waterfront, photo Kath Fries

Residency report: Anne Numont

My experience of Gunyah turned out to be one of drawn mindfulness and self reclaim. Unexpected as I had brought a project to do further work on, set up studio, conducted experiments coating sheets with wax and had the intention of making paper. 

Anne Numont in her Gunyah studio

The reminder that life is fleeting and precious instigated a change in creative direction at Gunyah. As a timely concern, there were bushfires burning north and south during my residency. A ‘catastrophic’ rated fire danger warning was issued for North Arm Cove and despite the blue skies and clear sea, I saw the smog in the north, sunrise and sunsets looked ablaze and the smell of smoke was prominent especially at night. These observations made me want to stay at the house for the entire duration of my residency with no desire to day-trip away. Considering the fires, the NSW drought and the precious rainwater supply, I was hyper-conscious of my consumption. I concluded that the paper making originally planned may be insensitive as it can be a water-intensive process. Simultaneously, I returned to mindful habits I held dear (but momentarily forsook in city life) such as yoga, sunshine, smoothies and a spiritual practice. I mention these things to provide context as to what influenced the direction of my work at Gunyah. I contemplated how special the experience was/is because it can only happen once as an official artist-in-residence. The bushfires also heightened an appreciative attitude towards life.

My inner voice distinctly said on the first Thursday night: “Draw.” It felt like the most appropriate creative response as it was mindful, minimal and mobile (in case I had to evacuate). The anxious-calm paradox at Gunyah was that I felt safe despite the property’s obvious susceptibility to the elements and I thought this complexity was an interesting filter for any new work. I did not want to replicate or draw figuratively. I wanted to draw the sensations of being at Gunyah from what I heard, felt, saw, smelt and touched; responding to phenomena such as the sound of the rhythmic waves against the rocks, the sparkling reflections of the sun in the water, the canopy of trees swaying in the cold wind after dusk, the saltiness of the sea, smoke that laced my sinuses but kept me grateful and alert in the serenity, the fridge humming, birds chirping, crickets singing, Carly Simon on cassette, smooth floorboards, the cradling comfiness of the lounge cushions as I sprawled across them and drank tea …

The next day, I jumped off the jetty then started to draw ... differently. Risky. Perhaps it was from leaping into the void and surrendering to the ambience. Glancing up occasionally, I admired the beautiful scenery but concentrated more on sound and touch to guide my mark-making; a form of abstract, automatic drawing using a humble 4H graphite pencil on a small sheet of Arches watercolour paper. On-location. En plein air. No eraser.

After my first drawn response to Gunyah, I felt a surge of belonging. As mentioned in my proposal, I wanted to explore concepts of home, rest and shelter - ideas that I literally lived out at this residency. Thus, I applied this mindful drawing method to other locations I gravitated to or frequented. These spaces included the bedroom I slept in, the front driveway (where I met a neighbour who kindly offered his yacht as a bushfire emergency plan), the backyard, balcony, jetty, art studio, kitchen, living room and the downstairs bathroom. I treated each drawing session as a meditation and documentation of place, taking photos of what I saw, where I sat, noting the direction I was facing, the temperature, the time and duration of each drawing session and took audio recordings on my phone (although some randomly switched off). At times I noted what I dressed in as this made a difference to my physiological experience.

Anne Numont, drawing locations around Gunyah

A visual language of Gunyah emerged. Unforeseen but a lovely surprise! I feel crushingly vulnerable sharing this work because I haven’t drawn this way before. I'm happy because I believe I responded in the most mindful and honest way I could with the supplies I brought and having considered what was happening in the greater region.
Anne Numont, Gunyah 02 (Balcony), 2019. Graphite on Arches paper

Anne Numont, Gunyah 04 (In Bed), 2019. Graphite on Arches paper
Anne Numont, Gunyah 07 (Living Room with Carly Simon on Cassette), 2019.
Graphite on Arches paper
Anne Numont, Gunyah 10 (Kitchen), 2019. Graphite on Arches paper

Minutes before I left on my final day, I took this photo of all 14 drawings. It was uncanny how I only had 14 sheets of paper of this kind and size left to draw on and they fit perfectly together on the coffee table. Fate.

Anne Numont, Gunyah 01 - 14, 2019. Graphite on Arches paper

As for paper making, I collected fallen vegetation from the backyard, beside the jetty and the front driveway with the intention of embossing into wet pulp, back in Sydney. Having responded to the atmosphere of Gunyah by abstract drawing, paper making with artefacts directly from the site provide a complementary form of documentation that is more literal but also intimate.

My time at Gunyah was amazing, productive and a privilege. In a serendipitous way, I did what I set out to do by organically creating a mindful methodology. I drew in a spontaneous way that expanded my art practice while getting to know a new place. Personally, I began to heal or recalibrate with loads of self-care and joyful activities that undoubtedly contributed to how this experimental drawing project came about. I left with beautiful memories of my stay: leaping off the jetty, greeting the sunrise, howling at the full moon and dolphin-spotting. At high tide, I swam under the jetty, free-dove and shook hands with the gorgeous yellow seaweed underwater, waved to fishermen on speedboats and neighbours on dinghies. A whole house to myself - I’ve never had that much domestic space in my life. So lucky!

Thank you to Kath Fries and the organisers of Gunyah for this marvellous opportunity.

Anne Numont, view from Gunyah jetty

Anne Numont
Gunyah artist-in-residence report
November 2019 

Anne Numont: upcoming artist-in-residence

Anne Numont with her work, Identity Ecology v1.1. – 4.0, 2019 at Manly Art Gallery. Photo by Peter Morgan 

Born in The Philippines and raised in Australia, Anne Numont is a Sydney-based artist. In 2003, she completed an Honours degree in Design at UNSW, and has since also traded as a designer in the television industry. Place, perception and memory are central to Anne's art practice. Experimenting with method and scale in the field of contemporary drawing, she makes landscapes and informal geographies. With a syncretist approach, references include migration, Australiana, her Filipino heritage, cubism, typography, weather systems, astrology, wellness, science and sustainability. She is fascinated by the potential of light, landscape and mapping to project aspects of space, self and society.

Anne Numont, A Personal Geography, 2017, handmade paper, fire, acrylic, graphite, gesso, cotton,
rice paste, PVA, foamcore, vegetation and natural dyes

While working, Anne relishes the handmade and elemental. The mercurial quality of nature helps her to reconcile inherent polarities of life such as permanence / temporality, home / dislocation, forgetting / remembering. Tailored processes spawn different outcomes from drawing to handmade paper, collage, mixed media and installation. Underpinning her work is a state of liminality and the possibilities this space can manifest. Anne's work has been selected for exhibitions at AGNSW, Manly Art Gallery & Museum and Mosman Art Gallery. She has been a finalist in national art prizes including The Dobell Prize for Drawing, the Hutchins Art Prize, Yen Art Awards and Cliftons Art Prize Asia-Pacific. Her work has been acquired by North Sydney Council and private collections in Australia and overseas. 

Anne Numont, Generations, 2018, Handmade paper and pulp, fire, pigment, pastel binder (gum tragacanth),
 pastel, PVA, sampaguita scent, local vegetation 
During my residency at Gunyah I plan to continue with experiments for a body of work including handmade paper, drawing and installation about memory and personal deep mapping. With respect to the meaning of ‘Gunyah’ I would like to explore concepts of home, rest and shelter in my work.
Anne Numont, Parked 1, 2016, graphite, gesso, acrylic, handmade paper, vegetable dye and
vegetation (sourced from Primrose Park) and PVA 
on Arches paper

You can see more of Anne's work on her website https://annenumont.com 

Residency report: Melissa Jean Harvey and Charmian Watts

The October 2019 Gunyah residency became a collaborative project between Melissa Jean Harvey a contemporary artist and Charmian Watts a designer/maker.

Charmian Watts and Melissa Jean Harvey at Gunyah

Every morning we would take a walk into the surrounding forest collecting pieces and objects, and taking photos while discussing our ideas. Here are some of the gems we collected.

Mel started playing with placing her medium recycled pulped cotton fabric within the surrounding environment.

Charm got to making tools for printing ink onto fabric and looking at the found branches in regards to transforming/making objects. 

We made a body of work that we call our 'Queer Forest Creatures’. Here are a few images of the many creations we collaborated on. They are just the beginning and will continue to develop.

Melissa Jean Harvey and Charmian Watts
Gunyah artist-in-residence report
October 2019 

Calling for 2020 Gunyah residency applications

Applications for the 2020 Gunyah artists-in-residence program are now open!

Gunyah AIR provides low cost self-contained accommodation for solo, collaboration, group and family short term creative residencies for visual artists, writers, composers, designers, curators, new media and performance artists. The 2020 residency program will run from May to November, with seven residencies each lasting ten days, Monday to the following Friday week: May 4 - 15, June 15 - 26, July 20 - 31, August 3 - 14, September 7 - 18, October 19 - 30, November 9 - 20.

If you would like to apply, please first read ABOUT GUNYAH AIR and then fill in the ONLINE FORM - you will need to include your contact details, preferred dates, bio and artist statement, a short description of what you plan to do during your residency and three images per artist. If you have any questions please email gunyahresidency@yahoo.com

Applications for the 2020 program close 11pm, Saturday 30th November 2019. 

Please note the 2020 residency fees are $410 for ten days or part thereof (this residency fee covers the use of the whole property, it does not apply per person). A refundable $50 key deposit is required. Artists are welcome to bring their families and friends. You will need your own vehicle to access Gunyah and North Arm Cove, as there is no public transport in the area.


Gunyah is a unique timber pole house, designed and built in the early 1980s by a group of friends as a fun weekend project and holiday house. This group still own, manage and maintain the property; and their 
families and friends continue to enjoy holidays at Gunyah. This three bedroom house is located the village of North Arm Cove, in the NSW Great Lakes region. Overlooking the waterways of Port Stephens, Gunyah offers an idyllic retreat to produce artwork or pursue creative research. 

The term 'gunyah' means resting place or place of shelter in the Gathang language of the Worimi people of the North Arm Cove area, and the term also features in a number of other Indigenous languages in NSW. Gunyah artists-in-residence program acknowledges and pays respect to the Worimi people - the traditional custodians of this land - to their elders past, present and emerging, it is on their ancestral lands that the Gunyah artist-in-residence program is located.

Gunyah AIR program has been running since 2011, it provides low cost accommodation for short term self-directed residencies for solo, collaborative, family and group projects and is open to applications from visual artists, writers, curators, composers, musicians, performers, designers, arts administrators, new media artists and other creators. Gunyah AIR program is volunteer based, not for profit venture, aiming to share the unique and beautiful region of Port Stephens.

Melissa Harvey: upcoming artist-in-residence

Melissa Harvey creating a cotton pulp wall installation at Sydney College of the Arts

Melissa Harvey is a Sydney based artist who predominantly works with cotton pulp sprayed onto wall surfaces and silk screens to create site specific installations and large scale sculptural paper works. The textural residue of surfaces and spaces that Melissa inhabits evoke a sense of place. Her experiences of the materiality of places informs her practice, such as different urban visual and textural surfaces of concrete, bitumen, rubble, sand and cement of the city skin. With contrasting tones, Melissa also conjures the sparkling effect of sunlight or night-lights on water. Her works have an immersive soft, textured, layered surface. The pulp material is made from recycled cotton clothing and domestic cloth, which is developed through a process of tearing and cutting fabric, then crushing down the cloth in a beating machine. The final process of spraying the pulp forms an open-ended space for thought and memory. Melissa recently completed a Masters in Fine Arts at Sydney College of the Arts and was a finalist in the Fremantle Print Prize.

Melissa Harvey, Dark Matter, 2017, recycled cotton pulp and ink on paper

I have recently begun a new body of work, collecting textures from bushland surrounding Sydney. During my residency at Gunyah I plan to expand on these investigations documenting bushland textures via photographs, drawings and rubbings. I am also interested in how the light changes throughout the day and reflects off surfaces. I will be writing a response to each texture discovered in the moment of the experience, as a record of my emotional response to reflect on later in my studio practice.

Melissa Harvey, The Haptic, 2016, recycled cotton pulp and ink on canvas and wall

You can see more of Melissa's work at www.melissajharvey.com

Residency report: Jan Cleveringa

My time at Gunyah was solitary and fulfilling, with some interesting experiences and not just through art. I travelled around the area and invested some time at 'Stroud' researching the landscape and painting but mostly I remained on the Gunyah property supervising my environmental impression-mark making drawings from the trees.

I had many ideas to make things. I used charcoal from the fireplace, pens and inks. I broiled a gum leaf tea and used the rich smelling concoction to stain or dye the surface of papered drawing works. I collaborated with nature, or facilitated with it, and the natural environment to make the marks. I had the wind and branches communicate to me back on paper through kinetic processes and impressions. 
I cut and rearranged the natural original order of the mark making by the tree and wind, as a purposeful metaphor for where humankind habitually re-orders environments from chaos or entropy. But unbeknownst to us that could also be an evolved natural pattern of things like the Fibonacci sequence which is also found in nature in different ways. The brown stains are a dripping of gum leaf broil that I made when I was experimenting with gum leaves.

Jan Cleveringa, Untitled 1 - Listening to Trees Series, Environment vs. Humankind, 2019

I also thought of a ways to get mark making from the waves that greeted the shore near the jetty but I ran out of time. A project now for another time. I also cut gum leaves for an idea for a large painting for next year where I started to flatten and dry them between wood boards. I recorded animal sounds and noises of the nightscape and the dayscape, of animals and winds for some audio and video works later.

Sometimes my habits caught up with my reality from a different perspectives and reminded me of my daily addictions. For example, having spent time working on my art, I would sit down with a cup of tea on break, presuming to relax at lunch infront of the TV. That's right, there's no TV! I caught myself twice on the first two days staring at the fireplace at lunch time, reflecting on my expectations for the rest of the day, before I changed that habit. So instead of watching the box I watched the scenery on the balcony. I don't often draw from life but I drew a visiting Kookaburra. I'd lost touch with traditional drawing. The Kookaburra came back several days in a row with a junior sidekick, followed by the darting native Mynor birds around their faces. A Magpie there too. 

Earlier, I'd seen the Kingfisher use his beak, cracking and whacking it, onto the wood like it might be a small snake before eating. I'd never noticed that hard blunt noise before. I'd never seen the power of such a small bird even as a kid growing up. It made me think of all the endangered fauna and flora we are losing in the world as part of my arts practice - the 'paradigm of sustainability'.

Jan Cleveringa, Untitled - Screenshot Series - Plein Air Landscape Gunyah, 2019, 
Oil on Marine Plywood

At Gunyah, there was no shortage of Lorikeet shrieks or bats at night. I had the chance to film a nice slo-mo of a magpie who came to say hello too when I was on the balcony. It gave me some ideas for printmaking. 

Overall, I achieved my goals of some kinetic, experimental drawing that I call the "Listening to Trees" series and tried my hand at Plein Air painting of the landscape in the shape of contemporary screenshots. I painted the trees in the backyard slope, train track at Newcastle and the bush.

Jan Cleveringa
Gunyah artist-in-residence report
September 2019