2021 Gunyah artists-in-residence program announcement

Congratulations to the artists selected for the 2021 Gunyah artists-in-residence program: 

James VicarsMelinda YoungPrudence Holloway & Benjamin KiehneRox De LucaWendy TsaiBlake LawrenceAnnelise Roberts & Jack PalmerNadia OdlumDanica Knezevic.

You can follow their residencies on Instagram @gunyahartists #gunyahartists 

Thank you to everyone who applied – the number of applications more than tripled last year! 

Gunyah sun deck


Residency report: Isabelle Devos & Helena Pastor

Isabelle: I made the long drive down from the tablelands of NSW to the coast, towards the promising thoughts of creative focus, rest and restoration with friend and writer, Helena Pastor. We had agreed to meet at Gunyah that afternoon. As I unpacked my car in the driveway at Gunyah, I marvelled at the simple natural beauty of the place. 

The following ten days were long, restful and creative. Never before have I had such time to myself to devote to creative introspection and outward expression. I collected botanical materials from each walk, created daily bouquets and arrangements, exploring their shapes and colours. My creative work was to be purposely undefined, allowing myself time to play and create, based on no outcomes, some of the work in response to the location and some work out of my memories.

The water of the cove was mesmerising to someone who lives far from the ocean, ever changing from clear and inviting to dark and ominous with building storm clouds and winds. I found myself down at the jetty many times each day to sit and observe the water, land and light. I allowed myself time to breathe, rest and observe for periods of time during the day and the studio space became a place of focused creativity. After the multiple challenges during the past 18 months, this residency was the perfect antidote.

Each afternoon, I met up with Helena and we shared stories and laughter and enjoyed preparing meals together. Helena began writing lyrics to a song based on stories of my childhood memories of my French grandmother’s house. I hope to create a painting to go along with this song, when completed.

Thank you to all who make the gift of Gunyah possible. I will never forget my time here. 

Isabelle Devos, December 2020

Isabelle Devos, Approaching storm at North Arm Cove

Isabelle Devos, Ink painting on paper, study of beach at North Arm Cove

Isabelle Devos, Study of North Arm Cove water and land, acrylic on paper

Isabelle Devos, Botanical colour study, gouache on paper

Helena: I loved every moment of being at Gunyah with my fellow artist-in-residence, Isabelle Devos. Over the ten days of our residency, my world became very small and I often felt like I was living on a peaceful tropical island. My Gunyah routine consisted of a morning coffee on the window seat overlooking the ever-changing waters of North Arm Cove, then a long walk past a variety of interesting letterboxes and house styles, meeting local residents and dogs, and then home – yes, Gunyah felt like home – to work on ‘One Fork, One Knife, One Life’ – a new memoir project that reflects on the wartime and immigration experiences of my Dutch parents who came to Australia in 1959.

With the help of a 2019/20 Create NSW Small Project Grant (a wonderful validation of this new step forward) and the nurturing creative environment of Gunyah, I completed the first big baggy draft of ‘One Fork, One Knife, One Life’. The draft is currently an unwieldly ‘prose blob’ that needs wrangling into shape and whittling down, but it exists and I’m feeling excited about beginning work on the next stage. I also enjoyed hearing about Isabelle’s fascinating and eccentric French grandmother, and I’ve nearly finished the song lyrics that came out of our conversations.

Like Isabelle, I particularly enjoyed the jetty at Gunyah, where I tuned in to the tides, listened to the water gently lap against the shoreline, and occasionally spotted dolphins. Shortly after returning home to Armidale – which certainly doesn’t feel like a tropical island! – I found out that I was one of two writers shortlisted for the 2020 Varuna New England Writers’ Centre Fellowship, a fabulous opportunity for writers in the New England area. Whatever the outcome of the judges’ final decision, I’m so happy to see ‘One Fork, One Knife, One Life’ resonating with readers. I’ve also just heard that I’ve been awarded a second Create NSW Small Project Grant to work with an editorial mentor on ‘One Fork’ once I knock the manuscript into shape. Hooray!

Thank you, Gunyah, for restoring my creative faith and optimism … I can’t wait to return.

Helena Pastor, December 2020

Helena Pastor, One Fork, One Knife, One Lifefirst big baggy draft

Helena Pastor, Feet up by the Gunyah waterfront