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Grafton Regional Gallery director Niomi Sands and Clarence Valley artist Kade Valja with one of Kade’s paintings – ‘Beginning to see the Light’. Images by Lynne Mowbray

Current exhibitions at the Regional Gallery

The onset of Covid-19 saw the closure of many non-essential local government services which included galleries.

Grafton Regional Gallery director Niomi Sands said that the gallery had to restructure their programmed exhibitions to provide exhibition space for all the artists they had made a commitment to.

“The first half of the year has a strong local focus and I think our local artists really wanted to have a show here,” Ms Sands said.

“We really wanted to support them in doing that and have just re-released our program that has altered dates, so that everyone still gets a show.
“We needed to time everybody’s exhibition so that we could get our JADA opening on the first week of October. It’s all worked out perfectly so that everyone still gets their opportunity and we get to support local artists,” she said.

Ms Sands said that the re-opening of the gallery on Wednesday 3 June saw the opening of two exhibitions.

“Mid North Coast artist Sue Bell’s ‘Young at Heart’ exhibition features artworks which responds to her lifetime of memories and it’s a beautiful show and well worth coming in to have a look,” Ms Sands said.

“Clarence Valley artist Kade Valja’s exhibition ‘Soul Ties’ takes a different approach to his practice, responding to what it’s like to be Kade.

“Kade explores life experiences and touches on the human condition, investigating a deeper level than our physicality and flesh – namely the soul. I think that Kade’s works just ‘sing’ off the wall – they’re just so wonderful,” she said.

Both exhibitions will run until the 12 July.


A snippet from Clarence Valley artist Kade Valja’s exhibition ‘Soul Tie’s’ which will be on display at Grafton Regional Gallery until 12 July. Images: Lynne Mowbray

Kade said that he was very happy with his exhibition ‘Soul Ties’ and thanked the staff for doing a really great job in the hanging of his artworks.

“It been a bit of a childhood dream – I’ve always wanted to hang my work in this room,” Kade said.

“I don’t like to admit it for some reason, but I feel proud.

“It’s the proudest I’ve been – seeing around 20 of my artworks hung here at the Regional Gallery.

Kade explained the concept behind this exhibition.

“I think I was probing emotional experiences and real-life experiences in this show compared to former shows, which were a bit more abstract.

“It was going to be up (on exhibition) during the PLUNGE Festival (which was cancelled due to Covid-19), but it’s up there now for the next month – so come and check it out,” he said.


A couple of art works from Mid North Coast artist Sue Bell’s exhibition – ‘Young at Heart’. Images: Lynne Mowbray