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Byron Shire
March 7, 2021

Rejoicing in the rejects

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Serpentine Gallery volunteers unpack entries for Lismore’s alternative art award, the Salon des Refuses, an exhibition made up of rejects from the Northern River’s Portrait Prize will be on display until July 1. Photo: Steve Rehberge

Now in its third year the Serpentine Gallery’s, Salon des Refuses, exemplifies everything robust about the northern rivers art scene.

Curated with the rejects from the $10,000 Northern Rivers Portrait Prize just over the bridge at the regional gallery, the exhibition has long thrown off its second-prize tag and become a recognised prize in its own right.

Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell opened the exhibition rejoicing that she wasn’t judging given the high standards.

‘The Northern Rivers Portrait Prize and this Salon des Refuses are probably the most popular exhibitions held in Lismore every year,’ Cr Dowell said.

‘I’m delighted that this gallery joins in each year. As a painter I would imagine if that if I went to all the time and trouble of putting my heart and soul into a work I’d want it to be seen.

‘It’s about what we bring to it and there is something about portraiture that makes us all an art expert because it’s so familiar,’ she said.

‘The faces that draw us are often the people we know or are drawn by artists we know, but sometimes it’s one of someone we don’t know that pulls us in.’

The exhibition will run until the end of the month at the community gallery in Bridge Street, North Lismore and the public is invited to vote on their favourite paintings.

‘It runs to July 1 when we announce the winner of the people’s prize,’ Cr Dowell said.

The Serpentine Gallery has come a long way in its seven years filling a big gap in the local art market and providing income to local artists.

Gallery manager and founder Corinne said the Salon des Refuses standard continued to exceed itself in every way, leading her to pick its upcoming birthday as the day to leave.

‘I’ve given my formal resignation to the management committee and they’ve decided to hire a professional grant writer to apply for the position of manager so in September we’ll be forming a new management committee – it’s a really exciting time for people to get involved with the gallery and shape it for the future.

‘I’m off to France to pursue my art after the gallery’s seventh birthday this Friday, and then the gallery is to be handed to the community.’

Cr Dowell added: ‘It would be remiss of me today not to make mention of this wonderful woman,’ she said.

‘This is a community gallery that’s been going for seven years now, and Rin has been the face, the soul, the hands and the body of the Serpentine.’

Interested in finding out more? Call the Serpentine on 6621 6845.

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