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Byron Shire
October 5, 2022

Interview with Lisa Cowan, founder and executive producer of Art Byron

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Love or fear and the Art of Byron

The inaugural art gathering for Art Byron has been waiting for two years – the 2021 iteration was postponed owing to COVID. 

With investment from the Australian Government Restart to Sustain and Expand (RISE) fund, Create NSW and Destination NSW, Art Byron has had the opportunity and time to launch with an expanded festival program. 

Founder and Executive Producer of Art Byron, Lisa Cowan, says Art Byron will create an open forum for like-minded people to share, discuss and explore contemporary culture. ‘It has become clear that culture and creative activities offer hope, joy and connection. Art Byron will provide an opportunity for visitors to experience the depth of the Northern Rivers art scene and see the calibre of artists working across the region. It will raise the profile of local artists, promote cultural exchange and provide networking opportunities. It will also give audiences the same access to national and international artists as there is in capital cities. I am proud that the whole community can enjoy the exhibitions, which are free to the public.’

The theme of ‘love or fear’ was envisioned by renowned First Nations woman artist, Karla Dickens. 

Asking the question ‘love or fear?’ is really relevant to how we approach life in these uncertain times. Dickens says we all have the amazing opportunity to create and drive major change, to hold and embrace what really matters, to let go of the unnecessary, building a safe, wholistic environment that pops with soulful colourful connection.

From Hiromi Tango to Tralala Blip, there is a wide spectrum of artists participating in the event. Cowan says the diversity of the artists ranges from the emerging to the established, covering a good cross section of the calibre of artists that this region has to offer. ‘We wanted to engage with audiences from diverse cultural backgrounds and this is reflected in the programming. This was intentional – to connect with the local arts community, First, Nations and people with special needs. 

Cowan says she can’t wait to see the final curation of the exhibition spaces. ‘There are so many talented artists. I’m pretty excited that we are bringing the Tennant Creek Brio to Byron Bay whose installation work took over Cockatoo Island at the last Sydney Biennale, their work is hot! I also love the portrait of Polly Borland with Nick Cave and Queen Elizabeth by local differently abled artist, Zion Levy Stewart. 

‘There will be a sense of fun and community at this event. This is an opportunity to enjoy connecting with each other again and to allow ourselves to heal.’

Art Byron’s ‘love and fear’ will run from September 30 to October 3.

See their website for more details: art-byron.com.au.


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