Sculpture Bermagui

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Narra Bukulla Artist in Residence (AIR)

20th Oct. - 20th Dec. 2024

Sculpture by Marr Grounds at Narra Bukulla, glass and wood. Picture by Marina Ely

The Artist in Residence (AIR) will be for two months in a large studio at Narra Bukulla, a private property adjacent to Mimosa Rocks National Park near Tanja on the NSW South Coast. It is next to a forest of spotted gums, the habitat of fascinating flora and wildlife, and a walk or short drive to pristine beaches. The property has an established collection of site specific artworks created by family, friends and by commission. The ethos of the hosting family (who reside on the property) has been four generations of passionate creativity and innovation in the arts, scientific research, and architecture, all fostering sustainability initiatives. 

Accommodated in a large private shed (72 sq m), the studio is peaceful, with high ceilings, large, long walls, an open floor space with roller-door access. The living quarters are rudimentary, with semi-wheelchair access. The successful applicant will receive a $2500 stipend. The artist will be inducted to take full advantage of the facilities, will be taken on a tour of local environmental and historical sites, and any other points of interest related to their project.

The artist will be introduced to the community’s local artists and cultural institutions. First Nation artists will be introduced to representatives of the Djiringanj Clan of the Yuin Nation.

During the AIR, an open studio presentation or workshop by the artist will be required. Following the AIR, the artist is invited to exhibit in Sculpture Bermagui 2025, with the understanding that the outcomes/artworks of the AIR may unfold organically during the residency and the form this may take is flexible. Permission to document your AIR is required for use in the future promotion of the residency and Sculpture Bermagui event.

Guidelines and description of the Application process

To apply for the residency, please complete the application form (NB AIR APPLICATION 2024) and email it to Marina Ely.

In the selection process, a panel of three shall select the successful applicant. The panel will be: the property owner and host, Marina Ely; a Sculpture Bermagui Committee member; a local resident and art enthusiast. Not being selected for a residency does not exclude you from reapplying the following year.

Selection Criteria

Consideration of each applicant will involve the host’s right to ensure the successful applicant will respect the spatial/personal boundaries of her family and her permanent tenants who also reside on the private property.  

* A Working with Children Check will also be required.

A proposal that will contribute interesting / innovative explorations and creative approaches to our local community and Sculpture Bermagui, with consideration of the public event and potential exhibition. NB/ All reasonable accommodation will be made by Sculpture Bermagui for your exhibition’s needs including the type of media.

  • A clear project or goal, which aligns with the ethos of Narra Bukulla
  • The quality of work previously produced
  • How this residency will contribute to the artist’s career
  • A proposal that will contribute in an interesting/innovative way to our local community and Sculpture Bermagui, with consideration of the public event and potential exhibition. NB/ All reasonable accommodation will be made by Sculpture Bermagui for your exhibition’s needs
  • Viability of the project regarding resources, context, time frame and location.
  • 18th March 2024 – Applications open
  • 26th May 2024 – Applications close (midnight). Shortlisted applicants will be notified to arrange a meeting (face-to-face or video link)
  • 24th June – Successful applicant notified

The residency runs from 20th Oct to 20th Dec. 2024

Creative artists of all disciplines, genres and levels of experience may apply. The Narra Bukulla artist in residence’s time and space is yours to develop existing or new ideas and projects, conduct research, experiment and innovate. 

  • The studio accommodates one person or a couple (one double bed only). The artists stay will be as a tenant, not an employee.
  • Travel costs will be at the artist’s own expense, no sponsorship nor visa or working rights will be included in this AIR. The artist will need their own health insurance.
  • The host asks that there are no parties during your stay.
  • Refrain from making loud noise (eg. power tools, loud music) between the hours of 8pm – 8am.
  • It is expected that the AIR respect the boundaries of all residents on the property.
    All Assistance Dogs are welcome. As Narra Bukulla is surrounded by a National Park and the AIR private area is not fenced, dogs are unlikely to be permitted. Please contact Marina Ely, the host, to discuss whether the artist’s four-legged companion might be an exception to this. There is a well-trained dog on the property, residing with Marina and inside their fenced garden.
  • During the residency, an open studio, public event will be organised for an activity such as an artist talk, a demonstration, a creative workshop, performance or educational activity.
  • The artist will have copyright and moral rights of their work, these will be respected and acknowledged. Consent will be asked for prior use of their name or images of their work. Such as for use in the future promotion of the residency, which will be used on a consultation basis.
  • The artist will be given the opportunity to be a featured artist in Sculpture Bermagui 2025, offering a highly prized spot in which to showcase their work.

Applications are free and occur once per year.

A semi- accessible, self contained, private use studio space inside a large, insulated shed. It was built by artist Marr Grounds, late father of the host, Marina Ely. Sculpture Bermagui supports this AIR to assist artists to develop their individual practice.

You are welcome to contact us for more details about accessibility.

Please see the to-scale floorplan below and consider the following: access to the property and all the roads on the property are unsealed roads; studio access is via an electrically opening roller-door (3m wide); door-ways have small steps with short ramps; 880mm wide bathroom door; the bathroom includes a toilet with 480mm seat height and 720 depth to wall; cistern and flush height 840mm; a ceiling shower rose plus a wall-mounted, hand-held shower with tap positioned 1200mm high; door handles & light switches at 1050mm high; kitchen bench & sink 900 high with 800mm knee/toe clearance; stove shelf 850mm high with 820 knee/toe clearance.

We must emphasise the remoteness of the property. It requires that you have your own car (or hire one) and feel comfortable living isolated in a bush setting.

The shed also has two attached but separate bays that may also be accessed: including workshop areas for woodworking and metalworking. The shed was for Marr’s own art practice and many other artists used it to make their site-specific artworks on the property. The two separate workshops can be used by the AIR artist, in negotiation with the other residents on the property, who access the workshops for their own projects.

Your Studio Floorplan

The shed also has two attached but separate bays that may also be accessed including workshop areas for woodworking and metalworking.  The shed was for Marr’s own art practice and many other artists used it to make their site-specific artworks on the property. The two separate workshops can be used by the AIR artist, in negotiation with the other residents on the property, who access the workshops for their own projects. 

The residency is free, and runs for two months,  20th October – 20th December 2024. The successful applicant will receive a stipend of $2,500.

You will be required to pay for your own food and materials during your stay. Tours by your host to local attractions can be arranged.

This residency is self-directed and offers you a unique opportunity to become immersed in an inspiring natural environment and idyllic studio space.  

Other items:

  • WiFi internet (Starlink) and other utilities included
  • Please note that there is no mobile phone reception
  • Laundry facilities available (shared)
  • Bedding and towels provided
  • Shops are located in our nearest towns Tathra (10km), Bega (20km), Bermagui (25km).

Bring any materials you need for your practice.  There are tools in the shared workshop areas of the shed.

Please prepare appropriate private and product insurance for all your own materials, artworks and belongings.

Food, groceries and meal preparation will be at your own expense – the accommodation includes a small kitchen.

Narra Bukulla: The Ethos - Who, What, Where.

“The Wave” by Peter (Beatle) Collins at Narra Bukulla. Picture by Marina Ely”

Marina Ely, property owner: I am a mother, an art and nature enthusiast, ex-high school science teacher, scuba diver. My favourite thing is to watch nature’s cycles, interactions and creatures: their worldly lives marching on around us; their relationships; their challenges to live and love and build, drawing what I see or being inspired to adopt their methods in my own life.  My childhood experiences in nature, globally, influenced me to study Environmental Science. Emphasising the importance of our need to become more sustainable as a society drove me into education as a profession, alongside constant campaigning.  I wish for dad’s fabulous studio and workshop spaces to be enjoyed and used by many: and so came the Artist in Residence idea!

Marina’s family includes her husband, two sons, dog, parrot, bush rat and chickens.  Her mother, Bonita Ely, regularly visits, plays and is inspired with ideas and makes art.  She has made over a thousand artworks on paper, videos and several installations depicting our coastline, its sounds and tides, its transient and ephemeral nature. Bonita has also used the AIR studio to create large scale works. Marr Grounds, Marina’s late father, bought Narra Bukulla and produced many site-specific artworks on the property. Family friends have also been creatively inspired, such Sandy Edwards’s photographic collection leading to an exhibition and the publication, “Paradise is a Place”; author Gillian Mears wrote a semi-autobiographical essay for the book, following this her stays at Narra Bukulla led to several publications; artist Nigel Lendon collaborated with Marr to make many sculptures on the property. 

Both Sir Roy Grounds (Marina’s grandfather) and Marr Grounds (father) were visionary in their early adoption of environmental design principles. They were forward thinking in their consideration of sustainable building materials, and reducing the impact of building processes. They were also both master craftsmen, loved tinkering in their workshop, endlessly imaginative, playful and skilled in their creative processes.  Marina is similarly inclined – her 2023 renovations used recycled timber and render using clay dug from the garden, designed in collaboration with local builder, Peter Bertuleit. 

Other families live on the property. They share the work and harvest from the gardens and orchards – you are welcome too, during your stay.

The steps of Djiringanj people can be sensed and seen at Narra Bukulla and surrounds: their honouring of all life forms, creating and innovating always, have and always will be welcome in these same spaces.  I am forever grateful for their synergistic stewardship, and their broad and wholesome knowledge. I believe that our society’s future is privileged to include, and be allies of: Country-healing and cultural practices; truth-telling; knowledge being passed to future Djiringanj people, and so that their knowledge will help us as a society to grow towards stronger, more nourishing living and more sustainable lifestyles. 

The property is a 47 acre bush block encompassing three hills and two valleys with mainly Corymbia maculatai, spotted gum trees.
The “main-house” at Narra Bukulla is a solar-passive, award winning sustainably-designed home.

Narra Bukulla is a habitat for a diversity of flora and fauna. It is a home with a plethora of wild animals that the human residents respectfully adapt their lives to accommodate: a rodent-eating python selects the main-house pantry to hibernate in each winter and she is given every opportunity to enter all recesses to repel the fellow rodent residents.  Red-belly black snakes breed in the garden beds and feast upon the orchestratic frog populations.  Maggies nest in a tree by the dam, raising chicks each year and are alert for any interesting visitors – goannas, raptors, etc.  SO MANY birds – too many to list them! A mob of kangaroos are given right-of-way at all times, even while walking, and are so accustomed to the rumble-tumble of kids’ play that they lounge about in the shady-spots most days. The resident dog is carefully trained not to chase them. The large dam is perfect for swimming & kayak paddling alongside the ducks and tadpoles.  At night frogs, cicadas, the screeches and wails of yellow-bellied gliders may be heard, many different owls and, of course, the odd brush-tailed possum scuffle too.  

The human residents live on these lands with respectful knowledge that “owning” it gives them great privileges, and that the sovereignty of these lands was never ceded by the Djiringanj people. 

The lands and waters of Narra Bukulla are and always will be Djiringanj Country, Yuin Nation.  It is a property adjacent to Mimosa Rocks National Park, Tanja, NSW.

Narra Bukulla and Sculpture Bermagui acknowledge the Djiringanj traditional owners of the Country on which the Artist in Residency is held.