Inspired by nature and humanity – an exhibition by the well-known and colourful character of the Shoalhaven, Randall Sinnamon – opened on September 3rd with the galleries packed and the Lady Denman Ferry watching over. For Randall this is a celebration of 30 years of exhibiting; 30 years of rich and raw creativity, and of course of community.
Esteemed Wreck Bay elder and artist, Uncle Tom Brown, also subject of one of two portraits among Randall’s show, offered A Welcome to Country to begin the opening event.
Robbie Collins, Deputy President of the Jervis Bay Maritime Museum offered the following words in her opening address.
“Thanks Uncle Tom for your words of welcome for the Museum and for this event. Always such welcome Is important for our community and for the event.
I chose to call this speech A Song for Randall because I see Randall’s work as a poetic portrayal of his world/our world. Randall's work is rich in emotion, sensitive and creative with quirky collations whether you are looking at a portrait, a landscape, a still life, a social and environmental commentary or a sculpture.
This show is significant for Randall and for Jervis Bay Maritime Museum and Gallery. Today is some 30 years on from the first exhibition of the museum and of Randall. He had asked Daphne, then museum caretaker, if he could have his first solo exhibition. And so it was held in what is now the staff offices of the museum. Randall’s mission became at least one exhibition every year for 20 years.
Then about 10 years ago, Randall exhibited with John Brown here, and one of the works was an unfinished painting of Uncle Laddie Timbery. This work is now finished, included in “inspired by nature and humanity” and has been donated to the museum. This painting was shortlisted and exhibited for the Doug Moran Portrait Prize. No mean feat in the big field of paintings for Australia’s richest portrait prize.
Thus, Randall has come full circle at this 30-year point. He has a solo exhibition at the museum, and the museum is honouring its desire to recognise and celebrate the arts in our community hosting Randall’s work.
We all know our Randall and treasure him and clearly that renown has gone further afield. But I suggest you not mind the success or notoriety he has achieved. I think you should go and look mindfully at Randall’s work. Revel in his offerings. His work is always creative, always searching the golden quirk you might miss if you don’t open your eyes, your heart, your mind and your inspiration. Randall definitely makes the familiar strange and the strange familiar.
Randall finds ways to be in the moment. Relishing that moment. Sharing with us that moment. His work seems on the edge and deeply in the moment. This marries beautifully with the Jervis Bay Maritime Museum and Gallery being a kind of liminal space. In hosting Randall, we celebrate that! Jervis Bay Maritime Museum and Gallery are between the sea and the land, in an intertidal zone; between science, art and community; on the edge of the new with our displays holding a mirror to our world. Liminal space is where you can make a difference, where change is possible, new doors open.
I think Randall lives in that space. Liminal space can be uncomfy, can make you wonder, or appreciate or delight. It is there in the celebration of the past, building a present and in that, creating a future. Being in that space with Randall you can draw energy from the creative renewing and peace in the reflective process.
Enjoy Randall’s vision. Let Randall’s song sing to you.
The exhibition is open until the 27th of November 2022 at the Jervis Bay Maritime Museum and Gallery seven days a week from 10am to 4pm.
Feature image: Local artist Randall Sinnamon at the opening of his solo exhibition inspired by nature and humanity at the Jervis Bay Maritime Museum and Gallery in Huskisson. Photo supplied