Sauerbier House Culture Exchange

Previous artists

January - March 2019

Passenger - Glimpses of worlds within worlds  |  Gail Hocking

Gail Hocking Passenger

New Zealand born, Aldinga based artist Gail Hocking, works with sculpture, installation and digital media. Currently her research seeks to visually translate the connection formed between the body and ‘non-human others’ (eg; environments, objects, machines, animals), in an attempt to speak of shared human and non- human relationships.

Whilst in residence at Sauerbier House, Hocking’s quest was to connect with the Onkaparinga/Ngangkiparingga estuary. Hocking spent many hours in the river listening to and viewing the waters through simple periscopes. Through this process, the artist gained a deep understanding of the sensory and visual rhythms of the river and its effects on the human body.

The resulting exhibition PASSENGER – Glimpses of worlds within worlds reflects through intimate moments, on the overlapping experiences of the artist and the Ngangkiparingga Estuary. Using short video clips, photographic images, sound and installation Hocking invites the audience to contemplate the river through her collective aquatic experiences.

The rhythms of tides
The potential of floods
The heaviness of water
The beauty of refracted light

Image: Space between worlds, 2019, periscope, water, air, dimensions variable.  Image Sue Fowler. 

Nestle in Onkaparinga  |  Rachel Anne Buch

Rachel Anne Buch - Nestle in OnkaparingaNestle in Onkaparinga is an interactive nest building project that uses social engagement to map out the local landscape, flora, fauna and culture.

For performance artist Rachel Anne Buch, nests symbolise a comfort zone; a portable safe haven from which she is able to facilitate a performative and creative experience for people of any age or ability to openly interact. This iteration of nest building was generated across three months whilst Buch was in-residence as a collective interpretation of the City of Onkaparinga.

Nestle in Onkaparinga  is the outcome of a larger project involving inclusive workshops held at Sauerbier House and interactive performances held throughout the 2019 Fringe Festival.

The nest artworks, Coral Culture and River Remnants were born from participation, discussion and imagination.  Coral Culture was designed to resemble the local coral reefs and beaches with participants (often children) expressing their experiences of these complex systems through sculptural forms. You may notice, nestled in the coral reef, familiar faces such as Shaun the Sheep and a Minecraft Sponge-bob.

River Remnants represent the forest growth and green spaces that surround the Onkaparinga River and reflects the thoughts and visions gathered at the Port Noarlunga Fringe from local community and visitors. 

The nests have been created from found objects and children’s craft materials. These materials were chosen to create an atmosphere of accessibility with any age, giving people the ability to relate or contribute to this artwork.

Documenting her progress on film and video whilst working on the residency project has allowed Buch the opportunity to collect images reflecting her process of making, concept building, performance preparation and presentation. Some of the props used throughout the performances are also on display. These artefacts provide visitors to Sauerbier House, in particular those who were unable to take part in the making process, with an overview of both the work and performances undertaken across this festival season.

Image: Nestle In Onkaparinga (performance detail), 2019. Image courtesy artist. 


October - December 2018

Compression | Tristan Louth-Robins

Tristan Louth-Robins CompressionAs a sound artist Louth–Robins’ practice has been concerned with exploring the relationship between the natural world and human activity. Prior to commencing as resident artist at Sauerbier House, the artist committed his weekends to following and documenting the Onkaparinga /Ngangkiparri River from its source in the Adelaide Hills to its meeting with the sea at Port Noarlunga.

At almost every stop along the river journey the presence of human activity was evident. In spite of the remoteness of any given locality, the environment where the river passed through seemed constantly impinged upon. A relative quiet would be interrupted by a mechanical din; the riverbank polluted by the accumulation of plastic detritus. With his sound equipment, camera, and notebook in hand Louth-Robins would observe and document these dynamics.

Upon arriving at Sauerbier House to commence the residency, the impact of this previously observed dynamic intensified significantly. Wandering across tracts of open space, the presence of urban development and traffic were inescapable.

Within audio theory, compression is a term used to describe the technical process of attenuating loud sounds, whilst increasing quieter sounds. In essence, establishing a state of dynamic consistency and reducing the space between the loudest and quietest sounds. Considering the environment of the Onkaparinga in these terms; with a pressing together of natural and human environs and a reduction of natural space, the notion of ‘compression’ found its way into his thinking as a poetic reflection of the tenuous nature of the Port Noarlunga environment.

This idea of ‘compression’ informed the working methodology of the studio practice, interweaving sound recordings and found raw materials (both natural and synthetic) into resonant compositions and sculptural forms, alluding to environmental states of solidity and fragility. The exhibition, Compression, is presented as a consolidation of these impressions, a blurring of the distinction between the natural and synthetic. 

Colour, Surface, Light |  Andrew Smith   

Andrew Smith - Colour Surface Light

In preparation for the Sauerbier House artist in residence program, Smith arrived with a number of agendas. These included exploring landscape and place, the use of acrylic paint and the possibilities of joint creative intervention. Connections and contrasts to his home region of North Wales and particularly the place of Llanfairfechen, (the original name of Sauerbier House), created a compelling platform from which to generate a body of responsive work.

Working at Sauerbier House for the focussed and uninterrupted residency, the Ngangkiparri River and the Willunga Basin facilitated a new departure in Smith’s painting. Visual exploration evolved from ‘looking at’, to a focused studio based enquiry, assimilating experiences of being on, moving over and thinking about place in relation to making.

Although familiar with his home national park landscape, the challenge to respond to the unfamiliar colours, shapes and light experienced around Sauerbier House and the surrounding areas has this set in place new directions for his practice.

The final canvas based works demonstrate a shift in Smith’s painting language to show new levels of vibrancy and expressive application.

Painting on small and large stretchers, on the floor and wall, and at all times in series, (working on all paintings at the same time), the conclusive ‘scapes’ have evolved as a definitive statement on Smiths experience of place through colour, surface and light.

Image credit: Onkaparinga Series, 2018, Acrylic, 13 x 16cm. Image A Smith.

Sauerbier House Wales Art logos


July - September 2018

Lands Edge  |  Alice Blanch

Lands Edge Alice Blanch

Over the last three months I have spent many hours walking and listening to the Ngangkiparingka Onkaparinga River, focusing on observing humble gestures of the natural environment. I have been watching the balance that occurs so seamlessly between water and earth at the lands edge.  These elements give and take in a quiet fluidity; the river bends here, and the rocks give way over there, both compromise equally to allow for mutual function and survival of each element.

Through quiet observation and contemplation I sense that there is a lot to learn from the natural environment. Relationships in nature are based around equal give and take, push and pull, and are constantly shifting to allow both elements to survive and flourish in their own right. I wonder how we can bring more balance into our human relationships with one another, between different cultures and our relationship with the land itself.

Works presented in this exhibition are the result of experimentation, working with new and old techniques and mediums within my art practice as well as exploring concepts of meeting points between elements.

I respectfully acknowledge and recognise that this exhibition and artworks created along the Ngangkiparingka | Onkaparinga River has taken place on traditional and sacred land of the Kaurna people.   I honour and pay respect to Elders past present and emerging.

Image credit: untitled, 2018. Image courtesy artist.

Filter Neville CichonFilter  |  Neville Cichon

We often hear a lot of small numbers in relation to climate change.
One degree temperature rise. One centimetre sea level rise.
No cause for alarm surely? Seemingly so small,
but how does this translate to our own backyard?

During this residency I learnt a little more about what these numbers mean and the projections for the future.

My art practice explores ways to bring an Australian perspective to the discussion on climate change. Far removed from the visuals of icebergs and polar bears, the beach is ingrained into Australian culture. These works signal the relationship between a global phenomenon and the host of our recreational or lifestyle desires.

My time as an artist in residence at Sauerbier House provided an opportunity to experiment with photography and its capacity to convey ideas about the challenges ahead. For example, studio photography can heighten our connection to objects while long exposure and abstract works encourage contemplation and wide ranging interpretations.

Works were created in response to information on climate change impacts sourced from specialist reports and experts on coastal management. Just as important were the hours, either during the day or under a full moon, experiencing the coastline in all weather conditions.

Sea levels rise with the melting of the ice caps. Warming oceans add to that rise through thermal expansion. This is a given for many people. Are we willing to see our idyllic beaches and coastal environment become a memory, rather than an experience accessible to future generations?

Image credit: circa 2030, 2018 . Image courtesy artist.

Neville is supported by Arts SA and Helpmann Academy.


Government of South Australia Arts South Australia

Resilient South Climate Ready Southern Adelaide


April - June 2018

The Language of Sunbeams  |  Rebecca McEwan

Rebecca McEwan - The Language of Sunbeams

‘The bee's life is like a magic well: the more you draw from it,
the more it fills with water’

Karl Von Frisch (1886 – 1982)

The honey bee was introduced into South Australia in 1839 and by the late 1800s there were around 200 beekeepers within the state, supplying the settlement with honey and wax. With the first commercial plantings of almond trees (in 1898, in the Southern Vales town of Willunga), there came the need for honey bees to pollinate the blossoms.   

The Southern Vales has a strong and continuing link with bees, beekeeping and pollination. Beehives are kept on vineyards as barometers of the health of the land and the by-products sometimes used within the viticulture process. Whilst the need for pollination of almond blossom has decreased due to the reduction of almond orchards, a greater understanding of the role bee’s play in maintaining a healthy equilibrium in the ecosystem has arisen. Property owners are beginning to recognise the essential need to create biodiverse environments to support bees and the greater ecosystem.      

Pollination is the single most important process in the survival and continuation of most flowering plants and it is not only European Honey Bees which provide this invaluable service. In South Australia there are around 500 native bee species pollinating native and introduced flora.

Humans have fostered an intrinsic relationship with bees on many levels. Historically, people believed bees were messengers from the heavens. Bees have been mentioned throughout ancient texts, art history and modern verse. You only need to spend a few moments talking with a bee keeper about their love for bees and you begin to understand the intoxicating effect the bees can have on a human.

The residency at Sauerbier House has allowed me to explore the evolving stories of bees, beekeeping and pollination within the Southern Vales as a valuable adjunct to time spent recently at the State Herbarium examining pollen from local native flora.

‘Interconnectedness is a fundamental principle of nature.
Nothing is isolated. Each event connects with the others’. 

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Image credit: Honey vessel, 2018, honey, glass, cork.  Image Suzanne Mustan.

Laura Wills - Woven Acts and Spoken Maps

Woven Acts and Spoken Maps  |  Laura Wills

Talk to the river, stand alongside it, stand in it, lie in it, take some out for a while and chat to it, sleep next to it, float on it, sing to/with it, walk along it - all the way?!

Woven Acts and Spoken Maps, explores a personal and interconnected relationship to the land surrounding Sauerbier House. The unique natural environment of the Ngangkiparri (Women's River/Onkaparinga River) is the inspiration for new drawing, installation and song works.

The Ngangkiparri Estuary bends and winds its way ten and half kilometres from Port Noarlunga to Old Noarlunga. Responding to the river, the work entitled House Estuary is a living map of the estuary growing within the grounds of Sauerbier House. 

Audiences are invited to add to this living installation.

The new drawing works are part of the in conversation with series.

This series explores an imagining of stories and histories of the Land such as experienced by trees, rocks and the river banks, 'what have they witnessed?'  Inspired by and aligned with these explorations, Laura has collaborated with South Australian singer song writer Naomi Keyte to perform new works at the exhibition launch.

This residency has been linked with The City of Onkaparinga’s Sustainability Team through the Climate is Change | arts exchange program. Laura collaborated with the City of Onkaparinga’s biodiversity team in the creation of the House Estuary participatory installation and community workshop. Laura also accessed the Council's mapping data for the creation of her new drawing works. 

Laura Wills is an Adelaide-based visual artist with an expanded approach to her practice. She employs contemporary art to explore          social and environmental themes through found materials, collaborative processes and community-based projects.                     

Laura is represented by Hill Smith Gallery. 

Image credit: Courses, 2018, pastel, pigment, ink on rag paper, 70 x 84 cm.   

3 January - 30 March 2018

Henry Jock Walker and friends - Table RockHenry Jock Walker and friends  |  Table Rock Surf Centre

Henry Jock Walker's practice commonly explores possibilities of surfing, painting and performance through collaboration and socially inclusive events. HJW has developed a national nomadic practice, utilising his Toyota HiAce van as an ever-changing exhibition/studio/performance site and mobile core of operations.

Table Rock Surf Centre is a next level community surf art project!; Surfing as a catalyst for creative action and connected learning. Sauerbier House will be the main zone for an interactive gallery/studio transformation process from  art space to surf shop.

Image : Henry’s Mobile Studio, Surfing  Paintings, boardart, Henry and Mick, 2013/14. Photo: Che Chorley


December 2017 - January 2018

Paul Gazzola Collectors Colections

Paul Gazzola  |  Collectors / Collections

COLLECTORS/ COLLECTIONS is an ongoing investigation into the aesthetics of popular culture seen through the eyes of local collectors and their private collections. It unearths collecting as a passion, quest, obsession or habit. In COLLECTORS/COLLECTIONS the personal becomes the catalyst for a cultural discourse that blurs the boundaries between art and the everyday.

Working with the frame of Sauerbier House as a site for cultural exchange, COLLECTORS/COLLECTIONS - ONKAPARINGA encourages the presentation of practices that don’t fall within traditional boundaries of ‘legitimate’ culture or ‘high art’. The eclectic collections validating how material objects can be seen as art works unto themselves, opening up the gallery space for other interests that has direct ties to the local community and the social geographies/histories of people, site and place. The process inviting participants into a space of dialogue, exchange and shared fascination that explores personal interests and cultural perspectives.

By creating a co-authored exhibition, COLLECTORS/COLLECTIONS - ONKAPARINGA aims to generate an open invitation to people who normally would not consider to visit the gallery, underpinning how Sauerbier House plays an important role in the construction of cultural knowledge and contemporary cultural literacy.

Overall, COLLECTORS/COLLECTIONS - ONKAPARINGA offers insights into the inherent pleasure of collecting as it exposes the secret world behind people's front doors.

COLLECTORS/COLLECTIONS is an ongoing collaborative project with Nadia Cusimano and forms part of Paul Gazzola’s PHD research into the spaces of engagement within participatory art projects. This version of the project is supported by The University of Tasmania.


Heidi Karo Trusting Walking

Heidi Karo  |  The Bridge

The Bridge has been an ongoing process of healing, research and investigation of the spaces between people, places and ideas, realised through shared practice and making. The act of creating with others is captured, stretched and amplified. In a range of shared making events with multi-disciplinary artists and community, Karo connects, crosses boundaries and builds bridges.

The Sauerbier House residency has unlocked an important elaboration to the already multilayered approach within Karo’s practice as a painter and an installation artist. New works involve movement, performance, community painting events, film and music collaborations. These multidisciplinary interactions with artists in Australia and Estonia are threads of cultural, familial and relational linking. These connections and experiences of shared creative process are the means to healing Heidi speaks of in her new body of work. Vulnerability, honesty, trust and protection have been tested and delivered in a range of forms and extend beyond the surface.

Karo explores the role of process in her work and highlights the necessity of rawness in her paintings. The flat, still and stagnant surface of the canvas no longer offers the empowerment it once did. Raw canvas is wrapped and tied across the works. New lines and layers are exposed. She records as she paints, singing the work into being.

The Artist’s experience working as a teacher and facilitator alongside young artists in the community has been key to the new direction of The Bridge. Spontaneous and collaborative community painting in the Sauerbier House studio has led to creative partnerships with young artist Jessica Dargie and Sam Wannan. Jessica’s Neverending Smile is captured as she works. The process is elevated within Sam Wannan’s animation. Neverending Smile is given eternal life through movement and light. 

The Bridge is the end of a story and a new beginning. Straps and strips of paintings made by children and community are woven into rope. Piano accordion by Tuulikki Bartosik (Estonia), clay kick wheel cycle recordings by Amanda Karo (Brisbane) and cello by Noah Jordan (Adelaide) play whilst Heidi, Zoe Brooks, Greta Wyatt and Angela London investigate limits and boundaries, vulnerability, stillness and trust. The rope ties, stretches, protects and joins, wraps and contains the spaces between.

Image credit : Trusting Walking, acrylic, canvas, 2017, 1.2m x 1.2m.  Photo courtesy of artist. 


July - September 2017

Paloma Concierta UnwoundPaloma Concierta  |  UNWOUND

Spanish slate skirts the interior of Sauerbier House, [1*]
(that was once the roof of the Port Noarlunga Life Saving Club);
The blackboards and their linear condensing of geography
into dark portraits of chance and voyage;
The external lines of the reflective copper strips
that prefer the Western aspect;
The ‘Unwound’ soundscape that uses the house itself
as an instrument to create a zone of contemplation;
The wool-wound old teak bowls that conceal and reveal
simultaneously, of Tree, of Sheep, of Hand
and the organic mathematics of human error
that is also present in nearby pastures and conversations;
The German piano on the verge faces a choir of She-oaks,
back to the house, no longer permitted to sing amongst natives
- he still-calls in delimited shapes from the levy wall
to the fruiting harp of the ‘Woman’s River’,
the Nganki Paringa River, The Onkaparinga River,
in Kaurna Yerta:
All these things are part of what I call.
The Palette of my Location.
Sauerbier House PC 12.9.17 

This Spanish slate which was previously on the roof of the Port Noarlunga Lifesaving
Club and was salvaged by local Welshman Ken Davies and gifted it to Lisa Harms (whilst she was the first Artist/Writer in Residence Sauerbier House 2015-2016). She then passed some of this slate to Concierta along with this information. Ken Davies is a recent recipient of a State Heritage award for his master-craftsman skills which were presented at Sauerbier House August 2016. Harms connects the Welsh heritage of Emily Gwendoline Sauerbier (nee Davies) with the place for which Sauerbier house was named Llanfairfechan (a seaside village not so far from Bangor slate quarry in Wales).
Llanfairfechan was the previous name of Sauerbier House.

Image credit: Antarctica (ii2016 7.LF), from the Landform series, 2016, found teak bowl and wool, 300 x 300mm. Photography by Rick Martin


Christobel Kelly  |  Walking Backwards

Christobel Kelly Walking Backwards

This project began as an atavistic investigation into a geographic triangle. The coastal area from Port Willunga, up to the Willunga Hills and over to Port Noarlunga, was my first stomping ground; the place where I came into the world step by step. By embedding the project at Sauerbier House it was possible to revisit this area whose physical landscape could declare at a whim, either presence or absence.

The first ten years of my life were spent in the sleepy town of Aldinga where I walked to school and the beach along the Port Willunga road. Those places are now almost unrecognisable due to urbanisation although sometimes there are vestigial memories that rise up when I return, a kind of walking backwards in time.

Gradually as the project developed, other questions arose such as, whether it was possible for houses as mnemonic entities to create systems for the revelation of former selves. Not necessarily the particularities of individual houses, but houses like enough to arouse a form of rhyming in the recollection of place. Thus the residency at Sauerbier House also became a method of conversation between deeply storied structures by way of the people who live or have lived in the area.

The constraints of working with a denuded set of letterpress meant that there was a process of slow thinking used in the formulation of each printed word. Even slower than handwriting, the act of printing became a way of scraping away until the substrata of time and place were revealed. 

Image credit: Christobel Kelly, Place/centre, 2017, oil on linen, 41 x 36cm. 

April - June 2017

Lindsay Nightingale exhibition imageLindsay Nightingale

The House that sang (work in progress)

“An idea, like a ghost, must be spoken to a little before it will explain itself.”   
Charles Dickens

The idea of a house with a mind or even a soul of its own, is of course not a new idea; buildings of all kinds have long been endowed with magical or uncanny qualities, either by their inhabitants or by the wider communities in which they are situated.

Often, the legends or stories which become attached to older houses contain a grain of truth and in attempting to uncover these gems; the seeker is drawn in further than expected.

What went before is frequently more interesting than what remains.

 In spending time at Sauerbier House, becoming acquainted with its odd corners and its quirks, I allowed my ideas the time to “explain themselves” and to find their own routes into a story.

On quiet days, walking between gallery and river or along the seafront, I began to link the urban myths, the factual and the fanciful stories attached to the house and grounds to those attached to the river and to the beautiful stretch of coastline at Port Noarlunga.

Rather than telling a story solely based in known facts, I instead, joined the dots and let the place tell me a story of its own making.

Image credit: excerpt from The House that Sang by Lindsay Nightingale, 2017

PDF icon png Read Chapter 1 - excerpt from The House that Sang (236K)

Buttergirl exhibition imageButtergirl (Kim Shanahan) | “…and, when it was melted, ree swallowed it.”

One single, female sandpiper, closes her eyes, sheds the snowflakes from her chestnut periya and propels herself towards the brackish waters of the Onkaparinga.

 Women move through the world differently than men. The constraints and dangers, the perceptions of others and the complex emotions women journey with are not the same, and for many women, the inner landscape is as important as the outer. This however does not mean that the female traveller is not historically astute, politically aware, and in touch with the language and customs of the place, but it does mean that a woman cannot travel and not be aware of her body and the limitations her sex may often present…                              

“For most birds, migration is a leap of blind faith, an instinctive urge of which they have no real control. Some will make it. They have been born with a faulty navigational sense, their internal compass skewed a few degrees, and most of these will die    lonely deaths in the vastness of the pacific. Others will not survive because they couldn’t lay on enough fat for the long non-stop flight, a fault of their physiology, perhaps, or a failing of their environment, storms will claim some, predators others, weakness and disease...”

Scott Weidensaul

Living on the Wind across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds

My research and focus of my Art Residency at Sauerbier House has been directly concerned with migration of the Calidris Acuminata, the tiny Sharp Tailed Sandpiper, and in fact the female of the species the “Ree”. This Bird annually migrates from the Arctic Siberia to the Onkaparinga River of South Australia, in search of tasty, nourishing, plump worms, molluscs and crustaceans. It flies in large flocks often with other waders. Their departure is highly organised with the male of the species leaving first, to be followed by the females and finally by the young.  There is much secrecy, and still so much unknown about the liminal space they journey.  When the Sharp Tailed Sandpiper’s have feasted on the splendours of the Onkaparinga region they will once again fly back to the tundras of Siberia to breed. The females incubate the eggs in well hidden hollows on the ground and raise their young alone.

I too have journeyed from my home in Katherine in the Northern Territory of Australia to undertake my residency at Sauerbier house… weekly I have prepared myself for long flights and emotional departures from family, my experience has paralleled that of the tiny shore bird I research…

I have wandered the banks of the Ngangkiparingga (Onkaparinga) that is symbolised as a Coolamon (a Kaurna Woman’s Large Dish or Bowl) I respectfully acknowledge this, as I have searched tirelessly for the exact place that the fresh water meets the salt, and it is here that I have stood beside a single, female Sharp Tailed Sandpiper that didn’t return to Siberia with her flock, and it is her story I tell… 

Image Credit: Cake Muraveinik (Anthill cake), 2017, 3 cups of winter wheat, 1 stick butter, 1 egg, 1 cup sugar,1 tsp baking soda,1 tsp vinegar,½ cup sour cream,1 tbsp poppy seeds,   dimensions variable. Photography by Ben Haddow.


February - March 2017

Margit Brünner 

Margit Brunner - Advanced decision makingAdvanced decision making, 2017, video still, dimensions variable.

'If we prioritize joy, will we be generating paradise?'

The Sauerbier House Residency presented the artist Margit Brünner with the opportunity to further investigate the aesthetic and ethic potential and effects of joy-production. Margit’s practice is motivated by a firm belief that we become and co-emerge in relation to others and the course of our becoming matters. To put joy-based exercise in perspective Brunner borrows from the Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza, who suggested that we are partaking in the dynamics of a highly affective universe, where each and everyone's expressions, including those of ants, plants, minerals, thoughts,... have an effect on the whole.

“What I do, think, and feel in response to any miniscule every day situation is impacting on the current global, ecological, economic and socio-political situation, either moving the whole toward or further away from joy (as a secure basis for life affirming, compassionate attitudes). A ‘joy’ is when the body starts doing things to my own surprise, undoing the maker. What s/he thinks, does, or will do makes room for new relations to occur. In all of my works, I am interested in this particular presence – an intimate, expansive experience of being [with/in] place.”

Margit used of the residency to make visible fragments of joy through performative drawing and installations, responding  to the encountered environments at Sauerbier House and its surroundings and to  explore questions like: How can joy-based exercise become a means for communication? How do we share & what is worthwhile sharing? How do joyous states materialise? What can be invented to notice and enhance the joyful things we are already sharing? How does it look like to spend an hour/a day /a week in joy?

In  presenting a series of informal events that served as temporal test sites for breeding 'paradise' through the sharing and transmission of joy it was hoped that in doing so, a particular kind of perception could be set in motion that originated from, and belonged to the obscured ‘paradise’, thus propelling a collaborative productivity towards it. It remains to be seen whether the created affective arrangements might be contemplated as applicable strategy for peace & place-making.


Rosemary Whitehead

Rosemary is a textile and colour environmentalist whose weaving of large and small tapestries; collaging of  love-song sheets;  clothing of hangers and construction  of  beauteous nets have regenerated donated, discarded or found fabric and objects. Many of her works are inspired by the texts she has read and the people she has met and since 1999 much of her work has been informed by the place she calls home -- Kangaroo Island.

Having  first fell in love with the landscape around Port Noarlunga while  attending  a tapestry weaving residential summer school at Tatachilla in 1976, Rosemary fell in love all over again while at Sauerbier House, working towards a  ruminative  exhibition and through generously skill sharing the many textile processes she  has learnt over the last 40 years.

Her work explores the inseparable connection between art and life via the domestic opportunities which fabrics afford us.   


October - December 2016

Sauerbier House Nic Brown Untitled works in progressNic Brown

Remember this

Over the skeleton of thought
mind builds a skin of human texture.

'Remember this.' I will remember
this quiet in which the questioning mind
allows reality to enter
its gateway as a friend, unchallenged,
to rest as a friend may, without speaking;
light falling like a benediction
on moments that renew the world.

Gwen Harwood, excerpt from her poem Estuary

The great looping arc of the Onkaparinga River estuary at Port Noarlunga has always been a landmark, a place that I watch out for when driving along the nearby road.

Any place on earth where salt water meets fresh water, where still water faces the sky, is a place for reflection, reverie and storytelling.

Sauerbier House, built in 1897, is located right on the Onkaparinga River estuary and the stories of the Kaurna custodians of this area featured in a previous residency and exhibition in which Lisa Harms worked with Ngankiburka Mekauwe (Senior Woman Of Water) Georgina Williams at length, demonstrating many entry points to the long-term significance of this place.

Everyone must know by now that the Onkaparinga is a women’s river. Its Kaurna name is Ngangkiparingga, meaning ‘Women’s River’.

The importance to all South Australians of knowing more about both the deep and more recent past of where they live is part of the purpose of Sauerbier House as “a centre for developing and promoting arts practices, supporting and strengthening the creative cultural expression of the region”.

So that the past is not forgotten, and so that its lessons can be studied and carried into the future, and not just its lessons but its experiences, its aesthetics, what it looked like, what it felt like. To this end a certain part of the atmosphere of the early twentieth century in this particular place is evoked by Nic Brown’s new paintings that conjure up flooded buildings and landscapes in the area.

When I think of floods the painting, The flood in the Darling 1890, made in 1895 by W.C. Piguenit always comes to mind. Usually on permanent display in the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, it shows silvery water stretching in every direction over a flat land. It is also about a sky, a place of slowly moving cloud like clotted cream and of light softened, stretched and then made more luminous by being reflected in water.

This place of reverie is also where the work that Brown made for her residency at Sauerbier House is going. Whatever she initially planned to do, once Brown did research into historical records and saw photographic images of floods in the area, she knew that she wanted to study them further and use them as the basis for her evocative paintings that recreate sensations and history at the same time.

Here is the past, here are houses, landscapes and here are past lives spilling out of buildings surrounded by water. Brown has even suggested that the flooding is rising out of the buildings. Thus the work is not literal but imaginative and has layers of meanings that viewers may either guess or dream into the work.

The water that is above and below the houses and the landscapes makes it seem as if they will dissolve while at the same time, as in Piguenit’s work, it opens space for reflection.

Brown’s recurring palette is chalky and pastel, she uses water-mixable oil paint and often floods the work with clouds of white and dripping liquid paint that leave traces that deconstruct the exactness or primness of her subject matter by adding in accidents and suggestions of mortality, error, elusiveness and mutability.

I walked with Nic, and her son Teddy and my dog Eno, along the shores of the Onkaparinga estuary near Sauerbier House earlier this year. Teddy collected tiny shells that he kept losing while Eno ran as fast as he could and had to be chased. Mostly the four of us strolled slowly, without speaking, along the silvery edge of the estuary leaving crumbly footprints in the sand.

Stephanie Radok

Eileen Lubiana

Eileen Lubiana - Guardian 2016

During this residency Eileen Lubiana has explored what we as a society ‘value’. A trip to Italy highlighted the extent and value of that region’s cultural heritage, a place filled with centuries of artistic endeavour. In Australia, for many people and especially the First Nation people, it is the very land that we stand on that is of significant value.

This juxtaposition is explored in numerous ways throughout the exhibition. Eileen elevates the natural world of dried seaweed and remnant grasses into evocative objects.  Playing with notions of water and light, a construct of green glass mirrors the ebb and flow of a living seabed under the waves, whole and resplendent compared to the tumbled pieces so often found in the sand. Water and sand are poetically represented as Eileen’s moving images ebb with the tidal flow of beach and water. The exhibition culminates with a large scale diptych ‘fragile’, hosting a European statue, a guardian, positioned on the sand hills close to the mouth of the Onkaparinga River, standing within the Tjirbruke Story, his sand tracks painted in ochre. The values held within old traditions are blended.

Eileen’s work seeks to focus attention on the beauty and fragility of our natural environment in the face of climate change and the loss of open space and by highlighting this fragility, inspires people to contribute in caring for it.


May - August 2016

Melinda Rackham

Melinda Rackham White Wash

Over the stark winter of June, July and August the writings of a young woman, a 19th century re-settled Irish domestic servant, appear in the Sunroom and Hallway of Sauerbier House.

Filigreed texts, fragmented memories, unwind time. Words quiver, resonate, multiply, finding form to articulate the architectural space. Still. This building holds her, provides safe harbour from prevailing winds. Silence tightens around her throat, urging her to write, not utter.

Liveliness is without in the Onkaparinga estuary. Mingling. A scape of uncertainty, transition from river and sea, oceanic, fresh and salty. Planted in rich mud, immersed in icy water. Imprisoned by open skies, freed in she-oak swamps.

Time and tide swells her resolve. Words, the words she could never say, are seen and heard, touched by others. Reverberating, honoured, sung. White foam washes. Over.


March - May 2016

Richard Lavender

Sauerbier House Richard Lavendar - Works in Progress

‘Home and our surroundings has  insistently inspired me. Not just through the artwork I create, but through the little appreciations and mindset I reside within. It’s not the word, the letters or the sound they make, but rather the underlying feelings connected with home. The elements we look past due to familiarity and the others that catch our attention every time. The feeling of home sick, and the contrast of finally returning back again.

This body of work will serve as a personal tool for myself to explore, consider and look deeper into the landscape and structures, the people and the animals, the colours and temperatures within the place I call home. Recreating these elements with the use of paint demands an insightful consideration of pigments, sizes and applications to reflect the internal complacency felt when home.

Image titled: Works in Progress Richard Lavender 2016


May 2015 - October 2016

Lisa Harms

In October, Lisa Harms presented a ‘a year of research’, the culmination of an extended residency which generated and enabled a creative / curatorial collaboration with Georgina Williams.

The Sauerbier House Transformation Project began in July 2015 with the brief to engage with community stakeholders around the transformation of the historic homestead, built C1895 on the banks of the Onkaparinga River, into a contemporary art space.

From May to September 2015, before meeting Georgina, Lisa collected ‘views’ from poets, artists, locals, previous residents, visitors to the gallery and passers-by, writing a collective text about history, memory and place, turning the house itself into a framing device, mirroring the emotional, physical, and cultural topographies in which it is embedded; mapping the transformations it has witnessed. In conversation with Georgina, Lisa had a shift, in attention to Georgina’s voice, and their exchanges have been recorded and broadcast within and from the house.  Lisa describes her exhibition as a conversation with fragments, drawn from a ‘female’ history of the house which has its own echoes of refuge and repair and has transformed her own experience and practice; “waking me up; ‘coming home’ to country.”


December 2015 - February 2016

Veronica Calarco (Wales)

Veronica Calarco, Koote warrin mangina pigeondul / Un diwrnod yn y gorffenol, acrylic on paper'… words aren’t just things you memorise whose meanings fit neatly into a dictionary. Words go beyond that. They channel you into a new way of seeing, of thinking , of acting.’  Michael Agar

As with most Australians, I didn’t learn the language of the area from which I come. We all spoke English. As an adult I have learnt Welsh - a language to which I have no historical, cultural or family connection. I decided that I needed to learn the language of Gippsland. This is not an easy task - there are very few resources (dictionaries, grammars, how to learn) and so I find that I  have embarked on a journey to find the language as well as to learn it. Mainly what I have at this stage is a list of words and a few grammars notes. But they are just words I can memorise and have no meaning - so with my work I am trying to put a meaning into each word or phrase as I learn it. Whilst at Sauerbier House I have been using a short story in Kurnai and translating it into Welsh. The images used in the works were influenced by the time I have spent at Lot 50 Kanyanyapilla - an area of land in McLaren Vale that was acquired by artist and cultural geographer Gavin Malone for an ecological and cultural regeneration project. By using the story (and the words) in the images I am giving the words meaning to me, making them part of my experience at Sauerbier House and the time I have spent at Lot 50.

Image: Veronica Calarco, Koote warrin mangina pigeondul / Un diwrnod yn y gorffenol, acrylic on paper


Lorelei Medcalf (Port Noarlunga)

Sauerbier House Lorelei Medcalf small as a world monotype and pencil

Since moving to the Port Noarlunga area in 2015 I have regularly walked the beaches, cliffs and dunes, swum the sea and snorkelled the reefs and river. A sense of wonder is awakened in me at the sighting of a bird, the changing light on the sea, or the strange shape of a stone, and I find myself deeply engaged with my new surroundings. During my residency at Sauerbier House I am documenting these experiences and discoveries with drawings, printmaking and books.


Image: Lorelei Medcalf, small as a world, monotype and pencil


September – November 2015

Sauerbier Art House Elizabeth Abbott thumbElizabeth Abbott - studio artist

Elizabeth works from her home at Maslin Beach. She is a contemporary visual art practitioner concentrating on printmaking and painting. She holds printmaking workshops with children and adults as well as being involved in group and solo exhibitions nationally and internationally. She is also a qualified special effects makeup artist working in film and special events. She has worked at schools, libraries and community centres demonstrating and applying her crafts. She also provides tuition for artists and beginners in printmaking and basic special effect makeup.

Her work ranges from experimental printmaking to installations and figurative collage.


Sandy Kumnick – studio artist

Sauerbier House - Sandy Kumnick at work

I am a painter, as was my mother, who used to attend classes in watercolour painting classes at the Old Noarlunga main street studio-art-shop. My parents lived for 35 years in the home they built at Moana South, so although I am not a local, Noarlunga is special to me.

My work usually starts in an expressionistic gestural style, reflecting the observed environments in colours and marks. Found objects, vegetation and imagery (on camera / paper) collected during daily walks, sketches, words-poetry, and other modes are utilised in capturing moments of focus.



Sauerbier House - Garden Gallery by James Tylor with caption

James Tylor – site-responsive commission

James Tylor is an Aboriginal - Maori - Anglo photo media artist. His investigations into personal histories of place and identity combine intelligence, technical skill and an individual aesthetic which result in a fresh take on such complex issues.