Sauerbier House Culture Exchange

Previous artists

October - December 2017

Heidi Karo - OpenSunroom Studio - Heidi Karo

Heidi’s practice has evolved over many years of creative and cultural research in both Australia and Estonia. Exploring her personal connection to both places, her work engages with cultural belonging and family story, responding in personal symbols, representations and the building of physical and conceptual bridges. 

Image credit: Heidi Karo, Open , 2016,  mixed media on canvas,
1.5 x 1.5m 



Riverside Studio - Paul Gazzola

Paul Gazzola

My practice focuses on the creation of socially engaged art projects that blur the boundaries between art and everyday life. My projects seek to engage local participants in collaborative and co-authored processes that highlight local ideas, knowledge and interests. Over this residency, I will begin to develop a local version of the ongoing project Collectors/Collections (CC) that is made in collaboration with Nadia Cusimano. CC is an investigation into the aesthetics of local culture through the eyes of local collectors and their personal collections. It unearths and documents collecting as a passion, obsession, quest, habit or just a way of life. CC explores the parallels and similarities between the highart collector and those whose fascination lie within the everyday.

Image credit: Italo Vardaro, Collectors/Collections.


July - September 2017

Paloma Concierta UnwoundHallway Gallery - Paloma 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


Lounge Gallery - 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 imageHallway Gallery - Lindsay 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 imageLounge Gallery - Kim Shanahan | Buttergirl

“…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.