Wander through the exhibition
More than 100 people turned out for the opening of Strawberry Fields Festival’s inaugural Retrospective Exhibition.
NSW Member for Murray Austin Evans and Berrigan Shire Council representatives were among guests at the opening on Sunday, October 21, at Tocumwal’s war memorial hall.
The exhibition is again open on Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm.
Tied into the festival’s 10-year anniversary celebrations, the exhibition is a collaborative project between Strawberry Fields, Monash University’s architecture faculty, photographers Duncographic and Zeazy and visual art collective John Fish.
With the exhibition designed to give people the chance to take part and integrate with Strawberry Fields, which has called Tocumwal home for the past seven years, 19 Monash architecture students revealed seven impressive large-scale structures they designed and built as part of their course.
Made out of cardboard, the meticulously-designed and intricate structures were erected by the students for the first time in the hall, two days before the opening.
The collection includes a video dome, external walls, counters, entry stage and hundreds of photos capturing a decade of Strawberry Fields moments which were assessed and judged by Monash architecture tutor Marie Le Touze and Strawberry directors Tara Benney and Billy Staughton.
Mr Staughton said designs were judged based on their functionality, aesthetics, and incorporation of sustainable building principles.
‘‘We’ve had three sessions adjudicating the progress of their work and initially it seemed so far off what was actually able to be produced,’’ he said.
‘‘You look at how intimidating the large hall is as a space, and to try and fill it with cardboard that came in flat sheets and construct the objects to fill the brief to create a temporary gallery for this exhibition, then fill the space in the required time is remarkable . . . it’s an absolute credit to them.’’
Mr Evans commended the festival for facilitating the exhibition and the ongoing efforts to collaborate with Tocumwal and broader community.
‘‘To combine the photos of all the history and the years of the Strawberry Fields with the architecture students with all their cardboard constructions is really good,’’ he said.
‘‘Organisers have always made an effort to work with the community, but they’re making even more effort and I think that’s a good thing.
‘‘It’s a two-way thing; they’ve worked with the council, not against them and any concerns council have that come from the community are being addressed and met.’’
Mr Staughton encouraged everyone to visit the gallery and take a wander through the exhibition before it was taken to the festival site.
‘‘The students’ work will be displayed on-site for the entirety of the festival amongst a larger retrospective exhibition called MONOSS (Museum Of New and Old Strawberry Stuff) that will feature galleries and workshop space for patrons to enjoy,’’ he said.
Ms Le Touze said although designed as a temporary exhibition, the students’ efforts offered longterm benefits to locals.
‘‘In August they surveyed the hall, which was great training for them to learn how to draw in detail, a stunning existing building that had no such drawings on record. We’re delighted to gift these drawings to the Tocumwal Chamber of Commerce,’’ she said.
Hall committee and chamber president Sergio Redegalli expressed his gratitude and said such drawings could cost upwards of $20 000.
‘‘This means we’ll be able to use these drawings for professional grant applications, it’s a lasting gift and a blessing that benefits the community long term,’’ he said.
‘‘As much as Strawberry Fields is awesome for the community having developed ongoing annual community grants scheme or using local businesses where possible, this latest collaboration further demonstrates their ability to successfully network Australian youth to our region, while preserving the nuts and bolts of our town.’’
This year’s Strawberry Fields Festival will celebrate 10 years and is on in Tocumwal from November 16 to 18.
Opening night: NSW Member for Murray Austin Evans (second from right) and Berrigan Shire Council Mayor Matthew Hannan (front left) at the opening with Monash University architecture students and staff, and Strawberry Fields directors at the Tocumwal war memorial hall.
On show: Strawberry Fields media manager and main festival photographer Duncan Jacob, aka Duncographic, who choreographed and produced the exhibition.