Flinders Ranges Offer Artist Inspiration

The Grindell’s Hut Artist-in-Residence program is due to begin under the management of Country Arts SA for the first time next month in the Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park in the Northern Flinders Rangers.

Regional New South Wales artist Gregory Carosi has been selected from 22 applicants from around Australia for the three week residency for this new partnership between Country Arts SA, the Department for Environment and Water and the Vulkathunha‐Gammon National Park’s Co-Management Board, Natural Resources SA Arid Lands.

“Gregory Carosi is a contemporary visual artist who has a strong influence of landscape in his abstract work. He has a thorough process for developing relationships with the local Aboriginal community which will result in three workshops while he’s in residence in Grindell’s Hut,” said Country Arts SA’s Chief Executive Officer, Steve Saffell.

Carosi, a painter based in regional NSW, has a rapidly developing national profile. A finalist in this year’s ‘The Churchie’ National Emerging Art Prize at QUT Art Museum in Brisbane, his upcoming exhibition Cut/Copy, will run at Melbourne’s Alternating Current Art Space during the Grindell’s Hut Art Residency. Carosi has also exhibited extensively in regional galleries across NSW including a solo exhibition at the Wagga Wagga Art Gallery in 2016 where he will return in 2020 with a major exhibition, Dead Reckoning that will incorporate work generated as a result of the Grindell’s Hut Art Residency.

“The Grindell’s Hut residency offers incredible scope to extend my investigations into how people move through and interact with built and natural environments. The residency will enable me to directly engage with the Vulkathunha‐Gammon Ranges National Park’s distinctive land formations and diverse ecosystems, providing the opportunity to record, through direct sketches and abstracted pictorial notation, the ways in which topographical features influence walking patterns and visual reading paths,” said Carosi in his application.

Image by Gregory Carosi of the ‘365’ exhibition. The installation views are of his solo exhibition, ‘365’ at Western Plains Cultural Centre, Dubbo NSW.

Carosi will have the opportunity to meet with local Aboriginal community members and will be supported to ensure correct protocols are respected and followed and that the community feels welcome and able to engage with the project. With this knowledge in mind, Carosi has developed a proposal of how he intends to engage with local Aboriginal community members through the delivery of an arts workshop to support skills development in the Nepabunna community, 95km’s from Grindell’s Hut, as part of the residency.

“I look forward to a high level of community interaction as part of the Grindell’s Hut residency, including skills and knowledge exchange, inter-cultural aesthetic dialogue and the development and completion of a large-scale collaborative project,” he said.

The Grindell’s Hut Artist Residency program was established more than 14 years ago by the then Regional Development Board, located in Port Augusta. It was successfully run by the Port Augusta City Council until Country Arts SA took on its management this year.

The remote location was chosen as it provides an environment of extraordinary national beauty with significance for artists to pursue their practice whilst immersed in an outback environment.

“Grindell’s Hut is in an isolated spot right in the heart of the Flinders Ranges with spectacular views over the valleys and foothills of the Illinawortina Pound and the Blue Range and is a haven for many rare and endangered plants and animals and some ancient rock formations and fossils,” said acting Regional Director of Natural Resources SA Arid Lands, Jodie Gregg-Smith.

“It is rich in Adnyamathanha stories and cultural history which we hope can be discovered by the artists who visit the region. It is the perfect base for an artist to connect with the beauty of the landscape, people and stories surrounding them. We are delighted to host the artists and have seen some inspiring works in recent years. It is such a great way to connect a greater number of people with the special places of the Flinders Ranges through an artist’s interpretation.”

Grindell’s Hut is located on a hillside in the middle of the Vulkathunha‐Gammon Ranges National Park. The McLachlan Pastoral Company built the hut in the 1950’s as a Boundary Rider’s Hut and Outstation for the Balcanoona Pastoral Lease. The original hut built in the late 1800’s by John Grindell still stands just behind the newer hut.