Art Lovers Guide To The Southern Highlands
ART LOVERS GUIDE
TO THE SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS
While the Southern Highlands is a region steeped in history, its burgeoning art scene is quite the opposite—and that’s what makes it so exciting and unique. Fresh and forward-focused, no less than five contemporary galleries have opened their doors here in the past four years, putting the Highlands on the map as one of the most modern and vibrant contemporary art hubs in the state.
Exhibiting a range of work by Australian and international artists both emerging and established, we suggest you wander the walls and ponder the plinths of these new galleries during your stay.
Before opening its doors in October of 2021, Ngununggula was the buzz of Bowral for years. Locals first started campaigning for their own regional art gallery over three decades ago, before local resident and esteemed Australian artist, Ben Quilty, took up the plight to turn an old dairy into a world-class gallery about six years ago.
The result is Ngununggula (which means ‘belonging’ in the traditional language of the Gundungurra First Nations people), Southern Highland’s first regional art gallery at Retford Park in Bowral. Ngununggula’s approach is community-minded, with consciously curated exhibitions highlighting First Nations makers, artist-led projects, and public workshops on offer.
Both gallery and grounds are incredibly designed, with converted barns and stunning gardens to explore.
Looking for a unique Highlands experience during your stay? We can highly recommend visiting the Midwinter Festival in nearby Bowral, hosted by the Ngununggula Regional Art Gallery.
They have kindly extended access to VIP tickets to guests of Osborn House – please see here.
Michael Reid Southern Highlands
The freshest face on the Southern Highlands art scene, Michael Reid gallery opened last year in Berrima, following ventures in Berlin, Sydney, and the Hunter Valley.
With an incredible host of artists on its roster, including Mary Pinnock, Sally West, and Djirrirra Wunuŋmurra Yukuwa, the gallery champions Australian contemporary artists both renowned and up-and-coming. With its finger on the pulse of local talent, you’re bound to discover your new favourite artist here.
Before you leave, forget what you think you know about traditional gallery gift shops and spend some time in The Concept Store, showcasing (and selling!) unique, handmade wares by Australian designers and crafters.
The Southern Highlands Artisans Collective opened in Robertson in 2019, first occupying the old potato shed before relocating to a new space in the historical Old Town Hall in Bowral.
Open Friday to Sunday, the SHAC is a not-for-profit endeavour celebrating and exhibiting local Southern Highlands artists, providing the community with the opportunity to both exhibit and enjoy the work of those within it. A reliable source when it comes to unearthing unique and unexpected art, you can count on The SHAC to give unknown and emerging artists a platform (or plinth!) to show off their wares.
As well as exhibitions, the collective also hosts workshops on everything from abstract expressionism to felt flower making. Truly something for everyone here!
Whitewall Art Projects
2020 may go down in the history books for another reason, but the opening of Whitewall Art Projects deserves a mention, too! Founded by NY-born, Highlands-based multi-disciplinary artist, Thomas Bucich, the walls of this striking contemporary gallery display both Bucich’s own work as well as personally curated exhibitions and group shows.
Whitewall’s artist roster spans a diverse range of makers and mediums, including Sydney landscape artist Anthony Buselli, Los Angeles photographer Catherine Just, and Southern Highlands based Sculptor Nikki Sharp.
Also home to creative workshops and classes taught by Bucich himself, a trip to this gallery may unearth the artist in you, too.
Jennings Kerr Gallery
Based in the Highlands Hive building in the heart of Robertson, Jennings Kerr also joined the scene in 2021. But word has spread fast about their flawlessly curated group shows, celebrating a wide range of artists, mediums, and disciplines.
A trusted exhibitor of leading artists as well as those in the early days of their career, director James Kerr has extensive history as a curator, and it shows. Open Friday to Monday, it’s well worth a weekend wander.