As we welcome Art Month Sydney 2021, we chat with Collector's Space Curator Gina Mobayed about her life, career and role in the festival this March.
Kelly+Partners is the proud Principal Sponsor of Art Month Sydney. Art Month Sydney is a city-wide festival running from 4 – 28 March, celebrating all things art through a rich and diverse program of events. Our support of Art Month allows us to contribute to the enrichment of culture and education, an idea that rests at the very heart of our DNA.
After a challenging year for artists, galleries and businesses due to COVID-19, we chat with Goulburn Regional Art Gallery Director, Gina Mobayed about how we can rally behind the arts industry this year!
1. Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to work in the arts industry?
I am currently the Director at Goulburn Regional Art Gallery, I moved out to Goulburn from the heart of Sydney 4 years ago to take up the role. I have worked in all corners of the arts and am ten years in to my career. I have delivered about 500 shows and worked with many more artists! I enjoy what I do because I learn everyday, art cannot be solved and it doesn’t compromise. I love having to bend to it, to make an exhibition special and an artist feel a sense of achievement.
2. What is it like to work within a regional gallery and art scene?
At the time of my appointment I was the youngest director of a public gallery in Australia and I think I might just still hold that post!
Goulburn Regional Art Gallery is a public gallery, so I work for a local council. We focus on commissioning new work from living and local artists and I also commission work for our public art program. At the moment we’re working on a big exhibition program that includes a partnership with Carriageworks, a national tour of one of our shows and a learning program for hundreds of young people in Goulburn.
I moved out to Goulburn because I wanted to challenge myself. In Sydney, as wonderful as it is to be part of a lively arts scene, you are one of many producers. In Goulburn my Gallery is the only one for 80kms. This pushes me to challenge our artists and audiences even further, but the heart of what I do must be responsive to the community of Goulburn. A close, smaller community is a wonderful barometer, they tell you what they think!
3. Do you have any advice for people thinking about starting an art collection or getting into art?
Look at as much art as possible. Talk to people who know their stuff. Don’t be afraid to part with your money. It is worth it.
Check out the list of galleries working with Art Month this year and you will find many, many people willing to answer questions and chat to you about artists. If you like what's on the wall, ask a question. This is all about developing your eye, what you like, what excites you, what you can’t bear. Hating a work is good too, sometimes the best conversation is when you hate a work.
4. What can we expect of Art Month 2021? What will your role be in the festival?
Art Month explodes in Sydney at just the right time, we are rested from January and the weather is great.
You can expect galleries to be open, people to be smiling and spaces to be activated and energised by this festival. This year especially we need to get out, see new things and talk to each other about good things, like art.
Check out the live nights every Saturday too, because performances activate galleries in the most interesting way.
I am curating the Collector’s Space, so I have the great role of bringing together five collectors and prying the most incredible works out of their homes for you all to see. This year is bold, and the collectors are leaders from within the arts so its a real peek in to what other experts like to live with and how personal collecting is.
5. Why are festivals and events like Art Month important?
Art Month unifies Sydney in the most special way. It sees the visual arts coming together for the purpose of being open to a new public.
It is rare that we get together like this, commercial galleries, organisations, artists and producers. We stay open later, meet new people, think about ideas. The best part is that its about artists, and those who champion them too. Artists have curated this series of live nights and its so great to see what they do with spaces when sound and movement are part of the experience.
6. How can Australians support artists and galleries in 2021?
There are so many ways but the most simple one is to visit your local galleries. Your time is precious and we want you to invest it in us.
If you have thought about starting a collection, now is the best time to do it. Artists are making incredible work across Sydney and Art Month will be showing the best of it. Tell us if you liked something, if you want to see more of it. After Art Month, keep visiting!
7. What do you think the business world can learn from the arts industry?
I think the business world could learn new ways of being just as productive, but with more heart.
Arts workers and artists are great thinkers and great problem solvers and they care about the people around them. My first ever project in the arts was to build a gallery inside an eight tonne truck, suspend a one tonne sculpture inside it, then drive it around Melbourne for four days and we did it! I like to do everything well, and sometimes as hard as it is, that means doing less. And after ten years in the arts, I am happy with that ethos.
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