Commentary

Symposiums like Dawn Light are part of an evolving trend for contemporary artists to develop their work outside the gallery system and in an international context. Symposiums, workshops, conferences, and residencies, are some of the forms of artists’ gatherings, mostly organised by artists themselves, which are a major strategy for contemporary artists to make and present their work. These projects throw together artists and others from diverse backgrounds for an intense period of work culminating in exhibitions and talk-fests that offer dynamic opportunities for artists to share their ideas with their peers and the wider community.

Of particular significance with many of these projects is the intention that the process of the project itself is a template of engagement, for all involved, which gives experiential understanding of alternative social relationships, with the potential for sustainable change. The process is an art practice sometimes referred to as Dialogical or Littoral art. (Grant Kester – Conversation Pieces, University of California Press, 2004)

Dawn Light is the outcome of discussions held at a number of symposiums and conferences in the past few years, and is a continuation of activities organised by Synapse Art Initiatives (founded 1993), particularly Chimera 1995, D.O.T.S 1995, Eco Poetics 1996, Conversations and Departures (Vancouver) 1996, Dog Trap Road Biennale 1998, Duck Project 1999, and Giving 1999. These could all be regarded as Dialogical or Littoral practice.
Acknowledgement must be made to Ian Hunter and Celia Larner of Littoral who organised conferences in Salford 1994, and Dublin (with Critical Access) 1998, and Wallace Heim for the Between Nature conference in Lancaster, 2000.

Juliet Fowler-Smith and Neil Berecry-Brown, both part of Synapse, began developing Dawn Light in discussions with Park, Byoung-Uk and Ali Bramwell (NZ) over a number of years at Nine Dragon Heads Art Symposium in Korea. These were continued at the 2005 Sarajevo Winter Festival. The selection of artists for Dawn Light reflects this history.

The City of Gosford has been fortunate to have a number of artists who live in the region, or associated with it in some way, participate in the Nine Dragon Heads Symposium. Neil Berecry-Brown began nine years ago and since then eight others have attended; Maumer Cajic, Meredith Brice Copland, Sandy James, Melissa Habjan, Lynn Brunet, Horst Kiechle, Anne Graham and Juliet Fowler-Smith (four times).

Dawn Light was realised through partnerships with Eo inc. (Central Coast Contemporary Artists Initiative) the Gosford Regional Gallery and the University of Newcastle (Ourimbah). Their contributions made it possible to bring Dawn Light to fruition.

Students from the Ourimbah campus in the Art Theory and Professional Practice courses were “Imbedded” in the project to the mutual benefit of all involved.

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Dawn Light Commentary – Neil Berecry-Brown