Arts & culture,

HOTA gallery hangs first artwork from the collection

The Rainforest by William Robinson AO at the HOTA Gallery

HOTA | April 27, 2021

William Robinson’s the rainforest is the million-dollar painting that started it all and will be the first artwork from the city’s collection to grace the walls of the new HOTA gallery.


A monumental painting across two panels and close to 5 metres long, The Rainforest was acquired through local donations from the Gold Coast’s business and art loving community for the City Collection in 1991.

“Gold Coasters have a special connection to the beautiful environment in which we live, from the beaches to the hinterland, so it was absolutely fitting that this painting was chosen as the design inspiration for the new HOTA Gallery,” said HOTA CEO Criena Gehrke.

“The artwork has been in Sydney undergoing some minor conservation work, and now it’s back and ready for its big reveal on Saturday 8 May. We can’t wait to see it under lights in the new gallery space, enhanced by its surroundings in a way it’s never been seen before.”

Born and raised in Brisbane, William Robinson AO is one of Australia’s foremost landscape painters, his work has been inspired by the magic of our very own backyard – the Gold Coast hinterland. His unique visions of the landscape enchant and inspire in unlikely ways.

The Rainforest is ‘a lyrical exploration of an ancient landscape and place of wonder’ and shows the Botan Creek winding its way through the Beechmont rainforest where Robinson lived on a 208-acre farm at the time it was painted. The work was awarded the prestigious Wynne Prize for landscape at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 1990.

As one of the most valuable and treasured works in the City Collection, The Rainforest will be part of the HOTA Gallery’s Collection exhibitions, before being featured in the forthcoming major exhibition Lyrical Landscapes: The Art of William Robinson exhibition from 31 July to 3 October in Gallery 1.

Like The Rainforest, the new HOTA Gallery will evoke a sense of wonder, discovery, creation, beauty, spectacle and scale.

The Rainforest has been both the inspiration and the design of the Gallery and a metaphor for the curatorial approach. Evoking the essence of a rainforest, with aspects of light and dark, unexpected viewpoints, and moments of surprise and delight around every corner, it’s a privilege to share the new HOTA Gallery with the Gold Coast community,” Criena added.

The $60.5 million HOTA Gallery will be the latest addition to Australia’s dynamic new arts precinct, and to celebrate the launch weekend, HOTA will present a weekend of activities and events across the precinct.

On Saturday 8 May the Outdoor Stage will feature live music. The celebration continues on Sunday 9 May with a massive concert, artist talks both inside and outside the Gallery, and to amplify the local flavour, a pop-up market will sell the finest artisan wares by Gold Coast makers, accompanied with pockets of local food and drink. The full program for the opening weekend will be announced later this month.

The Gallery’s inaugural program includes world premiere international exhibitions, Australian exclusives, and new commissions. HOTA Gallery launches with the exhibition Solid Gold: Artists from Paradise, featuring new commissions by 19 established and emerging Australian artists including Hiromi Tango, Michael Candy, Samuel Leighton-Dore and Libby Harward.

Other major exhibitions include Lyrical Landscapes: The Art of William Robinson (31July 2021) and a world premiere exhibition exclusive to the Gold Coast and Australia, Contemporary Masters from New York: Art from the Mugrabi Collection (13 November 2021), drawn entirely from the famed art collector’s private collection.


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HOTA’s large-scale outdoor art installations by acclaimed artists, Queensland Waanyi artist Judy Watson and Sri-Lankan born, Sydney based artist Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran.