Arts & culture,

Inaugural gallery exhibit shines light on artists from paradise

May 14, 2021

“You don’t get to call yourself Home of the Arts without having a deep commitment to local artists,” says HOTA CEO, Criena Gehrke.

SOLID GOLD: Artists from Paradise – is the inaugural exhibition now showing at the new HOTA Gallery.

The stunning showcase is made up of 19 artist commissions, and features a series of new major indoor and outdoor works from emerging and established Australian artists, each with a personal connection to the Gold Coast region.

“The Gold Coast has a rich history of innovation and creativity, so it’s absolutely fitting that we’re putting our local talent front and centre in the first ever exhibition in the new Gallery,” says Gehrke.

“Exclusively developed by HOTA, Solid Gold: Artists from paradise reflects a diverse and modern city and positions local artists in a national conversation.”

Presented throughout the Gallery and the surrounding HOTA parklands, SOLID GOLD (8 May – 4 July 2021) includes large-scale sculpture, weaving, textiles, ceramics, painting, photography, immersive video and installation.


SOLID GOLD: Artists from Paradise


Commissioned artworks presented in SOLID GOLD: Artists from Paradise include:

  • Torres Strait Islander artist Lisa Sorbie Martin’s suspended sculpture installed in the new Gallery’s 11-metre-high foyer. Created with 120 fibre-optic strands, the luminous work will remain in the gallery for the duration of its opening year.
  • Melbourne-based artist Jason Haggerty has relayed real time wave data from the region’s coastline to create a hypnotic digital installation spanning 14 metres.
  • Ali Bezer’s practice explores the experience of sound processed as image and has created an 8-metre aluminium and bitumen sculpture, coated in blue and silver, to represent the repetitive sound of the ocean at shore break.
  • Japanese-Australian artist Hiromi Tango is presenting a new immersive installation with the colours of the rainbow looping out over the visitor.
  • In the parkland surrounding HOTA Gallery, Gold Coast artist Erica Gray has presented a series of soft sculptural forms using textiles to represent corals and other elements of the coastline.
  • Samuel Leighton-Dore, playing with the definition of what a ‘cloud’ is defined as in a digital era, has created an interactive cloud installation, merging ceramics with augmented reality.
  • Gold Coast based ceramicist Claudia De Salvo presents a performative sculptural work featuring 100 clay vessels on a large plinth that are filled with water.
  • Quandamooka artist Libby Harward explores water systems and sovereignty in a new film work, positioning herself among pipes and hoses against a background of mangrove and tea tree swamp muds from Gold Coast wetlands.
  • New media artist Michael Candy, internationally renowned for his installations exploring social experiments and ecological interventions in public space, suspends a visual recreation of the sun inside the gallery.
  • Women’s Collective Whatu Manawa, whose works preserve traditional Maori practices within contemporary art, creates a Pātaka (storage house) with woven Tukutuku panels.
  • Canberra-based artist Elliot Bastianon, currently featured in the NGV Triennial, presents abstract works incorporating his signature style of immersing materials in copper sulphate to create a crust of blue crystals.
  • Probing the intersection of politics and ecology Nicola Moss’ collaged works highlight the importance of green spaces amid congested urban environments. Based in the Gold Coast Hinterland surrounded by the natural world, Moss has, for the first time, painted large-scale collages of the valley she lives in.
  • CJ Anderson, extends his practice in object and furniture designs, to create distressed sculptures questioning the need for perfection in design.
  • Interdisciplinary artist Mimi Dennett, known for immersive site-specific installations and collaborative performances, presents a living sculpture of edible, exotic and Indigenous plants that will be embedded into the landscape.
  • JIL Studio incorporates endemic and rare plants nestled within a sculpture of curves and voids to reflect irrevocable change on local topography.
  • Mary Elizabeth Barron, drawing on her practice ofcombining traditional craft techniques with an innovative use of recycled materials, has created a large-scale bobbin lace charting the Nerang River from the hinterland to the ocean, forming a contemporary portrait of the city.
  • Contemporary figurative painter Abbey McCulloch presents vibrant paintings merging the human figure with dramatic landscapes, matched with ceramic sculptures distorted into beautiful, bright and strange shapes, presenting a vision of the individual in a wild and rocky world.
  • Aaron Chapman, known for his work across a range of mediums including public art, photography and sculpture, presents a series of large-format photographs documenting the iconic yellow-hooded lifeguard towers dotted along the length of the Gold Coast.
  • Kirsty Bruce, celebrated for her richly detailed and multi-layered artworks, presents a series of artworks inspired by images in magazines which evoke a sense of vulnerability, melancholy, dramatic tension or introspection.


HOTA Gallery and Visual Arts Director Tracy Cooper-Lavery, reflected on the inaugural exhibition.

“Solid Gold features commissions by some of the most exciting visual artists working in Australia today, each with strong personal ties to the Gold Coast. The exhibition showcases the thriving creative wealth of the region and provides important support to local and Australian practising artists. You can forget everything you think you knew about the Gold Coast.  We are home to incredible artists, our City Collection is more than you ever imagined, and our major exhibitions are ambitious and unbound by tradition.”

The new $60.5 million HOTA Gallery is the largest public gallery outside a capital city in Australia, spanning six levels and presenting a dynamic program of world premiere international exhibitions, Australian exclusives and new commissions.

Designed by award-winning Melbourne-based architects ARM, the gallery includes over 2000m2 of AAA rated, international standard exhibition space and a dedicated Children’s Gallery, and is home to the $32 million City collection, consisting of more than 4,400 artworks, including one of the largest collections of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art in regional Australia.


EXHIBITION DATES | SOLID GOLD: Artists from Paradise 

8 May – 4 July 2021

Sat-Thu 10am – 5pm / Fri 10am – 8pm 

HOTA Gallery, 135 Bundall Rd, Surfers Paradise 

Free – Timed ticketing (bookings open in early 2021)


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