Tag Archives: Newtown

Mark Hood Exhibition opens Thursday June 11

a short history of roomies artspace


ROOMIES ARTSPACE started as a series of art workshops in Inner West boarding houses conducted in 1996 and 1997 by KANCAM (later Inner West Cultural Services). In 1999, this developed into fortnightly workshops at the Tom Foster Community Centre in Newtown under the aegis of Newtown Neighbourhood Centre’s Boarding House Project.

This award winning art group has had several sell out exhibitions since 1999 and it has long been a dream of the artists and art workers (many of whom are volunteers) to have a space of their own. ROOMIES are people with mental illnesses or disabilities who live in the community in a boarding house. ROOMIES have very little money, they share rooms and often clothing and personal possessions. They have very little privacy and no space to themselves.


With the assistance of Addison Rd Gallery and Newtown Neighbourhood Centre, ROOMIES ARTSPACE was founded at the Addison Rd Community Centre in an old army hut. ROOMIES ARTSPACE was officially opened in October 2005 by Archibald prize winning artist Cherry Hood, with a sellout exhibition and a highly enjoyable opening party.

Roomies Art Exhibition for Anti Poverty Week

Poverty is about more than money. There is poverty of opportunity and of resources. Roomies artists are poor in life but rich in art. “Roomies” is an art group for boarding house residents in inner Sydney.

Roomies Artspace is unfunded and reliant on dedicated volunteers and donations, particularly from local restaurants, The Codfather, Oscillate Wildly and Perama through the Street Smart Project. Roomies couldn’t continue without the ongoing support of Newtown Neighbourhood Centre, Marrickville Sketch Club, the Addison Rd Gallery and Marrickville Council who funded our 08 exhibition. The Roomies Art Exhibition for Anti Poverty Week, is from 10 to 4pm Friday October 17th to Sunday October 19th at Addison Rd Gallery, 142 Addison Rd, Marrickville. Opened by our special guests Sydney Street Choir.

“solar” by Janet Barker “it’s a house i dreamt of living in”
as featured in The Glebe October 16th

In Australia, boarding houses are the main accommodation for people with a mental illness or disability.If you live in a boarding house you are well below the poverty line. You have no money for luxuries like pencils and paper, let alone good quality art materials. You share rooms and possessions. There are no locks on your doors, you have no privacy or peace and quiet.

Roomies provides an artspace, art classes, art materials and mentoring for boarding house residents, like the more established Arts Project Australia in Melbourne. Since the start of the project 10 years ago, several artists, like Mark Hood and Clarrice Collien, have developed sufficiently to be offered solo exhibitions.

Mark Hood says, “I now identify as an artist, not a person with a mental illness.”


“angel in the garden” by Mark Hood

Leon Suchecki says, “I like art, it has a mystery. People often ask me about my art.”

The term Outsider Art was coined by art critic Roger Cardinal in 1972 as an English synonym for Art Brut (meaning “raw art” or “rough art”), a label created by French artist Jean Dubuffet to describe art created outside the boundaries of official culture; Dubuffet focused particularly on art by insane asylum inmates. (from Wikipedia)

Outsider art generally refers to creative works by people with no formal training. Their art is based on their inner experience, with no reference to mainstream art practice. (see essay ‘Outsider Art and the outsiderish’ by Professor Colin Rhodes)

There are obvious connections between poverty and being positioned outside of society. If you have no access to training, education, materials, then you are unlikely to be recognised as an artist, no matter how strong your inner vision and how appealing or stimulating your expression of it is.

If art is communication, as concluded in Wikipedia, then Roomies is the voice of the poorest artists speaking as loudly as they can, with vigour and joy. Are you listening?


“circus animals” by Clarrice Collien

“walk in the park” by Clarrice Collien

2042: Art on the Street – Newtown


I love that when the kids walk to school they have to go past the fierce car eating ants at King St Auto. No wonder our school has an Ant-Bullying Policy (sic).


Carcutter is a sculpture by Dillon McEwan and is in the forecourt of the always funky Newtown Auto as part of 2042: Art on the Street.

Andragy Blogger Design Updated – Thanks to….

Thanks to the blog community! I have been able to customise blogger enough to satisfy my aesthetic requirements for a while. I’m sticking with blogger right now because I love the new blogger features, like scheduled posts and export blog. If I’d had that one earlier I might still have my blog from Europe!

I’ve tried a few of the others and I love the feel of wordpress and the additional pages but it just isn’t as convenient as blogger is right now. I barely have enough time to post let alone to spend weeks handcrafting my CSS!

For the nav bar hack. Muchas Gracias! Avatar at Bloggeratto and also iSuman.
For the header art: Thanks to Smashing Magazine and Pascal Greuter at Sublog
For the label cloud: Arigato Amanda Fanzani from Blogger Buster for Blogumulus and Roy Tanck for the original Cumulus
For stuff I haven’t done yet but probably will soon like tabs: Props to Woork and Antonio Lupetti
For Mu GuiYing: Kudos to Oriental Outpost and the artist ? Ou-Yang Guo-De.? Li Ying-Lai ?
I regret not purchasing this painting when it was for sale. Please can you recreate Mu GuiYing as she is here?

Ant Bullying at Newtown Public School

Newtown Public School’s Ant Bullying Perspective is described as an important part of School Policy in a school which strives to be a supportive environment for supporting the environment.

We all know that ants think they rule the world. Well, we’re not going to take it any more! Those deadly little fascist dictators will not prevail. Our lands have been besieged. Our liberty and picnics stolen. Our valiantly virulently green p&c is leading the charge with plans to astroturf our entire grass area. Or possibly even concrete it in true Fedterranea style!

So what do we teach our children, where and why? Are literacy and numeracy vastly overrated?
Primary schools have approx 1 hour a week for half a year for ‘science’! This is usually integrated with HSIE – Human Society and Its Environment aka history, geography and social studies. That’s why I started the science club after school (attended by more than 50% of students!).

Teachers have little specialist science training and access to no interesting resources or materials. No labs. No chemicals. No … you name it. Generally, I think the state of education in NSW is pretty good. Certainly it is in Newtown, where we have a demographic which enables parent support for many extra initiatives, comparatively little movement in teacher and student population and a range of incomes and backgrounds.

Still, are parents the difference? And what we are teaching our children? A couple of weeks ago, Tim Hawkes, the head of The King’s School, wrote a frank and thought-provoking opinion piece for The Sydney Morning Herald about how our education system is failing to provide students with information they might actually use in their adult lives.

And from T. H. White;

‘Wart found that he had tumbled off the drawbridge, landing with a smack on his side in the water. He found that the moat and the bridge had grown hundreds of times bigger. He knew that he was turning into a fish.
“Oh, Merlyn,” cried the Wart. “Please come too.”
“Just for this once,” said the large and solemn tench beside his ear, “I will come. But in future, you will have to go by yourself. Education is experience, and the essence of experience is self-reliance.”

Police raid Ferncourt Fiasco!

The mighty of Marrickville trembled at the shock police presence at the biannual Ferncourt Fiesta. While concerned parents flitted from bush to bush around the bowling green, hedonistic dancing continued unabated inside.

Whether the police were unwilling to overturn the Greens (at great cost to the public purse) so soon after an election, or simply overwhelmed by the spirited dancing on display, we can not be certain. A young policewoman was heard muttering “HRT” into her radio.

The Concordia Club were bemused at this turn of events. Mein host, prominently bandaged, asked, “But aren’t the children proud of these parents?” He asked if Ferncourt is “some kind of special school? To have such parents!”. We were able to assure him that Ferncourt is indeed special.

The staff of the Concordia greatly enjoyed the evening, dancing merrily to and fro in traditional dirndls carrying plates of schnitzel and sausage. At times they themselves were mistaken for the entertainment and indeed they did join in to several performances. But this is only to be expected at a club with such impeccably maintained grottoes.

Celebrity choir. Top comperes. Sublime crooning. Sex on legs dancers. But the incomparable act of the evening was the gestalt performance, reminiscent of the Warhol era and preempting punk, when Colin the Whale stormed the stage.

No surprise that beneath the bejewelled and bedazzled costume of Colin the Whale, channelling Marc Bolan in the glory days of T-Rex, was glam man about radio, Tom Morton.

Pithy unspoken comments about gender roles and the fate of women in the rhetoric of the left abounded as Colin the whale changed to Colleen while being relentlessly pursued by National Parks and Wildlife. The green credentials of NPWS fell apart in Andra Keay’s Dionysian charade of “Green Pieces”.

The piece de resistance was the rampart storming Eurydice Aroney, who as a Greek Goddess enhanced with Japanese technology, prevailed where the Greens failed. Whether she humanely rescued Colin the Whale from a life of sentimental subjectivity or impaled him upon the female perspective is left to the audience to decide.

But the last words were all Tom Morton’s, “Itadakimasu!”

Meaning “Thank you for the food I am about to eat!” this epitomised the subtlety and sheer halucinogenic beauty of this all too brief performance piece.

The Fiasco audience roared their approval and voted “Colin/Colleen the Whale” the Fiasco winners! Back stage there were wild celebrations as Michael, Geoff, Sharon and KerrieJean realised that they had launched a phenomenon.

Not content with recently launching her own blog, Radio National’s KerrieJean was swift to see the potential of the evening. “I’d like to launch a little song that Big Swifty and I have been working on”, she announced, as the strains of “Geez I feel like a root” filled the dance floor.

On the way home, the headlights swang like pearls.