Friday, 9 February 2018



79 Main Street BEEAC 

'Creating sense of place within a personal narrative'

Irene's  interest in caring for the land and her experimentation with natural colours,
textures and paper tablecloths inspired the beautifully haunting 'Cool Burn'. 

You are invited to listen to Irene speak about inspiration and process 

Saturday 17 February @ 2 pm


79 Main Street BEEAC 

Light refreshments provided

RSVP preferred

All welcome


Thursday, 1 February 2018




'Cool Burn'

Irene Pagram

Cool Burn (detail) 2018

When Irene Pagram met her artist hero John Wolseley, at the arc Yinnar Drawing Award in 2016 he asked if she had a work in the show and when Pagram pointed it out and tentatively proffered her copy of the catalogue of his NGV survey show, Landmarks 111, in the hope he might autograph it, Wolseley wrote: ‘For Irene, distinguished artist’.

He confided to her – ‘You distinguished yourself by caring. By caring enough to make art, to make art about the landscape, and the environment, and about the state of things, and to put your art out into the world, that others may think and perhaps care about these things.’


Cool Burn, (2018), was inspired by visits to the extraordinarily beautiful remnant grassland meadows of Cobra Killuc Reserve in south west Victoria (see Flora Victoria’s facebook page –  ).
Testament to land management techniques practised over thousands of generations, the area is park-like with stands of trees and swathes of grasses starred with myriad jewel-coloured wildflowers in late Spring. In thinking about the writings of Bruce Pascoe and Bill Gammage, together with such evidence of the beauty of fire-managed landscape, it seemed evident to Pagram that a mosaic of fuel-reduction cool burns are urgently required to address 200 years of land management neglect. This WINDOWSPACE work is a testament to that need.

The elements of Cool Burn depict the clean forest floor in winter where orchids will soon appear, their germination aided by components of smoke. Tree trunks show blackened evidence of a cool burn at their base, each with a hint of an understory of wildflowers, small shrubs and vines that will reappear along with the soft grasses of spring. Clean upper trunks reach skyward.

Evoking the cool burn flames

In a nod to a past life, the tree trunks have been eco-printed onto disposable paper tablecloth, turning this ephemeral product back into an artwork with something of the longevity our forests deserve. 

Forming the first tree trunks for Cool Burn

Pagram works with natural dyes on silk, wool and paper, often to make a ground for drawing, or a base for hand stitching. Having discovered India Flint’s publication Eco Colour (2008), Pagram found there was a better way to do the natural dyeing she had first learnt in the 1970s. Rather than using toxic metal powder mordants and salt fixatives of the past, Flint has pioneered a bundling method of botanical eco-printing using just water and the dye-pot as mordant. The results give substantive colours reminiscent of the landscape where the leaves are gathered. Utilising wind-falls, and a garden gathering of leaf litter are paramount. The plant material can then be returned to the earth as compost or mulch. Nothing harmful is discarded into the environment. This sustainable and eco-friendly natural dyeing method harmonises perfectly with Pagram’s life-style in the Otways hinterland. She is an eco-colour convert.

Pagram exhibits locally and further afield: hand-stitched art cloths, graphite drawings, framed textiles, eco-printed lengths of pure silk, artist’s books and mixed media artwork.

It’s all over Red Box, Baby Blue

A bright winter’s night (detail)

Irene Pagram’s exhibition month at WINDOWSPACE- BEEAC will include a discussion of eco-printing methods.

Free floor talk on Saturday 17 February at 2pm.

All welcome.

Imminent local events:

As part of the 17-18 March 2018 Colac-Otway Arts Trail  Irene Pagram will have a weekend pop-up studio at Echidna House, Kawarren Reserve, 2 Kawarren East Road Kawarren VIC 3249

Pagram teaches handmade recycled papermaking to small groups. The next workshop is at Gellibrand Community House 10 February 2018

Wednesday, 31 January 2018





17 MAR - 2 APRIL 2018

conference 2018

CREATING UTOPIA CONFERENCE Proudly Sponsored By Deakin University 22-25th March 2018

REGISTER HERE for the conference

Please note you must register separately for the Speakers' Lunch and there are limited numbers.
Creating Utopia: Imagining and Making Futures
Art, Architecture and Sustainability
Lorne Hotel – The View Room
176 Great Ocean Rd,
Lorne, Victoria, Australia

Exploring the intersection between, art, culture and the natural environment, the conference is being presented in the coastal town of Lorne, on the Great Ocean Road, where the Otway Ranges meets the wild Bass Straight - the ideal setting to explore these themes.
This Conference is part of the Lorne Sculpture Biennale 2018 program devoted to the curatorial theme ‘Landfall,’ expressing pertinent global issues of nature and endangerment. Thirty seven artists creating forty projects have been asked to interpret the intersection of nature, humanity and art in creating sculptural work that will be featured on the 4 km trail.
The inaugural conference for the Lorne Sculpture Biennale will be an exploratory journey, bringing together a group of people investigating through research and practice the themes of ‘Landfall’ - art and environment, sustainability and impact on human and earth futures. Papers will reflect on issues of environmental decline and degradation, and the wider processes of social and environmental transformation and the regeneration of nature. Invited presenters come from a wide range of places, spaces and experiences and will convene paper sessions exploring the intersection of the physical and symbolic, the spiritual and the ephemeral, the material and immaterial.

Saturday, 16 December 2017



It's been another great year of window installations. 

Thank you to all concerned.

This is the conclusion of the third year of the WINDOWSPACE presence on Main Street Beeac.

Notable and particularly successful this year were three workshop/talks. In April local artists joined with Bronwyn Razem to create 'bush toys' for a window entitled Menagerie. 
A pretty hilarious time was had by all, and together the animals made a wry and quirky window, from bird to beast each extraordinarily expressive. Huge thanks to Bron for her generosity and allowing others to share her 'WINDOWSPACE'. Razem's work is currently on show at the Warrnambool Gallery.

In July, in conjunction with the local annual Xpollination Textile event at COPAC and RRRTAG, and her own WINDOWSPACE installation, Jane Bear offered a much-appreciated felting workshop. Alchemy! Participants turned fleece into bowls. One young girl took her felt bowl to school for 'show and tell' for a whole week, she was so enamoured of the experience and outcome. Thank you so much Jane for your generous instruction! and congratulations on your winning the Scissor Award at Xpoll. Jane Bear has also had work on show at the Warrnambool Gallery recently.

In November Ramak Bamzar travelled across Victoria to introduce her installation of three images from a series entitled Iranian Weddings (2005 - 2008). Everyone was curious - the images suggested that the 'Iranian Wedding' was definitely not your 'average wedding'. Ramak demystified the phenomenon, and offered some insight into her personal photographic approach. She later talked one to one with many of the significant group of people who had come to see and hear - some interesting cultural connections were made. Thank you Ramak!

Tim Lucas's poetic image Reclaimed (2015), exhibited in WINDOWSPACE this year - a long scroll-like photograph of a fallen windmill corroding in salty Lake Beeac, has found a permanent home with the Warrion Community Hall - a very happy outcome for such an iconic local image. Thank you Tim for your generosity.

Perhaps the most effusively locally embraced installation of the year was the first, Les Futo's, Gyre Consequences, (2017), which strangely enough had only one attendee at his artist talk, despite significant spruiking. (Thank you Suz F!) Clearly Futo's intent and media hit a chord - if you are wondering about the message look up 'gyre'. All the media came from under West Gate Bridge.

In terms of community engagement it was great to work with Karen Cherry and Peter Day from Beeac Primary School to showcase the school's 'brolga project'. This installation gave the local children a chance to appreciate that being an artist is not impossible - you just need guts! As various children stood in the window they must have felt that. If WINDOWSPACE only achieves that realisation then it's done its job.


In 2018 the co-ordinator role is being passed to three local artists - Sandra Batten, Viv Wheeler and Irene Pagram. Their collective intelligence and wider reach will undoubtedly  contribute to a sound and stimulating new phase of WINDOWSPACE-BEEAC. 

Next year should be very exciting: more activities allied with Birregurra Small Towns Transformation, the Lorne Biennale and the Xpollination Annual - bringing the Beeac locality into the loop with these other small towns. There is something very big on the cards in Cororooke!


Best wishes for an inspired 2018.


Images above:
Kathleen Harkin - Bushtoy
Irene Pagram - Bushtoy
Sue Tate - Bushtoy
Bronwyn Razem at Warrnambool Gallery

Monday, 13 November 2017



will talk about the Iranian wedding as it relates to her photographic practice

You are welcome

Saturday 25 NOVEMBER @ 2 pm

79 Main Street BEEAC 

Enjoy a glass of wine and speak with Ramak



EMIL TOONEN et al now at

Jul 3, 2017 - notfair, the first satellite art fair in Australia returns in November 2017 in a sprawling industrial factory complex in Windsor. Founded as an alternative to the Melbourne Art Fair in 2010 with an emphasis on artists who are ...

Tuesday, 31 October 2017



‘Extreme Theatre’

Ramak Bamzar

Employing the mise-en-scene of early film, and the infinite digital lexicon of CGI (computer generated imagery) to hold its own, photography has very quickly become extremely complex, possibly even ‘untrustworthy’. Michael Fried, (Why Photography Matters as Art as Never Before, [2008]) remarks on the crucial impulse of scale in still photography, one that has it escape ‘albums’ and vie with ‘art’ on walls. Ramak Bamzar’s Iranian Wedding series has the viewer wonder how to decipher the difference between the pure and the manipulated image, the true and the fake, the document and the construct, especially when leaping cultural borders.

Between 2005 and 2008, Iranian-Australian artist and photographer, Bamzar, worked in Iran as a wedding photographer. Her commission was to capture, rather than construct, the unique stage of the ceremonial symmetry, which ties the Iranian couple in marriage. Ideally the Iranian wedding is operatic in style and scale, as far as can be afforded. It is after all nothing short of a momentous contract to be celebrated. As Bamzar puts it: The women in this series of photos may not look pretty with overdone make up and dresses but they think they are beautiful. It is tradition and the impression of beauty that is captured within this series and a motivating reason for exploring the work over a period of time.’

Symbolism is significant in this world and it is interesting to grasp some of it: Iranians love their sweets, flowers, jewellery, glitter and show. A wedding allows extreme indulgence of these passions, yet not every family can afford the lavish manner of the ideal engagement and marriage, however all strive to emulate the glorious ‘ceremony for the queenly bride’.

The traditional Iranian wedding is elaborate, it must be conspicuous, after all it is an announcement to the world of momentous contractual change and family pride, evidenced by the etymology of the Iranian word for marriage, aghd, meaning contract.  Softening the pragmatism are the gorgeous traditional accompaniments to the ceremony, which read like a prop list for grand theatre, and have potent symbolism dating from Zoroastrian times:

aayeneh-ye bakht – a mirror, of fate;
two candelabra, shamdoon, shedding fire and light – one each for bride and groom;
sofreh-ye aghd – an  heirloom cloth for the wedding table, of luxurious fibre and quality;
nun-e Sanga – a special bread adorned with the words Mobarak-Bad  (Congratulations) in nigella seeds, cinnamon or saffron –  prosperity and goodwill;
other delicious breads, feta and fresh herbs to share symbolize the hope that the couple will always have such sustenance;
a basket of decorated eggs, tokhmeh morg, symbolizes fertility;
a basket of nuts, gerdoo, (almond, walnut, hazelnut), with hard shells symbolizes strength to protect and enclose the marriage;
a basket of pomegranates, anar, and/or apples, encourages a joyous future – pomegranates are heavenly fruits, apples represent divine creation;
rosewater from Persian roses – gol-e Mohammadi – lends a romantic fragrance;
a bowl of crystallized sugar – kaas-e nabaat/shaakh-e nabaat – symbolizes the anticipated sweetness of the couple's life ahead;
a manghal (brazier) of burning coals fed with espand (incense of wild rue) keeps the evil eye at bay;
a bowl of gold coins, sekkeh, encourages wealth and prosperity;
a shawl, parcheh, of fine fabric envelops the couple in their bond of happiness, and is held aloft by women happily married;
two large sugar cones – kallah ghand – ground together above the parcheh shower the couple in sweetness;
a cup of honey, so the bride and groom might feed the other a little after the ceremony – to further sweeten their lives together;
a needle and seven strands of coloured thread, (to sew up the mother-in-law's lips), prevent the speaking of unpleasant words about the bride and are symbolically applied to the parcheh;
a copy of a chosen holy book (the Avesta, the ancient Zoroastrian holy book was often the book of choice before Islam);
a prayer carpet – sajjaadeh;
prayer beads – tasbih, encourage the couple to pray and give thanks in times of hardship and of happiness;
a glorious display of sweets and pastries including: noghl, baaghlavaa, tout, nun-berenji, nun-nokhodchi, nun-bahdoomi, honey roasted almonds sohaan a'sali;
sini-ye-atel-o-batel, a tray of seven herbs and spices – seven elements in seven colours:
poppy seeds – khash-khaash - to break spells and witchcraft
wild rice – berenj
angelica – sabzi khoshk
salt – namak – to blind the veil eye
Nigella seeds – raziyaneh
black tea –  chai
frankincense – kondor – to burn evil spirits;
Fresh fruit is an essential at any Persian gathering, as are flowers, gol. 

And then there are the people – the husband on the respectful right side of the bride. Bamzar found the stories beneath the symbol-laden environments fascinating. 'People interest me. Their stories, personalities and where they come from. There is great mystery to discovering people and understanding their story. It’s an opportunity to tell an expressive narrative through the lens of a camera.
Photojournalism was my first love, but as l explored who l was, storytelling and exploring narratives became a major part of the work l undertake now. It's a passion of mine to become the storyteller within the work l do.'

This series was first shown in Sydney at the 2015 Head-On exhibition and drew the attention of Sydney Morning Herald critic John McDonald:
'One of the most talked-about Town Hall shows was Ramak Bamzar’s Iranian Wedding – a dazzling selection of images produced while working as a wedding photographer in Iran in 2005. Each picture is formally posed but utterly surreal in the way the brides (and mothers-in-law) disport themselves with extravagant make-up, or stand like silent ghosts draped head-to-toe in fabric … this is a graphic lesson in cultural differences, as we confront unfamiliar ideas of beauty and good taste.' 

WINDOWSPACE-BEEAC is fortunate to be able to share the cultural feast of 
Ramak Bamzar’s Iranian Wedding.

Find out more 
Ramak will speak to the work and the Iranian marriage tradition on Saturday 25 November 2017, at 2 pm at 79 Main Street, Beeac.

Join us for the revelations over a glass of wine.