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Terri Lew

Owner and Curator at 19Karen Contemporary Art.

Owner of 19Karen Contemporary Art in Mermaid Beach, Terri Lew is somewhat of a local cultural icon unto herself.

Since 2008 she has built and nourished the Coast’s art scene and introduced us to countless incredible artists, both emerging and established, and their works.

Ahead of the May Exhibition openings this week, we spoke to Terri about her passion for contemporary art and why we should invest in only those pieces that makes us happy.

What can Gold Coasters expect from the May exhibitions at 19Karen?

Four very different shows by four different artists with a common thread and similar concern for our environment and the world we live in.

Japanese born, local artist, Go Suga, is using his skills as a graphic designer to illustrate and create paintings in bright happy colors. The title of his show is ‘Time Traveler’. Go is concerned about the environment and wants to know what caused the destruction of planet earth. He travels back in time to examine the cause and hope to prevent it from happening again. Each painting is a scene that leads to another and each has a story line.

Sacha Beverley is also a local artist whose abstract work tells a personal story. A story that explores her inner desires, hopes and dreams. The color palette used in this new body of work is subtle yet strong in shapes, layers of paint and symbolic imagery with hidden words absent from viewing.

Japanese artist (living and working in Japan) Ryuzo Kojima, whose message is also strongly associated with nature, uses recyclable materials to create his beautiful iconic figures. Ryuzo believes that nature keeps us alive and the most important matter in human living is conscious understanding of our precious lives, love for all!

Norwegian artist, Peter-John de Villiers, tells a similar story in his black and white paintings on canvas. PJ humanising pets because of their irresistible personalities and unconditional love. PJ believe that animals are here to teach us something about ourselves. He is willing to suspend reality for a moment just to imagine life through the eyes of his pets.

There are a few local artists on show, what do you personally love about the Coast’s artistic scene?

I love the fact that both artists really appreciate the city they live in. You can see it in their work. Their work is happy and uncomplicated despite the story they are trying to tell us. It has something to do with our lifestyle on the Gold Coast. Our beautiful weather makes us happy and we have no reason to be unhappy. We live in the best part of the country (even the world) we just need to appreciate it more. These two artists remind us of that.

How do you decide who to showcase?

I usually use my taste in art and artists when I curate a show. I cannot show art that I personally don’t like. For me it’s not about just selling the art although that is an important part of a commercial gallery and it is what drives the artists to continue their practice.

How have you seen the local art scene grow since you opened 19Karen?

When I opened the gallery two new galleries emerged and one old gallery closed. Since then many young entrepreneurs took the plunge and opened their own creative businesses. I really believe that I started this movement on the Gold Coast, starting with the warehouse style art space and showcasing emerging art other galleries wouldn’t take a chance on.

What did you hope to create when you opened the gallery in 2008?

A movement in contemporary cutting edge art, art that triggers an emotional reaction when you see it for the first time. Art which doesn’t need any explanation and art that no other gallery in Australia would dare to show.

How did your journey into art and gallery life come about?

I sold my successful publishing business after 20 years of demanding work and wasn’t quite ready to retire. I was an art collector and was married to an artist for 20 years. This was something I wanted to do before I retired and when the opportunity presented itself, I took it.

What do you hope is the future of art and culture on the Gold Coast?

More education, understanding, appreciation and love for the arts. I’d like to see the Gold Coast community invest in art, not just for the sake of investment but because it enhances their life and makes them happy. For me collecting art and being surrounded by art, at home and in the gallery, makes me very happy. It’s like the air I breathe.

Anything else we should know about 19Karen?

The work in our gallery is totally different to any art you will see in any commercial gallery in Australia. With over 100 artists (and more to come), we have the biggest variety of art of any successful commercial gallery in Australia. We have urban art, street art, low brow, figurative, abstract, portraits, surrealism, graphics, whimsical, quirky, expressionism, pop surrealism, pop art and everything in between. There is also ceramic and porcelain art, a few sculptures and unique jewelry from Spain.

Your favourite piece of life advice?

Do what you love and love what you and it won’t be considered as work. Take risks in life and make it work!

You’re not a Gold Coast local if you haven’t… lived here at least four seasons.


Beach…Mermaid Beach

Restaurant…Etsu, The Glenelg Pub, Social Dining in Broadbeach

Coffee shop…Bookface at Pacific Fair. They make the best coffee!!!!

LOCATION: 19 Karen Ave, Mermaid Beach.

An art lovers guide to the Gold Coast

Wayne Sorensen Gallery (image supplied)

The Gold Coast’s local art scene has blossomed exponentially in the last few years. Galleries, installations and murals have popped up all over the Coast and local artists are making themselves known both here and on the national scene.

If you’re looking for a unique way to spend a day on the Gold Coast, we’ve got just the answer. Here’s a list of local galleries to help you get your art fix.

Wayne Sorrenson Gallery
World-renowned landscape photographer Wayne Sorrenson opened his very own gallery in Miami in 2020 so we, the lucky Gold Coasters get to peruse his breathtaking art anytime we like. Within the gallery, there’s a huge selection of framed artwork to purchase, as well as a range of gift ideas including acrylic blocks, greeting cards and calendars to name a few. It’s all absolutely magical and a lovely stand-in for the international travel we aren’t allowed to do right now.
Where: 40 Lemana Lane, Miami

Anthea Polson Art
Anthea Polson Art specialises in contemporary emerging Australian art and sculpture, including investment works. A regular exhibition programme showcases the work of emerging and established contemporary artists.
Where: 29 Tedder Avenue, Main Beach

Maverick Hair & Art Space
Maverick is a small gallery hosting community art exhibitions and events throughout the year. Headed up by artist Byron Coathup and partner Hayley, the space (also boasting a hair studio) caters for art and design lovers and offers beautiful gifts for purchase from both near and far. Don’t be afraid to head up the stairs and check out the gallery.
Where: First Floor, 1/17 Griffith Street, Coolangatta

The HIVE (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)

The Hive Burleigh Heads
The newest of the bunch, The HIVE was opened very recently by Jo Ellings, a Gold Coast artist who has been creating stunning works for over 30 years and is now sharing that talent with the likes of us. Within the gallery you’ll find an array of stunning works to take home with you or, if you’d like to stay awhile why not grab a ticket to one of their workshops and become an artist yourself. There’s also a regular meetup and music night if you want to meet some like-minded folks.
Where: 5/3 Park Avenue, Burleigh Heads

Level Up studio + gallery
The space is designed to provide access to art experiences for young people and adults within the local community and beyond, through public programs hosting a range of creative activations, such as art workshops, artist talks, school holiday workshops, networking events and an exciting monthly exhibitions program. Emerging artists can apply for space and we can all pop in there to check out the magic. So good.
Where: 72-82 Marine Parade, Coolangatta

The Walls Art Space Miami
The Walls is an interactive space that began in 2012 aiming to serve as a hub of creative practice, critical dialogue and innovative thinking around contemporary art. Their annual program focus is to curate monthly exhibitions in conjunction with their successful local artist in residence program.
Where: 4/18 Mountain View Avenue, Miami

AW Gallery (image supplied)

AW Space
Created by the good people at ArtWork Agency, AW Space is a pretty art gallery slash workshop slash event space showcasing the work of a team of folks whose names you’ve no doubt heard uttered once or twice. They are Claudio Kirac and his equally impressive partners in crime Paul Bow and Laura Strange. All talented within their own rights, the team have combined their forces to create a stunning space filled with beautiful works. Do yourself a favour and get in there.
Where: 2/53-55 Cronulla Avenue, Mermaid Beach

Café dbar
Stop in for a delicious brunch overlooking the ocean and take in the collection of local art and handmade goodies next door while you’re there! The space combines works by local artists with a new store filled with locally made homewares, clothing and creative pieces.
Where: 275 Boundary Street, Coolangatta

19Karen Contemporary Artspace
A stunning space filled with bold new art (and all for purchase!) by emerging, mid-career and established Australian and International artists. Exhibitions curated by Terri Lew rotate regularly, ranging in style and genre from pop culture, surrealism, realism, street art, abstraction and to the still undefined.
Where: 19 Karen Avenue, Mermaid Beach

HOTA Gallery (image supplied)

The Gold Coast’s premier cultural precinct, HOTA (Home of The Arts) has been showcasing visual and performing arts since 1986. With an array of exhibitions, cinemas and dining/bar facilities, there’s something for everyone throughout the entire year. In 2021, we saw the precinct increase in size with an incredible new six-level Gallery that attracts with world-class exhibitions (including Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and more) plus a showcase of incredible local artists.
Where: 135 Bundall Road, Surfers Paradise

Dust Temple
A refurbished warehouse (a piece of art itself) in the heart of Currumbin Waters, Dust Temple and its creative space Hinge Gallery hosts local, national and international artists, musicians and poets. There’s also a fantastic café / coffee shop, so stay awhile and soak up the creative scene.
Where: 54 Currumbin Creek Road, Currumbin Waters

Dust Temple (image supplied)

Cruise the cultural heart of the Gold Coast

The Gold Coast is known for many things, one of which is definitely our beautiful waterways. Slightly lesser known perhaps is our rich Aboriginal history, wildlife conservation efforts and the passionate locals sharing the stories.

That’s about to change though thanks to Kayak the Gold Coast’s new ‘Heart of the Gold Coast’ half-day tour package.

Incorporating a unique spin on their original tours, ‘Heart of the Gold Coast’ takes guests on a cultural experience unlike anything the Coast has seen before.

The package begins at the Burleigh Jellurgal Cultural Centre where guests watch a short film on the Gold Coast’s Aboriginal history including ancient burial sites and the unique ways of the Yugambeh people who lived in Burleigh Heads over 4,000 years ago.

After receiving an ochre blessing, the tour heads out onto Burleigh Hill where guests are taken on a sub-tropical hike and told stories of the Aboriginal people who lived there thousands of years ago, how they lived and hunted food and how they believe the mountain was formed.

The hike comes complete with stunning views of the Coastline and a dolphin sighting if you’re lucky.

It’s both an educational and spiritual experience and you can’t help but be awe-struck by the passion with which the Indigenous tour guides share their people’s history and beliefs.

A delicious morning tea follows and then it’s sunscreen, life jackets and onto the kayaks for a leisurely cruise down the ridiculously beautiful and tranquil Tallebudgera Creek.

A quick stop over for a dip, past the (huge) local Osprey’s nest and guests pull up to the purpose built kayak ramp at David Fleay Wildlife Park.

Maybe you’ve been to Fleay’s but if not (guilty), there is a lot to learn about the man who paved the way for animal conservation in Australia.

David Fleay was passionate about keeping animals in enclosures the same as they would inhabit in the wild and after moving to the Gold Coast from Melbourne, he and his wife purchased land next to the creek and did exactly that.

With constant research and conservation techniques, he created a wildlife park resembling local wetlands.

The package includes the park’s Creatures of the Night show featuring an absolutely delightful sugar glider and a Bilby who literally buries his head in the sand.

We’re a lucky bunch here on the Coast, surrounded by enriching culture, both natural and historic and people whose passion it is to share that culture with anyone willing to listen.

‘Heart of the Gold Coast’ is an incredibly enriching tour package for both locals who may be unaware of our extensive Aboriginal history and visitors who want to experience our incredible natural wonders while also learning about how they came to be.

Package includes:

·       Pick up and drop off from your hotel

·       Indigenous history + kayak + wildlife park entry

·       Morning tea

·       Water, sunscreen & paddling lesson

·       Small groups and personal service

·       The best of Burleigh Heads

·       Toilets + café

·       Complimentary photographs of kayaking

Tour package runs from 7.30am until 12pm through Kayak the Gold Coast.

Heaven is a place on Earth

Long before healthy food became hipster, Helen’s Heavenly Bulk Foods was serving up delicious, good-for-you treats in the heart of Burleigh.

Since 1997 Helen Gibson has been a prominent figure on James Street sharing her love of healthy food including nuts and seeds, baking goods, herbs and spices, teas and powders, Acai bowls, smoothies and fresh juices.

Recently the space next door became available so Helen jumped at the chance to move the juice bar to accommodate her loyal customers who come from far and wide for her goodies.

Helen’s Heavenly Wholefoods Café serve a great range of healthy wraps, sandwiches and salads some of which are gluten free and/or organic.

They also have an unfairly delicious range of raw treats and protein powders available for purchase.

Both the store and café are constantly buzzing with bikini-clad beach goers, mums and bubs and those looking for fresh, delicious food and a passion for health you’d be cold hard-pressed to find anywhere else.

Stroll off the nearby Burleigh beach for a healthy takeaway treat or spend some time in air-conditioned comfort and watch the world pass by.

Having always been ahead of the curve in terms of providing delicious, healthy treats to Gold Coasters, Helen’s Heavenly Bulk Foods is the gift that keeps on giving.

Hours: 6.30am to 5.30pm

Address: 2/29 James St, Burleigh Heads QLD.

Words and photos by Kirra Smith.

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