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Tracy Cooper-Lavery

Meet the Director of the HOTA Gallery.

Tracy Cooper-Lavery (image supplied)
Tracy Cooper-Lavery (image supplied)

You would have to be living under a rock if you haven’t heard that HOTA is opening a brand new Gallery in May. With it, will fine-dining restaurant Palette, and of course a Rooftop Bar, appropriately named – The Exhibitionist’s Bar. To say we are excited, would be an understatement. In preparation for the highly-anticipated opening, we spoke with the Director of HOTA Gallery, the talented Tracy Cooper-Lavery. She gives us an insight into her career to date, along with what’s to come from the opening of the HOTA Gallery.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
Even though I have moved around a lot, the Goldie has always felt like my real home. I grew up here in the ‘70s, started my career here in the ‘90s and have been settled here for the last 5 years. I was always back for holidays too as my grandparents and parents are proud GC locals!

Tell us a bit about your career to date.
I was so fortunate to begin my career on the Gold Coast. Fran Cummings, the first Director of Gold Coast City Gallery took a punt on me and gave me my first job as the Curatorial Assistant. She literally threw me in the deep end and in my first week put me in charge of overseeing a large exhibition of bark paintings and sculptures from Arnhem Land that was arriving along with many of the artists, some who had never left their communities of Maningrida and Ramingining! After eight years, I moved onto the Bendigo Art Gallery in 2000 and then as Director at Rockhampton Art Gallery in 2011, until 2016 when I came back for my dream job as Director at HOTA Gallery.

Samuel Leighton-Dore, Cloud-Drive (2021). SOLID GOLD Artists from Paradise, HOTA Gallery. Image courtesy of the artist.
Samuel Leighton-Dore, Cloud-Drive (2021). SOLID GOLD Artists from Paradise, HOTA Gallery. Image courtesy of the artist.

What career achievement are you most proud of?
That’s a no-brainer – the opening of HOTA Gallery on 8 May! I feel so invested in this project and have been part of the development of the Gallery since it began in 2016. After so many years working in the former gallery spaces and having an intimate knowledge of the City art collection, I know how important this project is for the Gold Coast and for the arts in Australia.

What excites you the most about the art scene here on the Gold Coast?
We have so many incredibly talented and resilient artists working on the Gold Coast and the scene continues to grow at a rapid pace. There are great artist-run initiatives like The Walls at Miami and Generate GC which supports the development of new site-specific work by emerging artists. An exhibition like SOLID GOLD has been a great way for HOTA to amplify the work of Gold Coast practitioners and elevate their practice to a national audience.

What impact do you think the HOTA Gallery will have on the Gold Coast community?
The Gallery will be a game-changer for the Gold Coast and for cultural tourism locally. It provides the first significant seven-days-a-week offer at the Precinct (except for HOTA cinema of course!) and will present local through to international exhibitions. Who would have thought you would see a major exhibition featuring Andy Warhol, Jean Michel Basquiat and Jeff Koons – right here on the Goldie! The Gallery really brings together all of the aspects of the cultural precinct and provides more opportunity to spend a day with us. Take in some art, have a swim in the lake, catch a film or some comedy and finish your day off with sunset drinks in The Exhibitionist Bar on Level 5.

HOTA Gallery Exterior (image supplied)

What are you looking forward to the most about the HOTA Gallery opening?
The opportunity to present aspects of the HOTA collection in international standard exhibition galleries for the first time. Many of the works you will see when we open have never been shown publicly or not for many years. There will be some treasured favourites, as well as some stunning recent acquisitions to enjoy. Be sure to also check out our viewing window above the collection store to get a sense of the behind-the-scenes world of the Gallery!

If you had to pick one piece from the upcoming ‘SOLID GOLD: Artists from Paradise’ exhibition, which would be your favourite?
That’s tough, it’s like your children; you aren’t supposed to have favourites! What I do love is that there is such a diverse range of ages, careers and mediums on display. There are paintings, photographs, sculptures, installations, digital projections, outdoor works, immersive rooms, augmented reality mixed with ceramics, robotic sunrises and crystals! I think there are plenty of favourites!

What are your Gold Coast favourites…
Café: I love dropping to Bumbles at Budds Beach or Bam Bam Bakehouse at Mermaid
Coffee spot: Hot Shott Café at Main Beach, Urban Monkey at Bundall or Merlo Coffee at The Brickworks in Southport
Restaurant: Currently Etsu Izakaya or Mr Kojima; but soon to be Palette at HOTA Gallery
Bar or pub for a drink: The Exhibitionist Bar at HOTA Gallery

How do you choose to spend your weekends?
At the moment I don’t stray far from home on the weekends. I have spent so much time at work, I like to hibernate and spend time with the family. If we do venture out, it’s usually to the beach, to Rosser Park for a dog walk or a drive up into the glorious hinterland.

Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat works coming to the Coast

Jean-Michel Basquiat 1985 © Lizzie Himmel. Artwork © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York

Things just keep getting better around here Gold Coasters.

First, we were allowed out of our homes, next we were gifted quite a few exciting new venues, then we could dance again and now, a world-class art gallery, the largest public gallery outside of a capital city in Australia. Look at us go!

Let’s dive straight into that last thing shall we. Yes, it’s Home of the Arts long-awaited gallery (called HOTA Gallery) and it’s set to open on April 10th in 2021. It will span six levels and will present a jam-packed program of world premiere international exhibitions, Australian exclusives and new commissions, all of which celebrate artists from across Australia and the world.

We are quite literally jumping up and down with excitement!

HOTA Gallery (image supplied)

HOTA Gallery will launch with Solid Gold: Artists from Paradise (10th April to the 20th June 2021) and it will be presented across the Gallery and the HOTA parklands, and feature major new commissions and art work by emerging and established Australian artists with a connection to the region, including Hiromi Tango, Michael Candy, Abbey McCulloch, Samuel Leighton-Dore and Libby Harward.

Celebrating the diversity and richness of the Gold Coast, the exhibition will feature sculpture, painting, video, photography and installations, both indoors and out.

In a world premiere exhibition exclusive to the Gold Coast and Australia, HOTA Gallery will present Contemporary Masters from New York: Art from the Mugrabi Collection (13 November 2021 – 27 February 2022) featuring approximately 70 works from some of the world’s most influential contemporary artists.

Keith Haring 1985 © Jeannette Montgomery Barron / Trunk Archive

Get excited to see in your own backyard works from Jean-Michel Basquiat (largely recognised as boosting the prevalence of graffiti artists into galleries), Andy Warhol (a man who needs no introduction, but just in case… uber famous for leading the pop art movement with his Campbell Soup Cans and Marilyn Monroe works), Keith Haring (a pop artist who advocated safe sex and raised AIDS awareness in the 80s), Richard Prince (most recently known as the Instagram artist) and Jeff Koons (a sculptor most famous for his Balloon Dog sculptures).

It’s the first time these incredible works will have been shown in Australia and we are so grateful to the Gold Coast team at HOTA who have been working tirelessly to put this amazing collection together.

SOLID GOLD_Hiromi Hotel - Brain Flower

The inaugural exhibition in the new dedicated Children’s Gallery is World Upside Down (10 April – 10 October 2021). Working with Queensland artists Lowana Skye-Davies and Alinta Krauth, the Children’s Gallery will be an immersive space filled with interactive art and hands-on making activities, inspired by the themes found in the first two major exhibitions, Solid Gold and Lyrical Landscapes.

Alongside the premiere exhibitions presented in the main space, HOTA Gallery will also present works from the $32 million City Collection. Consisting of more than 4,400 artworks (who new we had that many in storage waiting for our eyes to feast on?), the collection includes one the largest collections of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art in regional Australia.

So that’s a lot of epic things already and there’s plenty more to come (ie rooftop bar anyone?), stay tuned for more information as further exhibitions are announced. What an epic time to be a Gold Coaster.

LOCATION: 135 Bundall Rd, Bundall
WHEN: 10th  April 2021

Artist Impression of the HOTA Gallery (image supplied)
Artist Impression of the HOTA Gallery (image supplied)

Marvel at art and our city skyline at this new rooftop bar

Artist impression of The Exhibitionist Rooftop Bar (image supplied)
Artist impression of The Exhibitionist Rooftop Bar (image supplied)

For some time now the budding arts scene on the Gold Coast has been increasingly building and building. And it’s great to see, is it not!?

HOTA is without a doubt the centerpiece of all this artistic activity. And with the soon-to-be-opened HOTA Gallery, things are without a doubt, to be taken up a notch.

So, when we heard the news that the soon to be opened gallery was in fact going to have its very own dedicated rooftop bar, we naturally had to tell all of our informed readers the news.

The Exhibitionist Bar, located in the new HOTA Gallery, will provide an unparalleled venue experience. After all, what other world-class art galleries do you know with a rooftop bar — we’ll wait for an answer!

Artist Impression of the HOTA Gallery (image supplied)
Artist Impression of the HOTA Gallery (image supplied)

Doors will open the 8th of May 2021 and in our books, this is set to add a new dimension to the city’s already energetic food and social scene.

Located on Level Five of the Gallery across 233sqm of indoor and outdoor terrace spaces, The Exhibitionist Bar will have completely unhindered panoramic views of the vibrant arts precinct, the always impressive Surfers Paradise skyline, stunning Gold Coast waterways and a western outlook across our enigmatic hinterland. If this isn’t going to be a feast for the eyes, we don’t know what is!

The venue will offer guests a sophisticated tapas-style bar menu with specialty cocktails, an extensive wine list, house-made sodas and local craft beer. Of the morning time, it will be the Gallery’s go-to location for those in need of their caffeine fix.

RameshRamesh Mario Nithiyendran sculpture (image supplied)Mario Nithiyendran installation (image supplied)
Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran sculpture (image supplied)

HOTA‘s Head of Culinary Arts, David Ashford says “The Exhibitionist Bar will deliver a spectacular destination rooftop experience in a bold new venue with enticing views, share style food along with cocktail and champagne offering the showstoppers. Our intention was to create an iconic venue that provides a memorable experience for every visitor”.

Just imagine yourself finishing off an afternoon of swooning over incredible art, sipping a glass of champagne and sharing some tapas, all while watching the sunset over the Gold Coast hinterland.

Aren’t we the cultured and lucky bunch?

LOCATION: HOTA Gallery,135 Bundall Road, Bundall

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

Get your tickets to the opening of this HOT(a) Gallery

HOTA Art Gallery entrance (image supplied)
HOTA Art Gallery entrance (image supplied)

It’s no secret that the Gold Coast has been a smouldering hotbed of artistic talent and appreciation for a little while now. You don’t have to look far to see impressive murals and art inspired spaces in pretty much every suburb we have.

The highlight is of course the Home of the Arts (HOTA). Formerly the Gold Coast Arts Centre this hub of creativity has seen some vast renovations and improvements over the last few years. Being on the cusp of opening an entirely new gallery building means an exciting period awaits the venue and all those who plan to visit it.

Now, to throw some facts and figures around, the new $60.5 million HOTA Gallery will be the largest public gallery outside a capital city in Australia. Designed by award-winning Melbourne-based architects ARM, the Gallery will include over 2,000m2 of AAA-rated, international standard exhibition space, a dedicated Children’s Gallery, and will be 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). 

An impressive building needs an impressive centrepiece and the folks at HOTA have not dropped the ball on this one.

Commissioned Melbourne Art Foundation (MAF) and HOTA, Sri-Lankan born, Sydney-based artist Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran has created a monumental six-metre-high sculpture which is on display on the lower ground entrance to the Gallery. 

Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran with his installation at HOTA Gallery (image supplied)
Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran with his installation at HOTA Gallery (image supplied)

Predominantly composed of bronze, Nithiyendran has combined a range of materials including concrete, neon and fiberglass to create a multi-coloured avatar reflecting the vibrancy of the HOTA Gallery building.

Holding a smiling neon companion and standing on a geometric plinth, this is the artist’s largest sculpture to date and his first ambitious work in the public domain.

This significant artwork will welcome visitors inside the new HOTA Gallery with outstretched arms and expressive and commanding tones when the doors open to the public for the very first time on Saturday 8th of May.

The work gestures to a range of global sources that link to my cultural background and contemporary culture,” said Nithiyendran.

“I hope local and international visitors engage with the work by considering the meanings and significance of idolatry and sculptural monuments in public spaces.”

To celebrate the opening weekend of the Gallery, HOTA will present an eclectic music program on its Outdoor Stage all day on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 May. To further amplify the local flavour, a pop-up market will sell the finest artisan wares by Gold Coast makers, accompanied by pockets of local food and drink. The full program for the opening weekend will be announced next month.

Gold Coasters can get their hands on tickets for the HOTA Gallery opening weekend, simply by signing up via their website to receive a special booking link, which also puts them in with the chance of winning a weekend away! – Sounds good to us!

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

RameshRamesh Mario Nithiyendran sculpture (image supplied)Mario Nithiyendran installation (image supplied)
Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran sculpture (image supplied)
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