24 August 2023

Flood of artistic talent to be unveiled as annual festival returns

| Claire Sams
Start the conversation
Two people holding a drink looking out to the water with a light hanging between them

Ceramicist Jo Victoria and marine debris textile artist Bernadette Davis with a sea light – just one of the artistic attractions on show during the River of Art Festival. Photo: Eva Davis-Boermans.

The return of Moruya’s annual River of Art Festival is yet more proof of the deep well of artistic talent in the Eurobodalla.

One of the participating artists, Bernadette Davis of Castaway Textiles, said the annual festival was a chance for people to see what the region offers.

“It allows people from Canberra, Shoalhaven and areas further afield to come in and talk to you about your work,” she said.

“It’s really nice when people are interested in your work, but it’s also a chance to raise the profile of arts in the Eurobodalla and beyond.”

For Ms Davis, her work brings together her two loves: the ocean and creativity.

She finds ropes on beaches that she uses to make lampshades and baskets.

“I’ve worked for about 25 years in local government, working on things like environmental education, focusing mostly on threats to the ocean,” she said.

“People can be captivated by how pretty something is, but when you tell them the story of what it was, it allows you to talk to a different audience.

“It showcases that what we consider waste, a lot of the time, can be used to make something really beautiful.”

The River of Art Festival runs from 15 to 24 September.

READ ALSO Entertained the idea of going professional? Top coach is heading your way – Goulburn

The 2023 program spans more than 120 events held across 100 km of coast, from Batemans Bay in the north to Bermagui in the south, and takes in places such as Tilba, Guerilla Bay, Mossy Point and the major centres of Narooma and Moruya.

Some of the events are free, while others are ticketed – from $15 to $180.

The program also includes artist talks, workshops, live music and theatre.

Ms Davis is opening her studio to patrons of the River of Art Festival in 2023.

The artist’s studio events will be held on 16 September at 53 Forest Parade, Tomakin and on 22 September with ceramicist Jo Victoria at 15 Pacific Street, Mossy Point.

“It’s a beautiful collaboration between us, where we’ve created one-of-a-kind pendants, table lamps and things like that.

“It’s a bit tricky to sell lights in the daytime, so this open studio will be held in the evening,” Ms Davis said.

She said the River of Art Festival brought artists – and their communities – together.

“For a lot of artists, we’re tinkering away in our studios by ourselves,” Ms Davis said.

“It’s a wonderful experience to have this collaboration with the art community, where you’re doing an event like this all together.”

It will all come to a close with a spectacular finale, Luminous, being staged on 23 September.

A man with a see-through umbrella on one shoulder, looking up, and a building behind him with a light show projected onto it

Art meets science: Scott Baker’s ‘Bioluminescence’ is one of a series of digital animations set to feature at the festival finale Luminous: Celebrating Place. Photo: River of Art Festival.

The evening of light, arts, music and markets will see animated art projected onto buildings at Moruya Showground, alongside a food and art market, two music stages, an area for kids, roving performances and an interactive art area.

READ ALSO Snowy Monaro students feature in new children’s book

Ms Davis said the River of Art Festival would also give patrons the perfect chance to take advantage of the many attractions the South Coast has to offer.

“You can come down and see so much, while also enjoying seeing a lot of artists in a short amount of time,” she said.

“I just really encourage people to get out and have a look at all the artists.

“I’ll definitely be going to some of the other studios – there’s a whole list of them I’m making.”

The River of Art Festival 2023 will be held from 15 to 24 September, with the program available online.


Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Do you like to know what’s happening around your region? Every day the About Regional team packages up our most popular stories and sends them straight to your inbox for free. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.