17 July 2023

Head to a Bermagui motel as an art exhibition of a different kind returns

| Claire Sams
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A group of people walking past motel rooms with lights above their heads.

Mr Dawson said they were expecting a strong attendance at the 2023 MOTEL Art Fair, just as they saw in previous years, with the launch in 2022 pictured above. Photo: Chris Sheedy.

An upcoming exhibition will take place in a motel room with a special kind of decor.

The MOTEL Art Fair is returning from 28 to 29 July with works from 17 artists and artist groups, including painters, photographers, illustrators and ceramicists.

South East Centre for Contemporary Art Director Iain Dawson said the event will showcase artists from across the Bega Valley.

“There’s not many platforms for regional artists in our shire to get their work out there and show it to a large number of people outside of the traditional gallery exhibition model.

“We’re limiting it to artists from the Bega Valley Shire artists to give them that spotlight and focus,” he said.

It will be held over two days in Bermagui, after being held in Merimbula and Eden in previous years.

“We chose Bermagui Motor Inn because they have a centralised courtyard.

“In the exhibition, the motel rooms are open with each artist in a separate room,” he said.

“As a consumer, you walk through and look at all the different rooms – it’s almost like walking through a shopping mall, in a way.”

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On 28 July from 6 pm to 9 pm, people can come along for the opening night which will include a bar, food and DJ.

“The first night is the VIP preview, which is a ticketed event,” Mr Dawson said.

“People who want to have the first dibs on what artworks are available, can get in there and have first pick at the artworks.”

The following day will see free entry to the exhibition, which will be open from 10 am to 4 pm.

“We’ve organised it as a great day out for the whole family to come along and see what our local artists are up to and what they’re doing,” he said.

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Mr Dawson was inspired after attending or learning about this style of event in Hong Kong, Melbourne and other places.

“I thought it’d be a really fun way to use our accommodation stock and to foster some activity in the wintertime when tourism is slower than in peak times,” he said.

“The event is a good way to activate the amazing retro and interesting spaces that we have down here on the coast, while also promoting our local artists.”

Mr Dawson said he was sure everyone could find something to their tastes.

“There is something for everyone, in terms of the kind of art you like,” he said.

“Budget-wise, there are pieces going for a couple hundred dollars that would really liven up your kitchen or bedroom, as well as really significant paintings by some of our very well esteemed and established local artists.”

The MOTEL Art Fair has been organised by South East Centre for Contemporary Art and supported by Bega Valley Shire Council.

In 2023, the MOTEL Art Fair will be held at the Bermagui Motor Inn (38 Lamont Street) on 28 to 29 July.

Tickets for the opening night cost $10 (with children under 16 free) and are available via Humanitix, while people can also register for the second day via Humanitix at no cost.

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