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Alana Holmberg wins the final LUMAS Gallery and Sequana Arts Grant for 2020-1.

11 Aug 21 · Community & Culture

LUMAS Gallery and Sequana has announced Alana Holmberg as the last winner of the LUMAS Gallery and Sequana Arts Grant Program.

Alana Holmberg wins the final LUMAS Gallery and Sequana Arts Grant for 2020-1

Holmberg, a visual artist based in Melbourne known for her practice combining photography, motion, sound and text to make work that is both conceptual and documentary, submitted a photograph from her series, ‘Idle Hours’ captured at Pound Bend in Warrandyte, Melbourne.

Her winning photograph reflects water but more specifically, the draw of water for leisure time. Nestled in a green pocket of Melbourne, Pound Bend offers a refuge and escape from the city. On warm days, people swim in the cool waters of the Yarra and float in the gentle current.

“This work was made during the bushfires when, at times, being outdoors in nature felt impossible or dangerous due to smoke. From this perspective, the work also links with the environment. The expression and body shape of the young body speaks to the collective period of reflection many of us felt in this time about the environment, about the climate, and where we’re headed in the future,” said Holmberg.

“My aim is to fill blind spots in my knowledge of the land on which I call home, using my images not just a visual records, but as research prompts and bread crumbs that lead me to a more informed connection to the place I call home from a historical, ecological and cultural perspective.”

Idle Hours explores outdoor leisure time for Australians living in Victoria, the mainland’s southernmost state. Referencing the work of the Australian Impressionist painters, Holmberg is interested in depicting romantic scenes of recreation and social gatherings in the natural environment, creating a visual document of our contemporary life and landscape in a time where both feel uncertain and undervalued.

“In a tumultuous year that has been a challenge for us all, Holmberg has responded with a work that speaks to both the environmental concerns that harks back to a bucolic time, a time where Tom Roberts was depicting the bush with its gum trees and dry bush amidst a watering hole. Holmberg has channeled this Art historical cannon and yet also speaks to contemporary society and the impact on the environment. The work also brings to mind, having a COVID lens onto the scene, a family coming together (and social distancing) around a lake. There is a harshness and yet poetical lyricism to the scene,” said Anouska Phizacklea, Director, Monash Gallery of Art.

Alana Holmberg Sequana
Holmberg started the series ‘Idle Hours in 2019 and after a long pause due to the bushfires and the coronavirus pandemic, will continue photographing in January 2021.

The first phase will focus on summer leisure activities and environments and she plans to travel along the Gippsland coast towards the New South Wales border, then into the high country and the Murray River area around Albury and Wodonga.

The funding awarded as part of this grant will help cover the costs and support her living expenses.

“Pound Bend from the series ‘Idle Hours’ is a photograph that speaks a thousand words. It explores the role of our natural environment in times of tragedy, recreation, and relief. Nestled in the countryside of Victoria at one of the nation’s most heavily impacted neighbourhoods of the Black Summer bushfires, Holmberg conveys a playfully organic yet somewhat melancholic scene, describing the deep but complicated connection we have to the land, community and each other in her work,” said Eugenia Wilson, Managing Director, LUMAS Gallery Australia.

Sequana Managing Partners, Mike Walsh and Frank Fisseler are passionate about the arts and helping artists during these difficult times and the LUMAS Gallery and Sequana Arts Grant Program is a joint initiative by project management consultancy Sequana Partners and LUMAS, and is designed to support and celebrate creatives of all calibres, providing Australian artists with both funding and a platform to showcase their work.

The 2020 winner’s work will be on display at an exhibition at LUMAS Gallery in March 2021 to showcase the seven winning artworks.