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New SAM Project Board community member appointed

Welcome John Head.

Well-known local arts identity and SheppARTon Festival life member John Head has been appointed as a community representative member of the new SAM Project Board.

Mr Head joins the Build Shepparton Art Museum Project Board Committee which oversees the management of the project milestones and communications to councillors and the community. The milestones include the architectural design, construction plans, planning and building permits, funding and governance.

John Head is well credentialed to be on the Board as a passionate supporter of the arts in Shepparton and a driving force behind the SheppARTon Festival. “I believe the development of the new SAM will be a major game changer in the cultural, artistic and tourism landscape of the Goulburn Valley,” said Mr Head.

“Shepparton is a large multicultural community with one of the largest indigenous communities in rural Victoria. The development of a new SAM will be an important step in displaying and sustaining some of the best attributes of our region including our racial tolerance and social cohesion,” he said.

“I believe a new SAM has the potential to put Shepparton on the cultural tourism map as a link between the established and financially proven model of the art museums of Albury and Bendigo,” said Mr Head. “I am very much looking forward to being a part of the Project Board and helping to guide the process of building the new SAM.”

The current membership consists of 14 members from Council, the SAM Foundation, Regional Development Victoria (RDV), Gallery Kaiela and the Kaiela Institute.

Greater Shepparton City Council Director Community and Project Board Chair Kaye Thomson said she was very pleased with the high calibre of applications received for the position and was keen to welcome John Head to the Board.

“John brings a wealth of experience in and knowledge of the arts in our region and will be an asset to the Board in representing the community and ensuring a different viewpoint is available,” said Ms Thomson. “We look forward to his input over the course of the project.”

Chen Qiulin performs a tofu carving

And brings the scents of Shepparton to SAM

On Saturday 4 June, Chen Quilin, one of China’s most acclaimed contemporary artists, will perform a tofu carving at Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) and imbue the gallery space with six scents evocative of Shepparton for the exhibition One Hundred Names.

For the carving, a tofu block the size of a large cushion (40x40x7cm) is being created especially for Chen by Richmond’s Tofu Shop International, into which she will carve the name of Ah Wong’, a Chinese immigrant who set up a market garden on the banks of the Goulburn River, and sold vegetable produce to Mooroopna and Shepparton residents.  Chinaman Garden Reserve is now on the site of his former vegetable garden. Visitors to the opening will witness Chen quietly carving the tofu, and be met with a potpourri of smells—pears, apples, wood smoke, eucalyptus, garlic and chilli—that she has identified as meaningful to Shepparton.

This performance complements Chen’s ongoing project One Hundred Surnames in Tofu (2004-), which presents the hundred most common Chinese family names carved in tofu. Presented in this career-survey exhibition, Chen uses a combination of photography, video installation, performance and other media to create large-scale immersive works. Her work is deeply concerned with migration, both geographic and internal, examining how displacement and urban development disrupt traditional ancestry, culture and way of life – concerns that deeply connect with Shepparton’s rich migrant history.

Fascinated by the way that our senses trigger memories of place, Chen has created a new work using six evocative smells that connect with Shepparton – apples, pears (90 per cent of Australian pears come from Shepparton), eucalyptus, wood-fire smoke (alluding to controlled burns for native forest and agricultural management, and the lingering trace of wood smoke that wafts over Shepparton in autumn), garlic (introduced by Chinese migrants during the Victorian gold rush) and chilli. Diffusers will be presented as part of an installation, on a stack of packing crates and fruit boxes gathered from local orchard producers. Each gently puffs out the specific scents selected by Chen for this particular context. SAM Director, Dr Rebecca Coates says, “Through her ongoing interest in food and scent, she reflects on the smaller things that remind us of ‘home’.”

Chen was born in Hubei Province, China, moving from the region when her family were displaced by the construction of the Three Gorges Dam, one of the largest hydroelectric dams in the world. Today, Chen works in Chengdu, inspired by the socio-political issues affecting everyday life around her. This exhibition, developed in collaboration with 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney, offers a rare survey of over a decade of her work.

The opening will be followed by a Tofu Banquet Dinner, presented in partnership with the Goulburn Valley Chinese Association, at Mooroopna’s Yiche Restaurant. The meal will feature a specially designed Chinese hotpot alongside other tofu dishes developed together by Chen and Yiche’s chef in a celebration of regional culinary traditions. Bookings for the Tofu Banquet can be made online.

Image: Chen Qiulin, The Hundred Surnames in Tofu (Chen) (still), 2004 – 2014, video installation, ed.5, courtesy the artist and A Thousand Plateaus Art Space
Chengdu © the artist.

Tofu Banquet

Join SAM for a Tofu Banquet dinner – SOLD OUT



  1. unfermented soya-bean curd, made from soya-bean milk.

Join Chinese artist Chen Qiulin for a tofu banquet that celebrates the diverse culinary traditions around the humble soya-bean, developed in partnership with Yiche Modern Asian Cuisine, Mooroopna. Chen Qiulin has designed a special hotpot recipe for Shepparton that will form the centrepiece of the Tofu Banquet.

Tofu Banquet is a partnership project between the Goulburn Valley Chinese Association, SAM and Yiche Modern Asian Cuisine as part of the exhibition Chen Quilin. One Hundred Names.

When:  Saturday 4 June 6.30 to 8.30pm
Where: Yiche Modern Asian Cuisine, 77 McLennan Street, Mooroopna
Cost:    $35
RSVP:  This is a SOLD OUT event


Image: Chen Qiulin, One Hundred Surnames in Tofu [still] (detail), 2004, single channel courtesy the artist and A Thousand Plateaus Art Space, Chengdu © the artist

SAM Drawing Wall #23 with Simone Slee.

Simone Slee is the next artist to feature on the SAM Drawing Wall.

Simone Slee works across installation, photography, video and performance. Slee sees this as a form of extended sculptural practice, investigating and questioning what sculpture is and what it can be. She has exhibited throughout Australia and internationally. She is currently the Head of Sculpture and Spatial Practice, in Art, at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA), University of Melbourne where she has also completed a PhD. Slee is represented by Melbourne based gallery Sarah Scout Presents.

For SAM’s Drawing Wall commission, Slee will focus on local Shepparton suburban architecture. The work is a continuation of her series, Houses that are happy to help with at least one of the possible problems of art, 2010 – ongoing. Slee will be creating a series of new photographs of local architectural gems to add to the series.

This series of works investigates houses in a suburban landscape. In front of each house, she poses the question “Are Your Materials Honest?” This question alludes to the shift that occurred in the early 20th century, where Modernist architects rejected decorative effect and asserted a need for rigor and pared back form. The photographs invite the viewer to consider architectural styles and forms and question whether or not the materials themselves could be more than just ornamental.

Simone will be installing her work on Monday 16 May from 9am. This is a great opportunity for the community to come by and see Slee at work and ask her questions about her art and processes.

Image Credit: Simone Slee, Houses that are happy to help with at least one of the possible problems of art, 2010 – ongoing, series of inkjet prints on wallpaper, varying dimensions.

Career Pathways in the Arts

A new series is designed to give current students looking to undertake a career in the arts the opportunity to hear from local young arts professionals about their pathway in the arts.

Date: Wednesday 18 May & 22 June
Time: 5 to 7pm
Audience: VCE and Senior students
Venue: Alex Rigg Room (Shepparton City Council)
Cost: Free,
Bookings: 5832 9861
Tutor: Various

In this new series for current students, SAM invites young professionals from Shepparton to talk about their successful careers pathways in the arts. Each speaker will outline key aspects of their studies, practice or careers and discuss personal and professional challenges and choices made. Given the considerable emphasis on entrepreneurial and transferable creative skills and thinking, the arts are increasingly seen as enabling or fostering these skills which are a key to future employment regardless of one’s occupation. This series provides students with an opportunity to understand the range of career options within arts and culture sector as a viable and exciting field of future study and employment.

Wednesday 18 May

Applied Art, Digital Media and Business

 Amina Barolli, Evan Lancaster and Chris Hawking.

Amina Barolli, Marketing Coordinator at SAM, portrait & event photographer at Amina Barolli Photography.

Evan Lancaster, Senior Visualisation Designer GMH and co-director at Minicades Mobile since 2012.

Chris Hawking, Graphic Designer at Greater Shepparton City Council and Photographer/Videographer for his own business Click Photo.

 Wednesday 22 June

Museum and Arts Organisations

Gabriella Calandro, Patsy Killeen and Kimberly Moulton

Gabriella Calandro, Marketing Coordinator at SAM, Cultural Partnerships Coordinator at Regional Arts Victoria, Volunteer Exhibition Attendant at 55th Venice Biennale (Australian Council for the Arts).

Patsy Killeen, Grimwade Intern (Education) Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne, Volunteer Exhibition Attendant at 56th Venice Biennale (Australian Council for the Arts).

Kimberley Moulton, Senior Curator South Eastern Australian Aboriginal collections, Melbourne Museum.

SAM Calls for Local Artists to Submit Exhibition Proposals

Exhibit at SAM in December 2016

Each year SAM goes local across December and January, spotlighting the practice of local artists with three exhibitions;

  • SAM Local. Spotlight,
  • SAM Local. VCE Art and Studio Arts and
  • SAM Local. Best of Friends.

SAM Local. Spotlight profiles the work of one artist with a solo exhibition. This initiative encourages, stimulates and promotes local and regional cultural activities as part of SAM’s annual program. It enables artists to experience working in a professional museum context. Exhibitions are programmed up to six months in advance.

Artists looking to apply are encouraged to contact SAM Senior Curator, Anna Briers for more information:

Eligible artists:

  • Applicant must live within a 100km radius of Shepparton
  • Applicant must be a Victorian resident

To apply to exhibit at SAM in December 2016 in SAM Local. Spotlight, eligible artists must submit the following by 5pm Wednesday 1 June, 2016 to Senior Curator Anna Briers

  • A one page document that details your proposal, outlining your conceptual ideas or approach plus a short artist’s biography and contact detail
  • 3-5 web resolution jpeg images of artworks labelled with your name, date, title, medium and dimensions.

SAM Foundation Announcement


A further significant philanthropic grant was announced today to support the new Shepparton Art Museum (SAM). The Sir Andrew Fairley Foundation and the Gantner family have each agreed to commit an amount of $500,000 to this exciting and transformational project.

The construction of the new SAM has been identified by the Shepparton community, including both the Greater Shepparton City Council and the Committee for Greater Shepparton, as a signature project that is vital for the Goulburn Valley region’s economic, social and cultural wellbeing. With the strong and valued support of Council, and the State of Victoria, each of which have committed $10m towards project funding, the vision of a new SAM is now real and achieveable.

An application has been lodged with the Federal Government’s National Stronger Regions Fund for the funding of a further $10m.

The Chair of the Sir Andrew Fairley Foundation, Andrew Fairley AM spoke of the reasons why his family has made a commitment to this project –

 “We are supporting this project because it will create positive and profound change in the cultural ethos of this great city. Sir Andrew Fairley was instrumental in the creation of the original Shepparton Art Gallery, which laid the foundations for the outstanding collection that is housed in the current SAM.

We consider that this intiative of the new SAM, situated on the shores of the lake, celebrating the rich arts, culture and heritage of the region will be a catalyst for tourism, creativity, and cultural self-esteem.”

The donation from the Gantner family comes on top of their already generous commitment to donate a significant collection of Australian indigenous artwork to the new SAM once the construction is completed. Carrillo Gantner AO, a SAM Foundation Director said –

“I am delighted at the progress that’s been made on this project. I sense a strong groundswell of passionate support, not just for a new arts facility for the city and the Goulburn Valley, but also for the wider economic, social and cultural impact on the entire region.”

The SAM Foundation has been established to raise funding from private and philanthropic sources, and so far has over $2m in committed funding for the new SAM. Today’s announcement takes that well over $3m, which places the Foundation in an outstanding position.

SAM Foundation Chairman, Peter Quinn said –

 “We are truly thrilled to have received this news of a further $1m committed to our vision for a new SAM. To have received the commitment from two such distinguished participants in our community speaks volumes for the importance of the project.”

The community now eagerly awaits the outcome of the Federal Government funding application. In the meantime, the SAM Foundation is continuing its work on securing further private sector and philanthropic contributions towards the project.