There’s always the sun rising on the East. It shows a new ideality, a sense, a direction, a force that it did not contain before.  For many of us the East side view is a panorama of terraces, balconies, verandahs with wrought iron lacework, clumps of pot-plants, clusters of ornate Victorian chimney pots, sloping terracotta tiled-roofs, narrow staircases, cobblestone laneways and the whirr of plump pigeon wings.

East Sydney with more than 250,000 human beings, cats, dogs and birds make up the curious mixture of an urban metropolis. It is from this point The East Sydney Art Walk orientates as a collective presentation across five suburbs and seventeen art spaces for one-afternoon.  There is no single theme or curatorial concern, each exhibition is respective to the insights and energies of each space on the map.

The initiative started 30 years ago and has continued in more recent times by Liza Feeney and Merilyn Bailey, Gallerists of the Stanley Street Gallery.  They have been operating since 2013, and are one of four spaces participating along Stanley Street.

At the Stanley Street Gallery expect to see Catherine Large with Unintended Consequences, who creates ornate jewellery from dissembled cars. “Working with the rusty steel with minimal preparation allows the material and process to dictate the outcome. The result is revealed layers of colour, rusty spots peeping through, rough edges and a variety of finishes.”

David Collins, is showing drawings and paintings inspired from an island in the Hawkesbury River, in which he lives in his solo exhibition, Passage.

On level one is COMA, who is featuring Jack Lanagan Dunbar’s mixed media series, Gesture Prints. Walk passed ‘Little Italy’, a cafe and restaurant quarter, more notable in times extending from the 1950s and 1960s, to discover Disorder Gallery nestled in the betweens of a parking lot and a block from ‘The Bakers Dozen’, a row of Heritage terraces from the 20th century.

There you will find a solo exhibition by self taught painter Rebecca Trajkovski, who says of her art practice, “once I have finished a painting I reflect on what was going on in my life when I produced it and it is usually then that I ascertain its meaning.”

Around the corner on the main artery of William Street, is the Australian Design Centre, which is host to the 20th anniversary exhibition, WORKSHOPPED20, the best in new Australian design by emerging and established designers.

Step upwards to reach the Figure in a dissolving landscape by Euan Macleod at King Street Gallery.  The series of paintings are a correspondence of a few nights spent at the top of the Tasman Glacier with New Zealand photographer Craig Potton in early 2020.  The collaborative understandings between them in their pursuits of crafting forms is a moving impression of a narrative experiences literally from the cold front.

In amongst the art deco architecture in Kings Cross is Cross Art Projects, Fire & Brimstone. The exhibition addresses the need to close the inequality gap, declining health and the rising number of preventable deaths of First Nation peoples.  The artists, Therese Ritchie, Chips Mackinolty, Todd Willliams and Djon Mundine, ask us to open our eyes.

Turn inwards then walk towards Darley Street to Gallery 9, for the expansive geometric lines and colour of  Lousie Tuckwell who explores the potential of the everyday in her exhibition, Parallelisms.

Walkabout to the Sydney APY Gallery, a group of 11 Indigenous owned and governed art and cultural enterprises located in the APY Lands of the Northern Territories located on Burton Street.

Freda Brady, Nyurpaya Kaika and Nyunmiti Burton at launch of the Sydney APY Gallery, 45 Burton Street, East Sydney
Photo: APY Art Centre Collective), Burton Street, Darlinghurst

We all seem to enjoy the immediate spectacle that art presents to us; the pleasure that it brings, the direct encounters of art, interactions with artists, curators and gallerists in amongst the experiences of everyday life. Many of the artists will be able to share with you and answer any enquiry on the Saturday afternoon.

We’ve no need to longingly look over our shoulders as we can see that the light is in front of us, where it always was: round the corner towards countless directions, reinventing, the changes keeping it alive.

The Spring East Sydney Art Walk
12pm – 4pm Saturday, 19 September 2020

Access a comprehensive map of registered spaces here.

Cover image: Stanley Street Gallery, 42-54 Stanley Street, East Sydney.