Deakin co-curates 'ambitious' Mornington Peninsula art project

Media release

11 November 2022

Deakin University academics have partnered with the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery (MPRG) to curate an ambitious collection of artworks for public display in November.

Front Beach, Back Beach, (FBBB), will see 15 site-responsive artworks by leading Australian artists displayed at locations across the peninsula from November 4 to 27 to celebrate and mark historical events significant to those sites.

Deakin University School of Communications and Creative Arts Professor David Cross and Associate Professor Cameron Bishop are co-artistic directors of the event.

Professor Cross said he and Associate Professor Bishop grew up on the peninsula and were thrilled to work on the project, which includes guided narrations explaining each artwork's significance on the FBBB website.

Sites of significance include Monmar (Point Nepean), a location of great importance for the Bunurong and Boonwurrung peoples. It is also where the first official cannon fire was recorded at the beginning of World War I, and is the location of former prime minister Harold Holt's disappearance in 1967.

Other sites and projects include a migrating building at Coolart Homestead and Wetlands in Somers, films at The Dromana Drive-in, and an installation at Wonga (Arthurs Seat).

Each artwork tells the tale of these locations, and the FBBB website acts as a navigational tool to direct visitors on a road trip from one artwork to the next.

Recommendations for local businesses to support while visiting the Mornington Peninsula are also included in the narrations.

"The peninsula is such a rich and complex place with amazing stories and events, both ancient and modern," Professor Cross said.

"As the curators of FBBB, we are excited to be returning to these key moments and places using art positioned in remarkable locations to prompt reflection and consideration of the important role this shire between the bays has had on shaping the histories of both Victoria, Australia and even further afield."

Associate Professor Bishop said the project was an opportunity to open people’s eyes to the “deep layers of history” along the peninsula.

"The Front Beach, Back Beach public art project was a chance to upend the familiar territory of our own backyard," Associate Professor Bishop said.

"Since coming back and researching the 15 sites and working with the team at MPRG, I have discovered some remarkable things about the place, as well as some uncanny things about my own and others' place in it."

The project is supported by the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund, which was established by the former federal government to support the arts and entertainment sector following the onset of COVID-19.

Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery will also host a special Front Beach, Back Beach exhibition from December 10 to February 19, 2023, when the public art installation wraps up.

MPRG Director, Danny Lacy, who along with Professor Cross and Associate Professor Bishop is also an artistic director of FBBB, said the project was the "most ambitious public art project" that had ever been hosted on the peninsula.

"With substantial investment from the Federal Government’s RISE Fund, MPRG has partnered with Deakin University's Public Art Commission to develop and deliver the most ambitious public art project ever presented across the Mornington Peninsula," Mr Lacy said.

"Unlocking the multifarious histories and stories of 15 unique places across the Peninsula, contemporary artworks act as markers, inviting new perspectives of the landscape."

For more information on the artists and program, visit the Front Beach, Back Beach website: https://fbbb.com.au/

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Media release Faculty of Arts and Education, School of Communication and Creative Arts