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Life in Working Art


The install crew of Hazelhurst would be chuffed if you came and said hello Sunday 11 November following the opening of the Weapons for the Soldier exhibition.

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Winner – Open Section, 2018 GreenWay Prize


‘Cook Ku’, 2018, oil on hemp, 90cm(h) x 100 cm(w).

The painting and not the painter won the 2018 GreenWay Prize, Open Section. Apparently it caught the three judges ‘eye’ and appealed to either the academic, the material or emotional. And so it goes.

The painter will be ensconced in a year long supported studio residency at the White Creek Cottage. Come say hello some time.

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Finalist in the 2018 Fishers Ghost Prize, Open section.


28 September 2018

Gilbert Grace – ‘The Raw’ 2018 oil on cotton with frame 64 x 54 cm.

Good to be entering competitions again. I had been away from the easel for a bit following my MFA, tidying up various projects and without studio space. Feeling the need to mess with paint again I rented a studio in The Nest, which has since moved from its original address on Botany Rd near Green Square up the road to 76 Botany Rd, Waterloo.

I continued working on the James Cook theme and this painting “The Raw” was one of a pair, the other painting “The Cooked” being sold on the night of the Open Studio in July 2018. Obvious citation of Levi Strauss and the enduring power of myth and storytelling.

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The “Cementa Gate”


13 November 2016


Ann Finnigan, Alex Wisser, Cr. Sam Paine and artist Gilbert Grace at the unveiling of the Cementa Gate, Kandos, NSW. Photo: Tim Burns.

Part of the Kandos School of Cultural Adaptation’s “Hemp Initiative”, a hempcrete wall is built on a property facing Angus Avenue, Kandos. It functions as a symbolic gateway to Kandos and a monument to the role Cementa will play now and in the future.

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Introducing bamboo & hemp bicycles – KSCA


Singgih on Sydney Green Ring

Gilbert Grace is the artist leading the Hemp Initiative, who first suggested the idea of realising Ian Milliss’ poster artwork “Welcome To Kandos” as a real world enterprise – “making the fantasy a reality”. He recently became acquainted with Singgih Susilo Kartono, an Indonesian Designer who is also using the allure of the bamboo bicycle to drive social justice and sustainability at the village scale.

I had the good fortune to be introduced to Java-based designer Singgih Kartono and his partner Tri Wahyuni through Ali Crosby. Ali is the Director of Interdisciplinary Studies at UTS and founding member of Frontyard Projects, and Indonesian Design Futures. Earlier this year I had a research inaugural residency in ‘Get a Room’ at Frontyard Projects and, in between tidying up my MFA thesis and new research topics, I worked with Ali and Clare Cooper putting together the permaculture garden and pallet garden. We discussed all manner of future projects but especially Cementa 17, and my proposal to realise Ian Milliss’s “Welcome To Kandos” poster from Cementa 13.

Since I proposed realising Milliss’s propositions to Alex Wisser, Co-Director of Cementa, as my project for Cementa 17, the project has developed a life of its own as Kandos School of Cultural Adaptation (KSCA). My initial point of engagement with Ian’s poster was the bicycle, a plywood framed number I recalled seeing in one or other of the online design newsletters I subscribe to.


Designer plywood bike featured in Ian Milliss ‘Welcome to Kandos’ poster for Cement13.


My research led me to bamboo bikes, which have been around since the late 1800s. The precursor of all modern bicycles is the timber draisienne of the 1820s, the original ‘balance bike’. The frames of modern bamboo bikes are held together by hemp and eco-epoxy (plant based), a design perfected by frame-builder Craig Calfee in the 1990s. It was obvious that the hemp and bamboo combination was a perfect starting point for my residency, KSCA’s first land-based art residency. So we set about obtaining the right to legally grow a hemp crop with a long term aim of “growing-our-own” bicycles.


D.I.Y Bamboobee kit


A few weeks ago I assembled a prototype bamboo/hemp bicycle, using a kit bought online. It attracts a lot of attention and I am constantly engaged by people in public as to its origin and manufacture.  

Singgih’s design practice concentrates on heirloom quality, personal items. He sources materials locally, to be sold and/or used locally. Rather than exporting products, Singgih exports his design ethos and skills. He is establishing a network of like-minded individuals to work collectively to establish business ventures that provide local employment and satisfy local consumer needs.

In his own village in Central Java, Singgih has built a live-in design hub, training and employing locals. Now he is spearheading a movement called the International Conference on Village Revitalisation. This model offers real hope of developing skills and resources for sustainable resilience combining retro-innovation and cultural adaptation.



Singgih in the Giant Bamboo grove in Callan Park.


Singgih is in Sydney this week, leading the Bamboo Bike Hack at Makerspace in Marrickville, I will be assisting him and providing my own input. Yesterday (Thursday) Singgih and I did a tour of the Sydney Green Ring. The ring is an ongoing project to promote a network of off-road cycle and walking paths through Sydney’s riparian, green space.


Singgih’s bamboo bike workshop at Makerspace.


Another Futureland 2 participant, Kirsten Bradley, has experience Singgih’s hospitality and ingenuity and written about tempe and revitilisation, the food not the place – although the place, on the Cooks River, is also undergoing a revitalisation of its own, as Singgih and I found out on our recent tour.

Gilbert Grace


For more about Singgih Kartono and his various projects please go to:



Spegadi on facebook

Spedagi Ato – Yamaguchi, Japan (video)

Homecoming for Upcoming ICVR – SPEDAGI (video)

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“current see” – Accelerator Gallery, 21 – 29 May 2016


current see final

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“Street Stories” – Delmar Gallery, Summer Hill



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“Deep Green and Bright Blue” – Downing



Room sheet – a list of works – all prices in Au$.

Meetup – Deep Green and Bright Blue, Saturday 14 November.

Meetup – Inner West Food and Art Trail, Saturday 28 November.

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“Deep Green and Bright Blue”


Deep Green and Bright Blue

Gilbert Grace ‘Deep Green and Bright Blue’

Big FAG Press

Archway 4, Chapman Rd, Glebe.

12 – 26 September 2015.

Hours: 10 – 4, Tue – Sat.

Closing drinks: 3pm Saturday 26 Sep.

The exhibition will evolve with the incorporation of works in progress, please come to the closing drinks for the viewing of the final show. Oils, works on paper, experimental prints and curated bicycle tours. Details here

Install week 1

Room sheet with notes for the images here.






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Selected for Art on Paper 2015 at Hazelhurst


“The 2015 Hazelhurst Art on Paper Award attracted over 1500 entries by more than 750 artists.”

Submitted three entries for Art on Paper this time around. Have had a very productive few months so had enough work of quality to hopefully get one up. Check the website for details. It’s an awesome line up. 30 May  – 26 July 2015.

Hazelhurst Art on Paper 2015


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