About the AIR program

In 2008 the Sydney Heritage Fleet in conjunction with the Australian Society of Marine Artists inaugurated an Artist in Residence programme. The Sydney Heritage Fleet museum recognises that Marine Art is an important adjunct to its core activities of the recording of maritime history and events and restoration and operation of historic vessels.

The selected artist spends three to four months at the Museum sites on a minimum basis of, say, three days per week. The museum provides secure studio space on the top deck of the historic Sydney harbour ferry Kanangra, which is berthed adjacent to the Museum’s restoration and maintenance yard in Blackwattle Bay. The artist is given freedom of the site as well as other museum locations, to choose and record activities and is given the opportunity to travel in museum ships when they are operating. They are interviewed for the Fleet’s magazine and the ASMA newsletter, and the ends with an exhibition of work produced during the tenure.

The aim is for the artist to feel a part of the Museum’s work force, which is generally made up from volunteers, and that he or she would involve them in the AIR programme and activities.

2012: this year the program has taken a different format.

Hitherto.... our Artist in Residence was a solitary artist, appointed for a period of 3 to 4 months to record activity at the Fleet’s shipyard at Blackwattle Bay, Sydney. So far we have had two artists and a sculptor.

Each programme culminated with exhibitions that provided funds for the Fleet’s restoration programme. As a corporate member of the SHF, the ASMA sees this programme as a practical demonstration of this alliance plus a tangible activity to support our mission, the promotion of Marine Art in Australia.

In explanation of the word ‘residence’, the artist does not ‘live in’. They do however have a dedicated ‘studio’ in part of the top deck of the ex. Sydney ferry Kanangra, one of the Fleet’s restoration projects, where they can get organised and complete paintings that may have been interrupted by rain or too much sun.

To prevent the programme becoming ho-hum, we decided to introduce a different dimension last year and appointed a Writer in Residence, Jenetta Russell. It was recognised that the Writer’s tenure should not be finite as there was a continuous need to verbally record the restoration processes as they occurred.

This year... We have decided to have multiple artists in residence with a discriminatory restriction — No Men Allowed!

The following lady members have agreed to take part:

• Suzanne Alexander
• Jane Bennett
• Monika Brooks
• Marijke Greenway
• Jan Harrington-Johnson
• Christine Hill
• Leonora Howlett
• Brenda Kitteridge
• Gwendolin Lewis
• Elena Parashko
• Jan Sindel-Hand.

Christine Hill will be co-ordinating the program and our Writer, Jenetta Russell will engage with the artists to record those impressions that cannot be transferred to canvas.

It will be interesting to see how this largely man’s world of ship restoration is viewed through the eyes of these ladies.

The exhibition will open on Saturday 17th November running until Sunday 25th, hopefully at the Australian National Maritime Museum.