As the shops begin to fill with scenes of Christmas – falling snowflakes, robins and holly sprigs, fairy-lit trees, roaring fireplaces and other wintery scenes, HOTA’s Christmas Commission encourages Gold Coast artists to reimagine Christmas in a more contemporary way.
As part of a fresh approach to the annual tradition of seasonal decorations, the HOTA Christmas Commission takes the form of installations in and across our precinct.
While it’s not unusual for cultural institutions to commission artists to be involved – think the Victoria and Albert Museum Christmas tree – HOTA encourages the artists to explore what Christmas means to them and express this as a new artwork. It’s the perfect way for HOTA to support Gold Coast based artists, because who knows Christmas in Queensland better than the locals?
When local collective Makers Take accepted the 2018 Commission they shared what the Christmas season meant to them. ‘For us, the conclusion was that Christmas time is about togetherness. Australians embrace a hot Christmas holiday; relaxing by the beach, with family and friends, and makings connections with our community. As a nation we follow this trend of coming together at Christmas time to catch up.’ They pushed this idea – togetherness, to its simplest form, which resulted in The Forum, their first commission.
In preparing for the Christmas Commission Makers Take commented: ‘Instead of a sculpture we wanted to create an installation that reflects the modern Australian festive season. We explored sculptural-like furniture pieces that would act as a forum point in a prominent community space to promote more dialogue – not just between families and friends, but also strangers.’
The chosen location for the commission is lakeside, behind the new Outdoor Stage, making use of the BBQs and shade from the trees. The Forum offers community engagement and play; ‘our intentions are to encourage people to talk and easily interact the way that children do on a playground.’
Criena Gehrke, HOTA CEO, said ‘I love how Makers Take have presented contemporary interactive pieces that riffs on the nostalgic Australian Christmas, just add a sprinkler, Neapolitan ice-cream in cones, backyard cricket and the extended family.’
The like-minded Gold Coast designers and crafts-persons of Makers Take are Lisa Kajewski, Chris Miller, Daniel Wilson, Tim Wilson, Jay Jermyn and CJ Anderson. Producing new ideas for projects is what this small team specialise in, each holding various practices – furniture design, ceramics, residential and commercial building design, product design, visual arts and music composition.
A great example of homegrown Gold Coast entrepreneurs, the super six behind the brand identified and chose to address the gap in the market, creating pathways for makers and designers on the coast. They do this under the banner of Makers Take, reconfiguring into an exhibition platform for creatives across South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales. They have produced three shows in Burleigh, Coolangatta and Brisbane, showcasing more than 20 local and national designers in their first year.
By designing playful stadium-like seating arrangements Makers Take have created a sense of place that welcomes you to come and explore the forms and relax on the netting.
The commission invites you to come to HOTA, bring a picnic, have a BBQ, share a book, take some selfies, but above all to come together this Christmas at The Forum.
While you’re enjoying wandering around our tropical parklands you can also revisit last year’s ‘Lil Dusty installation by Dion Parker on the Terrace from early December.
The annual Christmas Commission is one way in which HOTA, Home of the Arts celebrates and supports Gold Coast based artists. Commissioning artists to make seasonal artworks aligns with our strategic direction and demonstrates our approach as leaders in contemporary cultural practice.
The collection of commissions will grow annually. Each year is an opportunity to bring out the growing collection, revisiting the works, and experimenting with new methods of display and exploring our growing site.
The 2018 HOTA Christmas Commission, The Forum, can be found in the precinct from Sat 1 Dec 2018 to Mon 14 Jan 2019.