COMING TO CASULA | Wendy Harmer’s latest big gig

Wendy Harmer goes through some of the art pieces at Casula Powerhouse for her latest project. Picture: supplied
Wendy Harmer goes through some of the art pieces at Casula Powerhouse for her latest project. Picture: supplied

Former political journalist, ABC breakfast radio host and comedy legend Wendy Harmer is heading to Liverpool for her new, perhaps unexpected, big gig.

She’s set to curate a collection exhibition at the Casula Powerhouse Art Centre in November, Wendy Harmer Curates.

Today she visited the art centre to ignite the “therapeutic” process.

So what can we expect?

“I’m just going through the early stages at the moment. I went through a portion of the collection today and I’ve started choosing artworks – which is incredibly exciting. I’ve got a theme in mind but it’s a secret – hint, hint, hint,” she said.

“I’ve been to the Casula Powerhouse Art Centre before and it’s just such a great asset for the community. You can just tell how well it’s being used. There were lots of families and kids there and I thought, wow, this is going to be brilliant. So I’m looking forward to curating my own little exhibition.

“I had a lovely day going through the archives out the back, pulling out all the racks and looking at the pictures – it’s really special to go behind the scenes.”

Wendy said there will be a diverse range of works and some mystery objects. Picture: supplied

Wendy said there will be a diverse range of works and some mystery objects. Picture: supplied

She’s had an interesting career path over the years –  about which she said:

“Obviously, I missed my calling as an art curator – I should actually be charging the national gallery. Everyone who meets me knows that because I’m incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to art… not. I’m kidding, of course! But I’ve had a hand with paints myself and I do like my art. I’ve travelled the world looking at art. It looks easy, so surely I can do it,” she said with a chuckle.

“No, it actually looks really hard. It’s just a passion of mine. I wish I had the money to collect it but I just drag my poor daughter to galleries – I keep telling her we only have one more room to go. I’m sure she’ll come to have a look at my exhibition and then she’ll tell me why I’ve done a really bad job!

“I do like haunting art galleries, I must say. This is the first time I’ve been asked to curate a gallery so I’m beside myself with happiness.”

Wendy was asked to curate the gallery after she interviewed the then-new director of Casula Powerhouse last November. The gallery saw she had an interest and approached her soon after.

The former Big Gig host said it was the next thing on her list to tick off.

“You could say it’s my next big gig. Well it’s actually going to be a small one with only 20 or so pieces in there, but each one will be chosen with my extraordinary taste at the forefront so… not that I want to show off or anything like that. It’s going to be a bit of a mystery box.

I’ve told the Mayor of Liverpool to skip being named Lord Mayor, just be Queen Wendy. She can roll out the red carpet at the Badgerys Creek air-metropolis and they can all curtsy.

When asked if the gallery has changed her preconceptions of the area, she said the art really spoke to her.

“This is more of a diverse community than I realised. There’s the opportunity to explore those faces and cultures in art. And on the radio we talk about western Sydney all the time. There’s so much going on here. My son goes to Western Sydney University so I do get out here quite a bit. It’s the excitement machine of Sydney at the moment.”

She also made reference to the new airport or the “air-metropolis”.

“I’ve told the Mayor of Liverpool to skip being named Lord Mayor, just be Queen Wendy. There’s never been a Queen Wendy before and I think it’s got a nice ring to it, don’t you think? She can roll out the red carpet at the air-metropolis and they can all curtsy. Hmm, sounds good to me.”

Going back to her art exhibition she said there will be a diverse range of works and some mystery objects.

“It’s going to be a real mix of media and I might be having things from 100 years ago, right through to holograms, oil paintings and drawings… but it’s a secret. Liverpool has 5000 or more pieces and people aren’t very familiar with the collection so the point is choosing some surprising bits and putting it all together. It’s going to be a bit of a mystery.

“I’m going to be looking to go to the Tate at London after this. I think once people see this they’ll just be blown away! I’m looking forward to having fun with it.” 

  • The art exhibition is set to be ready by November 2. The launch date is November 4.