The Shirley Hannan social rounds….

Well darls, we’re gunna make like the Canberra Times and bring you the Shirley Hannan post in the final week of the exhibition(!)

It’s been super hyper down in the old Burg de Bega and we’ve barely had time to  get the culture mulcher cranked up. But here, at last, are the snippets from the last month –  and we are talking snippets, schveeties – most of the time we’ve been far too distracted to even remember the camera…

Never mind. The Shirley Hannan was bigger and better than ever before (we do take this on general advisement) and it’s been an incredible ride  – irrefutable evidence of the very real and abiding affection held by the community for the Award’s late patroness. Shirley continues to provide the glue for the local arts community.

175 entries, 35 finalists – five of which were locals; something that would have pleased her no end. There was a serious buzz right from the get-go. At least a third of the interstate finalists travelled for the media launch/opening/traditional Artists’ Lunch (the following day.) And what an enjoyable reunion it was – which of course has become one of the salient features of the Shirley Hannan, that sense of collegiate bonhomie. This was, for example, Raelene Sharp’s 6th consecutive hang as a finalist, representing an association of some 12 years standing. She wouldn’t miss it for the world, she reckons.

Proceedings kicked off with the media launch; perfect photo opps for all concerned and the first point of contact for the attending finalists…



After which the artists repaired to the pub for lunch and an afternoon bonding session (which the Gang was sorry to miss)  and the BVRG went into lockdown while Michael Desmond got into the nitty-gritty  of the judging – a task which nobody envied him. It was an incredibly strong field and he clearly wrestled long and hard over his decision.

Which of course wasn’t revealed until about halfway through the evening’s opening, by which time the capacity crowd (close to 200) had worked itself into a veritable lather of anticipation…



Needless to say it was a fairly big night – followed by a very civilized recovery luncheon the following day at Thornliegh-on-Newtown, hosted by Brian Settle and the Shirley Hannan Trust. The Artists’ Lunch had been held by Shirley since the early ’90’s, a tradition that’s been continued by Brian. Held in honour of the finalists, it’s become a celebration and tribute to Shirley herself in many ways and is one of the most enjoyable events on the SH program.




And ever since it’s been a huge month of high gallery visitation (as one would expect.) The highlight mid-way was the ARTspeak with winner Neil Moore…



What a wonderful floortalk, it was – and what an erudite speaker he is. He brought something, dare we say it, that we rarely see down this neck of the woods – intellectual rigour! Goodness, what a concept. Though with buckets of charm (reminded us of a young Patrick McCaughey, actually.) Fabulous.

And then, just as Megsie was thinking things couldn’t possibly get any better, in popped her two favourite pollies…



Happy, happy, joy, joy.

Thanks Shirley, it’s been a cracker year.

Glimpses of the good times here.

The background (in case you missed it) here.

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