Ken Done speaks at the Grafton Regional Gallery's 30th birthday celebration, including the opening of his new exhibition.
Ken Done speaks at the Grafton Regional Gallery's 30th birthday celebration, including the opening of his new exhibition. Adam Hourigan

Blasphemy and big laughs at gallery's birthday

THERE were familiar faces, and kinds words from the past, but the message at the Grafton Regional Gallery's 30th birthday celebration was that the best was yet to come.

Coinciding with the opening of the gallery's three current exhibitions, on the night, the story of the gallery's history was told by Cr Peter Ellem, and director of the gallery Niomi Sands read tributes from past gallery directors Susi Muddiman and Angela Wong.

The cake is cut for the 30th birthday of the Grafton Regional Gallery by Gallery Foundation chairman Rod Watters, gallery director Niomi Sands, Ken Done, Friends of the Gallery chairperson Heather brown and Cr Peter Ellem.
The cake is cut for the 30th birthday of the Grafton Regional Gallery by Gallery Foundation chairman Rod Watters, gallery director Niomi Sands, Ken Done, Friends of the Gallery chairperson Heather brown and Cr Peter Ellem. Adam Hourigan

SUBSCRIBER CONTENT: Three members of the Friends of the Gallery were awarded life memberships on the night.

Gallery patron and iconic artist Ken Done was the guest speaker, and paid tribute to the gallery, saying it was a wonderful gallery in a wonderful town.

"It will only get stronger as well, given the wonderful government grant,” he said.

Mr Done regaled the crowd with many irreverent stories of his artwork, including his "blasphemous” artwork that included his dog, and his sneaky inclusion on a stamp.

He also cheekily paid tribute to the Daily Examiner, and how much enjoyment he gained from it as a young boy growing up in Maclean, though perhaps not in the traditional sense.

His exhibition "Paintings You Probably Haven't Seen” is hanging in the main gallery, and Mr Done said that he was thrilled to see them arranged within the space and the gallery.

"It continues to remind me,” he said pausing for effect, "I'm pretty good.”

"I'm 78, and I should know what I'm doing by now,” he said to the laughter of the gathered crowd.

The gallery's courtyard was filled with people attending the birthday celebration, and was concluded with a cake cutting to mark the birthday occasion.



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