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  • Ray Monde

What happened in 2023? Year in review.

The year is winding down. Take a breath and look back. Despite the endless wars and heartache, there’s a lot of good things going on. Here’s my top 5 things that happened this year and sneaky peek at 2024. I’d love to know how the year has been for you, too!



1. Igniting the streets of Seattle with two major art installations.

I created two major public art installations on the streets of Seattle, hosted artist talks and created some of the biggest works I have ever made.



The installations, titled The Reckoning and When You Are Long Gone, I’ll Still Be Here show how landforms dwarf us as we go about our lives – a reminder of our diminutive position in the Pacific North West. The artwork puts into perspective our everyday concerns, encouraging a longer term view, nurturing and responding to the natural world around us. Made in conjunction with Seattle Restored and Shunpike Storefronts. Watch my in-depth interview here.



2. Fighting the erosion of queer rights at Cloud Gallery.

2023 was a year for turning back hard-won LGBQTI+ rights in many states in the USA. From HB1557 ‘Don’t Say Gay’ in Florida, the banning of almost 300 books that present LGBTQ+ characters or themes and criminalising drag performances.


In response to this, I created a collection of subversive vessels, Gay Pots, that capture my rage at these increasingly restrictive laws. They were exhibited as part of the Queer as Hill exhibition at The Cloud Gallery in Capitol Hill.


3. Finalist in two prestigious art awards in Australia.

For artists, there’s some art awards we covet as a recognition of the integrity of our art practice. As a twice finalist in the Blake Prize and a finalist in the Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize, I’d long yearned to exhibit as part of Still: National Still Life Award and the Naked & Nude Art Prize. This year, I managed to show in both.


Don’t Know What We’ve Lost, an 80cm high papier-mâché and collage tulipierre showcasing endangered Australian flora.


Down the Wombat Hole: a 120cm high self-portrait tumbling down into a wombat hole on the banks of the Shoalhaven River.



4. Created two massively detailed 2 metre high wall panels for Fathom Gallery.

One of Seattle’s leading architectural firms, Fathom Architecture, called together six of Seattle’s most innovative artists to create two large scale works each on birch board to showcase in Fathom Gallery, an off-shoot of their practice to support local artists. My works, Dreaming of Immortality and Gazing Across the Void are on show as part of this collaboration.



5. Wes Anderson-inspired Seattle scenes for Watson Kennedy.

Ted Kennedy Watson is the arbiter of style in Seattle and it is such a joy for me to showcase and sell my work in his two downtown establishments. I love making these Salty Scenes of Seattle, little vignettes of things I see as I cross the Puget Sound on the ferry between my home on Bainbridge Island and my studio in Pioneer Square.



What’s in store for 2024?

There’s a lot happening in 2024, I can’t talk about everything at the moment but I can let you know that early in the year, I have my first show at Tyger Gallery in Yass with beautifully brightly coloured landscapes celebrating Wee Jasper and the Yass Valley. Make sure you sign up for the newsletter at Tyger Gallery so you don’t miss out.


I also have a suite of new works heading to Michael Reid Southern Highlands, so make sure you keep up to date with them so you find out when the new pieces are available.


As the year wraps up, I hope you have a very peaceful Christmas, hug everyone a little tighter. Let me know how the year has been for you and I can’t wait to share the adventures that lie ahead for us!



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