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Podcast: In the Shed exhibition

In today’s podcast episode we take an in depth look at the In the Shed exhibition with Rebecca McDuff from Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery and Wendy Zunker of Creative Regions.

The In the Shed exhibition, curated by Creative Regions, is a celebration of that humble structure found in backyards and fields across regional Queensland, and the importance it holds for the men that call it theirs.

Creative Regions visited the sheds of 17 men from Childers, Apple Tree Creek, Cordalba, Farnsfield, Burnett Heads and Bundaberg for the In the Shed exhibition. 

You can also listen on Google, Apple, Spotify, TuneIn or your favourite podcast app.

Podcast transcript

Gennavieve Lyons 0:04
Hello and welcome to the Bundaberg now podcast brought to you by Bundaberg Regional Council. I'm your host Genevieve Lyons and on today's show we hear from Rebecca McDuff from the Bundaberg regional Art Gallery. Rebecca speaks with Wendy Zunker of Creative Regions for an in depth look at the In the Shed exhibition. In the Shed, curated by Creative Regions is a celebration of that humble structure found in backyards and fields across regional Queensland and the importance it holds for the men that call it theirs. Creative Regions visited the sheds of 17 men from Childers, Apple Tree Creek, Cordalba, Farnsfield, Burnett Heads and Bundaberg for the In the Shed exhibition.

Rebecca McDuff 0:46
Hi, it's Rebecca McDuff, Gallery Director for Bundaberg Regional Galleries and today I'm really pleased to be chatting to Wendy Zunker, associate producer for Creative Regions and curator of In the Shed our current exhibition in Gallery Two. Good morning Wendy.

Wendy Zunker 1:00
Good morning Bec.

Rebecca McDuff 1:02
So this exhibition is something a little bit different. It's a community exhibition, but it's also got a really interesting history. Do you want to tell us a little bit about the background to it?

Wendy Zunker 1:11
Okay, to start from the beginning, Bec, this In the Shed was actually a concept from back maybe 2015. We did a project over at Oodies, and we were releasing a book that we did for following the floods, Strength In Words. And there was a woman at that book launch, who told me that her husband had lost his shed in the floods. And everybody at the time seemed very focused on their, on what they lost in their homes. And this woman had told me that her husband had lost his little shed, and all the memories that went along with it of his father, because his father worked in the shed with him. He lost all the tools, the little study pencils, the crayons and all those special things that weren't expensive, but were special. And she was quite teary about it. So it just kind of got me thinking about how important sheds are to men.

Rebecca McDuff 2:05
Yeah, it's I really like I mean, there's been sort of talk I know, I've heard quite a few things over the years of that. And obviously, we had a whole Men's Shed project as a bigger project, but they really are a space that have allowed men to be themselves and like you said, connect in an intergenerational way. Did you find that as you started the project?

Wendy Zunker 2:25
Yes. A couple of men that we interviewed, did work in their sheds with their their sons, I guess. And they had a relationship in the shed with their sons, because I guess it's a place where I guess conversationally, you might not bring up a topic around the dinner table, but you're happy to just to, to shoot the breeze, so to speak, in the shed around a topic that yeah, might be a bit… don't know what the word is…

Rebecca McDuff 2:54
Yeah, I know the word you mean, it's like, you know, it's that, I guess it's a little bit like what happens with women in those sort of, you know, when they get together, and they, you know, do art together, or they do a craft together, you know, the whole, you know, quilting circles and those things, it's a similar concept, isn't it? Our hands are busy. And now we can just let go a little bit emotionally together.

Wendy Zunker 3:14
That's right.

Rebecca McDuff 3:15
Yeah. Beautiful. So now, in the actual work, when people visit the gallery, what are they actually going to see in this exhibition?

Wendy Zunker 3:22
Okay. What you will actually see is 17 portraits of men, which our photographer Sabrina, Lauriston took in the sheds, in the sheds of those men. And there will also be a podcast QR code, so you can listen to the stories at the same time.

Rebecca McDuff 3:42
And is there a story for each of the photographs?

Wendy Zunker 3:44
Yeah, each photograph has a story. They've all been played on ABC Wide Bay, but you can listen to them on our podcast site as well.

Rebecca McDuff 3:52
Fantastic. That's wonderful. I think when I've walked through the exhibition, and I've been watching people interact with that exhibition, I think what's really interesting is that that whole having an audio component, so hearing the men's voices, and then looking at the beautiful black and white photographs that Sabrina has taken, people are really engaging with this exhibition on a on a more of a level and they're also spending longer in this space. Was that something that was intentional for you?

Wendy Zunker 4:21
I think that what I thought was special about the exhibition was the man very ordinary. And I don't mean that in like a degrading way. I just mean that everybody can relate to them because they were just men who hung out in the shed and they weren't famous. They weren't known for anything in particular around town, but they all have a story. I do remember, we had the prints just laying on the table in the office and we had some women in the office and one of the women said to me ‘Ah, the hairs on my arms have just stood up', she said ‘I just looked at that photo, it's just brought back all the memories of my dad in his shed'. So, yeah, there's a few, there's been a few moments like that where I think, yeah.

Rebecca McDuff 5:08
It's very relatable exhibition. And I guess from a gallery perspective, we have loved having it because it's brought in people who wouldn't normally come into a gallery. And that's something that we're really focused on is making sure that our space is really open to all of the community and that everyone feels comfortable there. And I've just watched this wonderful procession of men, some who've been in the photographs, some who've known men in the photographs, or some who have just been interested in sheds to been traipsing up the stairs into gallery two and spending time looking and I've heard a few giggles coming out as well as they look at it as men, do they look at the background shots as well, and what's behind it. Because it was, there was some amazing stuff in the background of some of those photographs as well.

Wendy Zunker 5:50
That's right, I think that's very true that a lot of men will come up there, and they won't be looking at the faces. That will be maybe some of the women or the the artists or photographers or but I think the men will be looking in the background going, oh, what's he got in his shed?

Rebecca McDuff 6:04
Absolutely. I think that's part of it.

Wendy Zunker 6:07
You know, when we we had a little, little mini exhibition last year in Childers of just the 12 men who came from the Childers part of the project. And we told them, or we asked them do not dress up for the interview and do not clean up. And so they're all very good. They all just were as is. But when we had the exhibition opening, they all came really dressed are like they felt that I think I would use the word chuffed. They felt chuffed that they were part of this exhibition, they brought their families. And yeah.

Rebecca McDuff 6:43
I think that that's absolutely and that's, you know, that's part of it. It's part of what, that's what I love about where art is moving now, you know, do you feel too that that's moving into a space that it's not elitism, it's about a community space. And it's about engaging the community, on different levels with the arts process, and I know Creative Regions is really passionate about that.

Wendy Zunker 7:04
I do agree. Like, I feel like people talk about this as an exhibition. But to me In the Shed, is not an exhibition, it was a project, a community project that had an exhibition as an outcome. It's kinda like you made a cake, and you put the icing on the top. So yeah, to me, it's just the exhibition is beautiful, but it was sort of stories behind it. And it's the purpose of the exhibition or the purpose of the project, which is important.

Rebecca McDuff 7:30
Yeah.

Wendy Zunker 7:31
And, yeah, we've had some really lovely stories from the men who have been one of like, one of the men said to me, that he'd been contacted after his interview played on ABC, Wide Bay, that somebody had contacted him to speak about his story in his shed with his son because of the relationship they had and just wanted some advice and stuff. So it's kind of there's all these little things that have come out of the project that you don't see, yeah, in the exhibition that but behind the scenes, you know, have been a consequence.

Rebecca McDuff 8:06
Like social outcomes, and I think that that's a special. I think that's special and I think that that's, as I said, that's something that I think the arts now, you know, we're becoming so aware of the role of the arts in that role of social wellbeing and I think this exhibition is a beautiful example of that.

Gennavieve Lyons 8:24
I've been to this exhibition twice now and believe it is definitely worth a look. I hope you've enjoyed this week's podcast. Be sure to check out the In the Shed exhibition, which runs till June 20. And join me next week for more stories from across the region. Bye for now.

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