You can have any colour as long as it’s red
  • Friday 12 March 2021
Mona Ryder Fragile Gardens

Never has an artist been so in-tune with their chosen pallet than Mona Ryder – whose vibrant red works are instantly recognisable by art lovers all over the world.

Her work is a feast for the eyes and a treat for the soul and it’ll be all eyes on Nambour as this internationally acclaimed Australian artist presents her Fragile Gardens exhibition at the Old Ambulance Station from 13 March–17 April.

The exhibition is part of Sunshine Coast Councils’ fabric slow fashion artful living program – a three-year Regional Arts Development Fund project celebrating the extraordinary talents of our region’s artists, designers and change-makers.

Mona Ryder said her work weaved in and out of the past and present, often referencing previous exhibitions both conceptually and physically. And a quick google search will bring forth the most sumptuous images of Mona’s work and this exhibition is no exception.

“Fragile Gardens is an installation of an unknown future, anxious anticipations, rites of passage and dreamlike rituals,” Ms Ryder said.

“I invite you to enter an enigmatic setting that seems as though it may have the possibility to come alive – certainly nothing is as it seems or should be.

“I find materials fascinating, especially recycled or found objects that bring with them their own history.

“That’s particularly relevant as exhibiting here (on the sunshine coast?) is like revisiting my childhood, having spent many precious childhood years here.”

Artfully Art Curator Beth Jackson said she recalled seeing the exhibition 'Mona Ryder: A Survey' curated by Dr Nancy Underhill at the University Art Museum, University of Queensland back in 1984.

“I was just a student studying art history and this show made a deep impression on me. It was the first exhibition I had seen that I could describe as feminist – expressing a woman's embodied voice in a bold materiality,” Ms Jackson said.

“The painted wooden ironing boards and other sculptural assemblages that incorporated domestic items were radical.

“This was before the rise of installation art and these strange forms that spoke of home life, child rearing, sexuality, interpersonal politics and emotional work were just amazing.

“Of course I had seen Judy Chicago's 'Dinner Party' and Georgia O'Keefe's magnificent flower paintings in books, but this was right here in Brisbane ... truly inspirational to this young woman and budding feminist.”

Sunshine Coast Council portfolio councillor Rick Baberowski said as well as visiting Mona’s exhibition, visitors were invited to a full program of activities.

“There will be a range of opportunities to get involved including an official opening, one-on-one sessions with the nationally acclaimed artist or a long table dinner,” Cr Baberowski said.

“Fabric is an initiative of the Sunshine Coast Arts Plan that aims to strengthen the arts ecology in the region.”

Exhibition Events

16 March, 10–11am
Coffee and Conversation tickets are free, but bookings are essential on council’s website.

16 March,  6–8pm
Long Table Dinner hosted by The Old Ambulance Station,
80 Howard St, Nambour
An evening of artful camaraderie and conversation where guests will enjoy the dulcet tones of cellist Louise King amidst the sartorial splendour of Mona’s Fragile Garden installations.
For information and bookings for this free event, visit

1 April from 9.20am
Peer Dialogue Sessions for practising artists. These sessions offer a unique opportunity to spend one-on-one time with Mona Ryder. During a half hour informal meeting, artists will be able to discuss and explore artistic practice, concepts and practicalities relevant to their area of creative practice.
These sessions are free to encourage peer dialogue and creative development of emerging and established artists and creative practitioners. Spaces are limited and registrations are essential. Visit council’s website