On the Couch with Raquel Ormella 

Raquel Ormella AAR On the Couch - photo by Andy MullensWho is Raquel Ormella?
Raquel Ormella is a Canberra based artist who is the Honours Convenor at the School of Art & Design – ANU, and has a studio at Australian National Capital Artists (ANCA) in Dickson.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I would build an extensive cat run around the School of Art & Design – ANU, where I work, and have a troop of support cats.

Who inspires you and why?
Many of fellow artists who are making great work. It inspires me that people keep going and continue to make imaginative work that reveals the world to me in different ways: Sarah Goffman, Madeleine Kelly, Ruth Waller, Alison Alder, Karla Dickens, Dale Harding, Nell, Lisa Radford, Helen Johnson, and Soda Jerk.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Make the education of women the number one priority across the world, introduce a basic wage, ban single use plastic, ban land clearing, ban coal seam gas, protect the Pilliga Forest in NSW, get rid of strike laws, take real governmental action on moving away from fossil fuels.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
National Park campsites on the NSW South Coast – especially Gillards Beach in Mimosa Rocks – deserted in the off season, wild oceans, beautiful forests, low stress camping, and letting it all go.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
If they have come to Canberra to see an exhibition, then it will be the round of national institutions, but if it is a break from art, then I take them to Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve at the top of Canberra. This large woodland reserve has been enclosed by a predator proof fence, and locally extinct birds, reptiles and mammals such as quolls and bettongs, have been re-introduced. It is a very special place and I feel a deep sense of calm when I am there.

What are you currently reading?
I am spending lots of time in the studio so audio books keep me company. I have just finished The Eighties: The Decade That Transformed Australia by Frank Bongiorno, narrated by Bryan Dawe; and Depends What You Mean By Extremist by John Safran, narrated by John Safran.

What are you currently listening to?
Lots of podcasts my regular favourites are Criminal, You Must Remember This and Crime Writers On… I also loved the first series of Slow Burn: A Podcast About Watergate, and the still unfolding Caliphate by Rukmini Callimachi.

Happiness is?
A long conversation with a dear friend over a good cup of Earl Grey Tea with a ginger cat on my lap.

What does the future hold for you?
Following my exhibition, I hope you get this at Shepparton Art Museum, it will tour to several regional galleries including Horsham and Noosa – so I am planning some bird watching trips to coincide with the openings – can’t wait to add some new birds to my Australian life list.

Raquel’s exhibition I hope you get this is currently on display at Shepparton Art Museum until 12 August. For more information, visit: www.sheppartonartmuseum.com.au for details. Raquel will also present an artist-led practical workshop as part of Twitch ‘n Stitch on Saturday 14 July 2018.

Image: Raquel Ormella – photo by Andy Mullens


A NETS Victoria and Shepparton Art Museum touring exhibition, I hope you get this: Raquel Ormella will tour across Australia 2018-2020: Horsham Regional Art Gallery (VIC) 13 October – 9 December 2018; Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (TAS) 19 January – 24 March 2019; Drill Hall Gallery (ACT) 12 April – 9 June 2019; Noosa Regional Art Gallery (QLD) 22 June – 28 July 2019; and Penrith Regional Gallery (NSW) 30 November 2019 – 2 February 2020.

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