Bondi View

‘Artist-first ethos’: Bondi Pavilion artists showcased at heritage venue

The Bondi Pavilion will see seven artists in residence bring music and art ahead of restorations. Photo: Alec Smart.

By CHRISTINE LAI

The iconic Bondi Pavilion will be reopening its doors to the public, featuring its seven new ‘artists in residence’ that have brought together powerful and engaging art to the heritage venue.

The new housewarming artists had been selected to fill the spaces with ideas and artworks over the course of a 1–2-week residency, in support of the “artist-first ethos” as described by Waverley Council.

The program aims to provide a space for the creatives to collaborate with other artists, develop new ideas and engage with the local landmarks and community.

Local composer writes music for Bondi silent film

One of the housewarming artists includes composer and performer Elizabeth Jigalin who will be composing a new soundtrack to accompany the 1926 silent film Beautiful Bondi about the historical lives and surrounds of Waverley residents. 

Jigalin is interested in silent film and has composed soundtracks for old silent films overseas and performed at the Australian Silent Film Festival. When asked what her vision for the Housewarming Program involved, Jigalin said that she wanted to develop a new soundtrack for the silent film but find a story closer to home.

Elizabeth Jigalin

Elizabeth Jigalin will be composing a soundtrack for Beautiful Bondi (1926). Photo: Waverley Council.

She recalls finding silent documentary film Beautiful Bondi (1926) on the National Film And Sound Archive (NFSA), which  inspired her to find potential in bringing a “black and white film to colour through something new”.

Speaking of places that she recognises which surround the Bondi Pavilion, Jigalin added that this film seemed like the perfect fit in “synthesising a lot of the ideas that I feel as an artist” and would be able to use the opportunity to work with local musicians through the residency.

“It feels like a series of puzzle pieces coming together quite nicely,” Jigalin said.

Jigalin also describes the role of music in silent film as freeing in that there is no competition with dialogue.

“The structure [of Beautiful Bondi] really inspired me to compose quite a playful soundtrack that will accompany the film.”

Jigalin is most inspired by her peers and the Sydney music community, stating that “composing music now is a living process, we’re making music now as a group of creators” and hopes that the  collective storytelling will come through during her housewarming residency.

In composing something new for an old medium, “there’s the opportunity for people to listen to something perhaps unexpected,” Jigalin said.

She describes Beautiful Bondi as ephemeral and hopes that the final composition will leave viewers “enjoying the sound of local musicians bringing the soundtrack to life.”

Jigalin said use of the Bondi Pavilion for art makes it “fantastic to have the space to create, experiment and collaborate with the artists.”

Bondi Pavilion restoration

Some key features of the conservation and restoration of the heritage venue include new cultural spaces including the ‘Bondi Story Room’, landscaped internal courtyard spaces, two dining venues, and upgrades to the Pavilion’s existing rooms.

Bondi Pavilion

The Bondi Pavilion is set to see restorations complete int he near future. Photo: Waverley Council.

The Pavilion restoration was designed by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer architects (TZG) who have aimed to celebrate the landmark heritage while providing residents with a “contemporary multi-purpose community and cultural facility centre”.

The design is centred around extending a connection between Campbell Parade to Bondi Beach, integrating both indoor and outdoor spaces and commemorating the history of the building.

Waverley Council will be hosting a community event later this year to exhibit the Pavilion’s revamped art hubs and cultural spaces.

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