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Exhibitions showcase powering down of Liddell

Concurrent exhibitions in Muswellbrook and Singleton will display the responses of 16 artists invited to respond creatively to the process of closure and decommissioning of the Upper Hunter’s iconic Liddell power station.


The “in-residence” program formed part of LiddellWORKS – an innovative partnership between Arts Upper Hunter (AUH) and AGL. A highly competitive process selected 16 artists from across the Hunter and beyond to mark the occasion of the lights going out at Liddell.


The artists entered the site in its last days and the retired coal-fired station became the model, the muse, the subject, the theme, and parts of it were even incorporated into artworks. In creating their remarkable pieces, the artists sought to record Liddell’s transformation and honour the legacy of its people.


The exhibitions run at Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre from Thursday 6 June until Wednesday 25 August and Singleton Arts & Cultural Centre from Saturday 8 June until Sunday 11 August.


Two venues means two opening events, both of which are free. The first is on Saturday 8 June at Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre from 4pm and the second at Singleton Arts & Cultural Centre on Friday 14 June from 6pm.


Liddell helped to keep the lights on across NSW and sustained businesses for more than half a century until powering down in April last year. The opening events provide an opportunity to meet the artists and the people behind the ambitious creative program responding to its closure.


The artists’ residency extended to the before-and-after, and they created works across a range of artforms including sound installation, pottery, 3D video recording, portraiture, large-scale photography, sculpture, blacksmithing, and wearable art. Visitors to the exhibitions will experience exciting displays.


The artists drew inspiration from the vast industrial space and Liddell’s people. Once in residence, it didn’t take long for camera clicks to replace workplace clang and clank. Fossil fuels fired up a forge instead of a turbine, “industrial” and “technical” music replaced the melody of generating megawatts, and brush strokes on canvas were painting a different picture of the imposing legacy of the industrial revolution. 


Lochinvar master blacksmith, sculptor, and artist Will Maguire also ran workshops with Liddell employees, and they created artworks using metal scraps from the site. Muswellbrook Council together with AUH has also commissioned him to create an illuminated bench seat sculpture for the town.


Many artists had family connections to Liddell. Sydney-based Todd Fuller was one, his father having worked at Liddell for decades. As you would expect, he engaged directly with the workforce and produced a series of 30 portraits while interviewing his subjects as they told him their stories.


AUH is the peak body for arts advocacy, promotion, and engagement across the local government areas of Muswellbrook, Singleton, Dungog, and Upper Hunter. For more than 20 years it has provided support, advice, and connection to the region’s creative communities.


AUH executive director John O’Brien says there were many ways for the artists to respond to Liddell’s evocative industrial landscape and to the decarbonisation journey AGL is undertaking.


Liddell, visible from the highway, was a milestone and imaginative marker in the local community,” Mr O’Brien said. “Many artists picked up on this iconic status and their works are part celebration, part elegy.


“Liddell is a place of history and a place of transformation. And for artists, that’s a deeply appealing combo. They have struck a careful balance between the realities of climate change and greenhouse gas production and the essential work of providing electricity for 50 years.”  



For further information please contact: 

John O’Brien, AUH executive director M: 0409 382 509


Marina Lee-Warner, AUH project officer

M: 0498 742 731


Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre is located at 1-3 Bridge St, Muswellbrook, and Singleton Arts & Cultural Centre is located at 23 Maitland Rd, Singleton.


The LiddellWORKS program is the brainchild of Arts Upper Hunter (AUH) in partnership with AGL, Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre, and Singleton Arts & Cultural Centre, with funding from the Department of Regional NSW.










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