Arts centre farewells director

FAREWELL: Mount Gambier Riddoch Art Gallery and Cultural Centre director Melentie Pandilovski will farewell the Limestone Coast community as he ventures to his next occupation in Melbourne.

Charlotte Varcoe

THE Riddoch Art Gallery and Cultural Centre will farewell its director this week as Melentie Pandilovski leaves his role to take on a new Melbourne-based opportunity.

First coming to the centre five years ago, Dr Pandilovski was enticed by the region’s vast landscapes and available outdoor activities, using these experiences as inspiration for a number of artistic events.

“Prior to Mount Gambier I always lived in capital cities so moving to a regional area took a bit of getting used to but like everything I got used to it and found the good side,” Dr Pandilovski said.

“Some of the best things about the Limestone Coast here is that I don’t have to pay for parking, but that there is so much to see and do here including being so close to the beach, being able to go hiking and of course the lakes as well.”

Labelling the Limestone Coast as a “beautiful region”, Dr Pandilovski said it was the region itself which inspired him to kick-start the successful Land Art project, which allowed artists to attend a retreat on a landscape and explore the land’s usage.

“During the project we had a number of interesting and fantastic artists come through including one from Texas and then we also followed it up with an exhibition which was great.”

Alongside the Land Art project, Dr Pandilovski said he also enjoyed Sandy Nolan’s Ned Kelly exhibition from 2019 and the Ancient Rome exhibition, which took over the centre in its entirety.

However, his standout event was the Limestone Coast Video Festival in 2018 and 2020, which accumulated over 1800 entries.

“With that amount of entries it took the judging panel weeks to work through and judge but when you look at Mount Gambier as a regional town it is a significant number of entries,” Dr Pandilvoski said.

“Our 2020 festival was also in the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is what we based the entry on and we had some phenomenal entries which was fantastic.”

Mount Gambier City Council acting community wellbeing general manager Georgina Davison said Dr Pandilovski had brought a number of exciting opportunities to the region with his unique experience.

“Dr Pandilvoski has brought a unique perspective for the arts and thinks differently about art but he also brought an independent and international perspective to our arts community,” Ms Davison said.

“He has such a unique view on arts and has worked well with the arts community in Mount Gambier which has been fantastic and really brought a lot of new and exciting ideas and opportunities to the area.”

Dr Pandilvoski said he would miss both the community, staff and volunteers commonly seen in the centre.

“I will also miss the building as a whole because it is a beautiful building and there is so much potential for the centre to grow,” he said.