Gallery Lane Cove’s Presence of Mind Exhibition Gaining National Media Attention and You Can See it For Free

In a year of Covid lockdowns and associated mental health challenges, the need for mindfulness, interconnectedness and peace is so important.

Gallery Lane Cove current exhibition is Presence of Mind. It’s is a digital residency and exhibition project that centres on mindfulness and other aspects of Buddhist practices in the works of visual artists in Australia and Singapore.  Mindfulness, interconnectedness and peace are all central to Buddhist thought and practice.  The exhibition is free to the public and finishes on Saturday 26 February 2022.

It’s the first exhibition of its kind in Sydney, it looks at how key elements of Buddhist practice informs the creative process of artists from varied cultures of two countries and how that has been translated into secular life.

Curated from the perspectives of two Buddhist practitioners, the exhibition uncovers how elements of Buddhism permeate the practices of different artists from diverse backgrounds. For Buddhist artists, mindfulness is foundational to their creative processes and can take many forms, from embodied processes to playful humour, as well as technological and traditional motifs.

The idea for the exhibition came separately to the two curators Rachael Kiang and Dr Kath Fries.

Rachael, the manager and curator for Gallery Lane Cove has been researching exhibition and book projects in North America that uncovered Buddhist influences in the works of artists such as Bill Viola and John Cage.

Co-Curator Dr Kath Fries undertook her practice-led doctoral research in this area at Sydney College of the Arts, supervised by one of the pioneers in this area in Australia, Dr Lindy Lee.

Whilst discussing another project in 2018, it came to light that the two curators had this very same idea of investigating the works of Buddhist artists in a secular context – and from then, the project idea was born and refined.

Globally, contemporary art discourses generally operate in a secular framework, however the exhibition’s focus on these individual artists connected by their Buddhist practices highlights the rich perspectives that spirituality can bring to art.

The value of the Presence of Mind project is underscored by the fact that it received funding from the Australia Council for the Arts and Create NSW, the national and state peak art funding bodies.

13 Artists

It features the works of thirteen intergenerational artists, several of them well-established and highly prominent, such as Lindy Lee, Nell, Phaptawan Suwannakudt and some very notable emerging artists.

Lindy Lee, The Dragon that Never Sleeps, 2021, Eucalyptus wood, fire, 70 x 98 x 19cm. Image courtesy the artist and Sullivan+Strumpf Sydney. Photo by Aaron Anderson.

It also marks the first time that Gallery Lane Cove has presented a curated show with overseas artists and international content.

Singaporean artist Jason Lim is a highly regarded, established artist in Asia with many international presentations of his works overseas, including the Venice Biennale.  Our cover photo is  Jason Lim, Walk (video still), 2018, single channel video, 2:11. Image courtesy of the artist.

Jeremy Chu is an artist whose work is featured at the National Gallery of Singapore.

Presence of Mind is enriched by a digital residency component, facilitated by Singaporean artist Alecia Neo, where skills and experiences are shared amongst six artists, a guest writer from 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and the curators. The digital residency informs the creation of a collaborative movement, sound and text-based video art work.


Nell, I SING both WAYS, 2020, hand blown glass, oil paint, 41.7 x 35.4 x 35.7 cm. Image courtesy of the artist and STATION, Melbourne and Sydney. Photo by Jenni Carter.

Artists: Cindy Yuen-zhe Chen, Jeremy Chu, Lada Dedic, Kath Fries, Lindy Lee, Jason Lim, Aryadharma Aaron Matheson, Kristina Mah, Alecia Neo, Nell, Shirley Soh, Phaptawan Suwannakudt and Lachlan Warner.

Curators: Rachael Kiang and Dr Kath Fries.


ABC Radio National’s The Art Show with Daniel Browning described the exhibition.

“Forget wine and cigarettes – how does mindfulness stimulate artists? Cindy Chen and Lachlan Warner are two artists whose Buddhist practice is foundational to their creativity. Curators Kath Fries and Rachael Kiang have included them in a new exhibition exploring the hot topic of mindfulness and meditation, called Presence of Mind.”

You can hear the interview here.

The exhibition was also featured on an ABC podcast about Thich Nhat Hanh who passed away on 22 January 2022, and the podcast explores the life and legacy of the renowned Zen master, monk, poet, peace activist, teacher and global spiritual leader.

You can listen to the podcast here.

Workshops and Panel Discussions

The exhibition is accompanied by a full suite of public program events, including gallery and online artist panels, talks, meditation sessions and workshops.

Teacup Conversations and Workshop with Lachlan Warner

Workshop for Presence of Mind
Saturday 19 February 2:00pm – 4:00pm
Cost: $20

Artist Lachlan Warner invites participants to have tea and a conversation with him about his art practice, specifically the works made from graveyard clay. This will be followed by a short teacup making workshop in the ceramics studio.

Please note students will be using stoneware clay for the workshop.

Book Here


A Queer Presence: Rainbodhi Gallery Tour and Meditation

19 February Saturday 10am – 11:30am
Donations welcome (proceeds go to Rainbodhi)
Hosted by Bhante Akaliko and Kath Fries

Discover a wonderful world of queer Buddhist art practice! 

Join Rainbodhi LGBTQIA+ Buddhist Community for a special viewing of the exhibition Presence of Mind exhibition.

Discover a wonderful world of queer Buddhist art practice!

Hear about the ways spirituality and queer identities have informed the lives and practice of featured artists as we take a private tour with the curators, followed by a guided meditation in the gallery with friends.

10:00am – 10:30am Gallery Talk with Curators

10:30am – 11:15am Meditation led by Bhante Akaliko

Facilitator Bio:

Akāliko Bhikkhu is the founder of Rainbodhi and an out and proud queer Buddhist monk in the Theravada forest tradition. Bhante Akāliko first encountered Buddhism as a teenager and spent over twenty years practising in different traditions both in Australia and overseas, before taking full ordination with Ajahn Brahm as his preceptor. He is on the Board of Directors for the Buddhist Council of NSW and a chaplain with the University of Western Sydney. He currently resides with his long-term teacher, Bhante Sujato, at Lokanta Vihara, (the Monastery at the End of the World) in Sydney, Australia.

Before he was ordained Bhante Akāliko studied visual arts and worked at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

About Rainbodhi:

Rainbodhi is a spiritual friendship group for LGBTQIA+ Buddhists and an advocate for more inclusion and diversity in the broader Buddhist community. We offer meditation, dhamma discussion and social events in a safe, supportive environment. We welcome everyone regardless of race, gender, sexuality or ability. Rainbodhi is a non-sectarian group, open to people from all Buddhist traditions, other faiths or with no faith. All our events are free.

Our name combines two words: rainbow, representing our diverse community, and bodhi, the Buddhist concept of enlightenment. We believe in inclusion, compassion and wisdom.

Artwork credit: Lachlan Warner, Suffering sentient being I & II, 2021

Book Here

Presence of Mind Exhibition Finissage

Saturday 26 February 10:00am – 2:30pm

The Closing Tea Ceremony 

Facilitated by Lachlan Warner



Book Here

Finissage Panel for Presence of Mind

11:00am – 12:00pm

Panellists: Aryadharma Aaron Matheson, Dylan Goh, Kath Fries and Rachael Kiang

Book Here

Virtual Tour

Finally, the exhibition can be also experienced by interstate and overseas audiences through a 3D online immersive replica of the show at Gallery Lane Cove.   You can take the virtual tour here.

Contact Details and Hours

Gallery Lane Cove + Creative Studios
164 Longueville Road Lane Cove NSW 2066
10:00am – 4:30pm Monday – Saturday and 10.00 to 2.30pm 26 February 2022

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body, the NSW Government through Create NSW and its annual organisation grant, and partnership support from 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art.


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