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Regional Arts Development Central West NSW

Karen Golland in HIDDEN Rookwood Sculpture exhibition


Local artist Karen Golland has been selected to have one of 60 creative artworks exhibiting as part of the 12th annual HIDDEN Rookwood Sculpture exhibition.

Held within the grounds of Sydney’s iconic Rookwood Cemetery, from 10 September to 9 October, HIDDEN will include student and film categories – as well as the renowned sculpture works. During the month-long exhibition, the cemetery transforms into an open-air exhibition, providing a unique way for visitors to engage with and experience Rookwood.

Golland is an artist based in Bathurst, working at the intersection of craft and sculpture. Her practice uses expanded drawing and site-specific installation to create large-scale works, centring on the themes of love and loss.

“HIDDEN is a fantastic opportunity to engage Sydneysiders with the layered histories and current relevance of Rookwood as a working cemetery,” said 2022 curator, Kath Fries.  “The artists bring a diverse range of perspectives to the experiences and narratives of this unique place. HIDDEN invites the public to rediscover Rookwood through a different lens. Art and creative activities enable people to use the space in different ways and HIDDEN is just one of these.”

“There’s one easy way to start an argument in a country town, and that’s to ask whether there are more or less kangaroos in Australia than ever before. People are passionate about this topic, and there’s rarely any middle ground – you either want to protect them from harm or cull them,” said Golland. Your one wild and precious life borrows its name and sentiment from Mary Oliver’s poem, The Summer Day, pondering these same queries from a more-than-human perspective. “I’ve made the kangaroos from the same artificial flowers we use to create memorials for our loved ones,” explained Golland, “except this time, the memorial is for the kangaroos that have lost their lives as a direct result of our actions.”

“I was drawn to Rookwood because of its history and significance. I am interested in Cemeteries as spaces where we can grieve the loss of life and contemplate our mortality and place in the world.”

With artworks strategically placed among historic monuments and impressive architecture within Rookwood Cemetery, the month-long event aims to encourage the community to enjoy Rookwood’s Victorian-era inspired surroundings. This year, there is a poignant emphasis on the themes of loss and mourning, as many of the selected artists have a personal connection to the cemetery through their loved ones.

For more information about HIDDEN Rookwood Sculptures, visit