#gpgsurvivalkits2020 What are you bringing?

An ISO project devised by Isabella Wadley and Cecilia Stewart

In a reprisal of Kiffy Rubbo and Meredith Rogers’ 1975 Ideas Show Survival Kits at the George Paton Gallery we invite you to be the artist, inventor, and curator of your own survival kit.

Responses will be posted on this page. There is no deadline for this project beyond the end of lockdown, rather we will post submissions as they are sent.

Image: @rupa_anurendra

“The Ideas Shows… of the 1970s were playful and open-ended, they broadened the participation in the exhibition beyond the practicing artist, curator, or historian and created their own audiences by virtue of the number of people participating in the exhibition.” – Sandie Bridie, Kiffy Rubbo: Curating the 1970’s

As the first director and curator of the George Paton Gallery, Kiffy Rubbo had a visionary and progressive approach, promoting the artistic expression of all, not simply practicing artists. Specifically, in ‘Survival Kits’ a whole range of people were called upon to contribute, an attitude which we would like to reflect in this project.

Almost fifty years on, we find “Survival Kits” a concept that resonates very strongly with our circumstances today; how are we surviving in our drastically changed world?

Whether you’re isolating at home or supporting the community on the frontline, we want to know what’s helping you through these unprecedented times.
There is no right or wrong in your response, think about the things that have helped you through this difficult period, the concept of a ‘Survival Kit’ should be seen as a prompt which can be creatively interpreted however you like.
Your response could take any form; a drawing, painting, photograph, poem, playlist, song, video, sculpture, ritual, dance, textile, conversation, written word or even recipe.
Have the opportunity to exhibit your creative response with the GPG’s online gallery GPG VIRTUAL and engage with the survival kits that others share!
Open to University of Melbourne students and others. All submissions keeping in line with UMSU’s social media policy will be exhibited in GPG VIRTUAL.
Please send your response in the form of (or a combination of)
  • Short video, landscape format, no longer than 3 minutes, titled with your name and title of video
  • Images (maximum of 3) in jpeg format, titled with your name, and title of image.
  • Text included in an email or as an attachment.
  • Include your name, location, short bio if you wish (50 words maximum) and short explanation of your choice of materials for your survival kit.

Send your responses to gpg@union.unimelb.edu.au to be a part of the online exhibition and share on social media with the hashtag #gpgsurvivalkits2020 to spread the word!

George Paton Gallery, detail from page 37
‘When You Think About Art: The Ewing and George Paton Galleries 1971-2008’.
Macmillan Art Publishing, 2008

Survival Kits: An Ideas Show, held in June 1975 and coordinated by Kiffy Rubbo, director and Meredith Rogers, assistant director of the George Paton Gallery, was the third in a series of seven Ideas Shows exhibited at the George Paton and Ewing Galleries between 1974 and 1980. The Ideas Shows were open to anybody who wished to respond to the title prompt of the exhibition sent out by the directors of the gallery, including artists, writers, academics and the general public.

Other Ideas Shows were:
The Letters Show: An Ideas Show, July 1974
Boxes: An Ideas Show, August 1974
The Grid Show/ A Structured Space: An Ideas Show, August 1975
The Money Show: An Ideas Show, April 1976
The Maps Show: An Ideas Show, May 1978
Security: An Ideas Show, June 1980



Jane Fiore

Jane Fiore
pills, chills, and bills


G Kelly

G Kelly, ‘Watermelon Wonder’, 2020

Here is an artwork that I completed in stage 4 isolation. Even though iso creates ample time and opportunities for art it is sometimes even more difficult to be motivated during COVID-19. But when I end up creating I am always happy that I’ve done it.


Ruby Randles | Pandemonium


Peter Anthony Murphy

As a concrete poet/artist, I’m interested in statues as objects of meaning and have been photographing them for years. During the lockdown, I am putting them together in a book, seeking to expose and intensify their meanings through juxtaposing them.


Nell Morris-Dalton

A skateboard rack that I built in Isolation. Provides great storage for my numerous boards!!!


Penny Sharples

Melbourne is now in times of suspension and transition. Covid-19 has revealed cracks within our social fabric at the personal, community, national and global level. Painting enables me to express how this lockdown in impacting life when words are not enough.


Rachel Douglas

Rachel Douglas: Iso spent at Black range. Watercolour on paper, 2020


Alice Gubbins

Isolation is a unique experience, extroverts like myself need to find fulfilment within themselves. I have leant on my creative outlets, mostly sewing to bring myself (and others) joy! Having a task at hand to look forward to has helped me though, plus now I look extra fabulous.

(Dr) Mardie Whitla

Mardie Whitla, ‘Where is my Mortarboard?’. Ceramic

This is my own clay copy of my original mortarboard. It reminds me that if I was able to survive years of academic studies in psychology and criminology,  I can surely survive COVID-19.

instagram: mardie.ceramics.au


Bede Stewart

Bede Stewart ‘Apocalyptic Funk’. Ink markers on paper, 2020


Marina Chamberlain 

My days are kept busy and happy messing around with scraps of paper, old books, old photographs and magazines, and splashing acrylic paint about as I search for inspiration for my art.  Not to mention the studio cat who forms a big part of my survival kit, and who of course, is black.
Instagram:  @marinachamberlaincollage


Ilika Srivastava-Khan


‘Back,Baby’ by Jessica Pratt is a song which is beloved to my housemate and I. During lockdown you can find us watching Gilmore girls, reading, eating, and of course, sanitising our hands. A quote from an article in the New Yorker reads – “Stories about love offer models for how you might commit your life to another person. Stories about friendship are usually about how you might commit to life itself”. It reminds me that without my friends, near and far, life would be infinitely worse.  

Nancy D Lane

Nancy D Lane (Instagram @NancyDeeBrooches), North Melbourne
I create brooches from pieces of metal, wood and tile I find on the streets. My iso survival kit brooches: ‘Yoga 2’, my morning exercise routine; ‘Boiling the Billy’, healthy cooking in the kitchen; and ‘Reaching Out’, staying in touch with family and friends.

Josephine Molony

Josephine Molony, ‘Survival Kit: Shadow Board Primary Tools’.
Acrylic & texta on paper, 2020. Ararat

Kate Campbell

Kate Campbell, ‘Hierarchy of Needs’, 2020

The above collage portrays a personal survival kit for quarantine which draws on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs; in particular, Self Actualisation


Oliver Nicholls

Oliver Nicholls, ‘Live At Home’, 35mm black & white film.
Ballarat, Victoria, 2020

Photographing a livestream of the pub, from my lounge room.
When you can’t go out to see live music, bring it to the comfort of your own home.


Shaun Kinna

Shaun Kinna, Geelong, ‘Dire straits, COVID-19 in the garlic patch’, 2020.


David Wadley

David Wadley, ‘forced verbosity’, 2020


Isabella Wadley

Isabella Wadley, ‘Isolating in Brisbane’, 2020.
Work, Play, and Necessities in Various Forms.


Zoe Gleeson and Millie Costigan

Zoe Gleeson and Millie Costigan PLAYLIST 1: When She: Self Isolates


PLAYLIST 2: It’s a pandemic but we can still party!

We curated the following two Iso playlists with the idea of collective escapism in mind. The photos are of some of our favourite friendship moments, moments we’ve been texting about with such urgency over the past few months. (ie. our summer road trip on the South Australian coast and our travels in Japan a few years ago). The title of playlist 1 ‘When She: Self Isolates’ comes from our radio show – ‘When She Speaks’ – that we co -host on our university airwaves. The song titles and lyrics in this playlist relate quite explicitly to Isolation (Home, Hibernate, Lonesome, Silence, Telly etc..). There’s something comforting about songs that speak to our pandemic. Playlist 2 ‘It’s a pandemic but we can still party!’ is intended to keep those spirits high! For bedroom boogs and Jammie Jives! Together these playlists are little pockets of time, little kisses, little odes – from our bedrooms, to yours.


Therese Molony

Therese Molony, ‘It’s all right’, 2020


Tam Paul

Click here for Tam Paul Video

Our coffee machine became an important part of lockdown survival. Every day I would look forward to the ritual of making coffee, taking in the rich aromas while executing with precision each step: dosing, grinding, tamping, extracting and foaming. In the sound sphere of banging, thumping and hissing I felt totally present, elated with anticipation of a daily treat.

Each puck of coffee became little tokens of indulgence and endurance. Seven weeks, forty nine little disks of compressed caffeine, forty nine days of doing my bit to flatten the curve.


Cecilia Stewart

Cecilia Stewart, ‘A balcony in Fitzroy’, 2020.
Ararat, oil on canvas, 2020

I’ve been missing a balcony in Fitzroy. I’ve been eating cheese like I’ve been sitting on a balcony in Fitzroy. I’ve been playing Patience, I’ve been with my family, I’ve been anxious, but I’ve been safe.


Charlotte Barrett

Charlotte Barrett, ‘Covid Collage’, 2020


Eliza Paul

My Survival Kit Radio
By Eliza Paul
Radio has been important for me during this time. As a family we sat around the table during an outbreak in our town listening to the 11am broadcast update.
Each station of my radio is a ritual which has structured my days during isolation:
90. walkbythecreek
93. gardeningaustraliawithtoast
101. singinginthecar
104. pianobreak
110. singingintheshower(badlytobritney)
112. brushingteethAMPM


John Stewart

John Stewart, ‘Contribution from lockdown’, 2020


Angela Brennan

Angela Brennan, ‘Bike Painting’
Oil on canvas, 30.5 cm. X. 30.5 cm, 2020


Frances Kinna

Frances Kinna, ‘School of Covid-19’
Still Life, Photography, Newtown 2020


Carmel Molony

Carmel Molony, ‘Covid-19 Helter Skelter’
Ink on paper, Geelong 2020


Leah Molony and granddaughter Floss

Leah Molony, ‘Donald and Eve in the Garden of Eden under the sea’.
Fuzzy felt, 2020

Created whilst spending COVID-19 time with granddaughter Floss.


Sandra Bridie

Name: Sandra Bridie | Title: Food Library, East St Kilda, 14 May 2020
Each day over the COVID-19 lockdown in my local park a new assortment of provisions is available on the picnic table for those in need to pick up, or for those with plenty to contribute to. Supplies include chocolate, canned items, pasta and animal food. Extra chocolate was left out for mothers with a special note on Mother’s Day.


Leah Molony

Leah Molony, ‘Black Bored’, 2020


Matthew Molony

Name: Matthew Molony
Title: A Day In Isolation
Location: Jan Juc, Victoria. (March/April 2020)
Matt is a Melbourne based actor and theatre producer, who found himself in isolation for 6 weeks down on the south west coast of Victoria. Sun, sand, sea and the night sky helped to get him through it.