Meet Our Project Alchemy Artists

Eurobodalla Shire Project Alchemy Artists

Val Moogz


Val Moogz draws upon diverse musical influences ranging from Patti Smith’s powerful rock poetry, to Bill Withers’ great songs of soul, to the acoustic surf pop lullabies of Jack Johnson. A self-proclaimed lover of life, nature and people, Val Moogz draws inspiration from their daily encounters and the beautiful surroundings of the South Coast of NSW to create relatable, heartfelt songs for everyone. Their debut single ‘Gypsy’ was released in August 2021 at a time when the music industry seemed to be suffering an uncertain fate. Fast forward to 2022, Val Moogz is in full force having released another two singles, ‘The Sea’ and ‘With You’, as well as having recently completed their debut East Coast tour. With plenty of more releases on the horizon, Val Moogz is sure to win your heart with powerful vocals, beautifully played guitar and many stories to be told.


Val Moogz on Spotify – Val Moogz on Facebook – Val Moogz on Instagram

Val Moogz on Soundcloud – Val Moogz on YouTube – Val Moogz on Bandcamp

Elise May

Dancer/Choreographer/Video Artist

Elise May is a nationally recognised dancer, choreographer and video artist whose career spans two decades. She has worked internationally and in Australia as an independent artist and performer. Elise joined Brisbane’s Expressions Dance Company (EDC) in 2008 and became Assistant Artistic Director to Natalie Weir. Elise performed, choreographed and was engaged as a teaching artist in Australia, the US, Switzerland, Singapore, Taiwan, Korea and China. In 2012 she received the Australian Dance Award – ‘Outstanding Performance by a Female Dancer’

Elise’s Master of Arts (Research) at QUT investigated the use of the moving image and digital media in live performance. Her choreographic practice continues to investigate performance design, installation, moving image, site-specific and interdisciplinary contexts for dance and digital media. Elise’s collaborations with animator Paul Van Opdenbosch explored the applications of X-sens motion-capture technology in live performance and abstract animation contexts.  Elise was Associate Lecturer in Dance at Queensland University of Technology in 2019 and Choreographer-in-Residence with CIRCA Contemporary Circus in 2021.

Deb Cleland


Deb Cleland (she/her) is an activist/ artist/ academic, with all the compromise and circuitous life paths that those slashes imply. She dabbles in interactive theatre and games, site-specific place-making, and creative non-fiction, hoping to bring her research into social justice, inclusion and sustainability to life through writing and performance. Since 2012, Deb has been devising, directing and participating in ensemble work that asks questions about co-existence, co-operation and how to claim space as an unwelcome body of any kind. After taking a break from the arts following injury and other disruptions, Deb is hoping to reinvigorate her explorations into repair and restoration, wondering how to answer her friend’s nihilistic provocation in the face of ecosystem collapse: ‘We lost. Now what?’.

Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council Project Alchemy Artists

Helen Ferguson

Designer/Founder Create Collaborate Collective

Helen Ferguson grew up in Queanbeyan and after 4 years of travelling and living in Europe she moved to Sydney and finally returned to her hometown with a young family in 2008. She trained as a graphic designer at the University of Canberra and has had a long and successful career with a wide-ranging portfolio of design experience from publishing to advertising to fashion and government work.  Her passion has been working in the area of public gallery, museum exhibitions and on educational programs. In September 2014 Helen purchased a run-down heritage cottage with a dream to create something special in Queanbeyan for the locals to enjoy, use and appreciate. This ambitious project has been evolving and is called The Queanbeyan Hive. Helen is also the founder of the local not-for-profit group called Create Collaborate Collective Inc whose mission is to support and nurture the community arts scene through events that include music, art and markets.


Kelly Sturgis

Musician/Visual Artist

Kelly has grown up in the Braidwood region and her family has lived on this country since her ancestors convict emancipation. She is passionate about the land and community she is from. After leaving the area to study music and fine art where she combined sound and vision, she returned to raise a child. As well as establishing an artist run exhibition space she has taught music privately and in community workshops.

She has developed an effective method of teaching that includes different ways to approach learning, blending techniques to best suit the individual needs of the student. She encourages students to feel the music and exercise their knowledge and natural expression through improvisation, composition and repertoire. As an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, her broad knowledge allows her to teach and mentor students to read, understand and play music from a beginner through to an advanced level. Kelly currently resides in an old church at Majors Creek.

Cecile Galiazzo

Artist/Curator/Educator and Facilitator

A graduate from the ANU, her primary medium is printmaking’

Highlights from her arts practice include: Artist in Residence at ‘Watch This Space’ (Artist Run Initiative Alice Springs NT), The Blake Prize Director’s Cut On-Line Exhibition, CPM National Print Award First Prize Tweed River Gallery Murwillumbah NSW and Artist in residence Arthur Boyd’s Bundanon NSW.

She has held several solo exhibitions and participated in many selected group shows. Her work is held in private collections nationally, internationally and in significant Australian cultural institutions.

Galiazzo’s career highlights include facilitating field trips for artists in the Shoalhaven River districts, teaching and mentoring Indigenous artists in the ACT and NT, managing the education programme and print studio at Megalo and teaching Printmaking at the Illawarra TAFE, NSW.

She currently owns and curates her own gallery space at Studio Altenburg Braidwood, supporting emerging and established artists.

Bega Valley Shire Project Alchemy Artists

Sue Norman

Artist/Writer/Radio Producer

Sue Norman lives at the edge of the forest in Kiah. Her partner, Mick, saved the old timber house from the 2020 fire by turning on the spray system then sheltering in the bunker. They now watch the forest going through the process of healing; seeing the struggle for balance as the world warms.

Over the years Sue has enjoyed working as an artist, a teacher, a radio producer, a writer, a gardener and historian. She has always worked at helping people to find their voice.

“When I was at high school I read a DH Lawrence poem about how we should be like birds and live fully as ourselves- as humans,” said Sue. “I love birds.”

“As an artist I learned to trust my instincts and be open to life around me. It’s an attitude you can bring to anything you do.”

Mica Mahani

Artist/Dancer/Theatre Practitioner

Mica Mahani is an artist and creative arts facilitator with a focus on social justice and the environment. Born and raised in the Bega Valley, she has been making art in various forms since she was a child, with roots in the theatrical Candelo Arts Society of the 1980s and 90s. Mica has travelled, studied and performed in many locations around the world, and is now comfortably making art as she feels is needed for herself, community and planet. Since 2008 she has been primarily creating projects in movement and dance, but also including visual arts, textiles, and drama. Her work encourages participation over perfection and engages many unlikely performers to create unique and memorable works, often in collaboration with other artists and community groups. Mica and her partner have recently taken over defunct yet iconic Bega takeaway store, transforming it into a creative arts space where all sorts of magic happens.

Robyn Williams

Mixed Media Artist/Art Therapist

Inspired by the natural world around me, my art practice has led me to experiment with a mix of media, from painting, textiles and works in glass, to eco dying and botanic drawing on paper.

When out in nature, as I move through a particular site or place, I photograph and key out species of plants and get a sense of what fauna and bird species may be present. I collect material that becomes the basis for creating works on paper, cloth or three-dimensional installations. The land itself provides the inspiration and resources I need for my work, so, in that regard, I feel that whatever I make is a collaborative effort.

I have studied extensively, from Textile Design, Certificate 2 and 3 Visual Arts at TAFE, followed by a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Curtin University. Studying Transpersonal Art Therapy (Ad. Diploma) helped reveal an inner landscape and well-being practices. I continue to find ways of sharing these acquired skills and knowledge with an audience, through exhibiting work and mentoring people from all types of backgrounds and abilities.

East Gippsland Project Alchemy Artists

Susannah Keebler


Susannah Keebler is a dancer, choreographer, educator, certified teacher of the Alexander Technique, and yoga instructor, with a Master of Dance from the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne, AUS and BA (dance) from Bennington College, VT, USA. Susannah lived and worked as a dancer for ten years in New York City before moving to the remote-rural town Mallacoota, VIC in 2008.

Currently, Susannah is a PhD candidate at the University of New South Wales, researching continuity and disruption of regional dance as creative practice in the context of crisis. She is inspired by collaboration, her environments, transformation, the revelation of imagination, and the unexpectedness of both the every-day and the extraordinary.

Lee Nickless

Digital Artist/Muralist/Art Educator

I am an East Gippsland resident, my work focuses on the natural environment and derives its inspiration from it. My current work is exploring mimicry in nature. I use nature to inform my digital creations. I am very engaged with my community and derive my inspiration and motivation from community focused projects. My work is primarily collaborative, working with my local art community. I am an art educator and love sharing and upskilling my local artist collective. This is done working in local schools, running a mural crew of 6 artists, ArtLab a digital arts collective I run, The East Gippsland Winter Festival (creative Director), Iceworks Studio (curator) and “Float” a local artist residency/collective (board Member).

Padma Newsome


Padma Newsome is an Australian composer, arranger, and performer based in Mallacoota, Victoria. His musical palette expresses colours of the coastal wilderness where he lives, blended with modernist avant garde, Hindusthani and folk elements from India, chamber music remnants, and the energy founded in the pop/rock world.

He composes for traditional large and small ensemble, the electro-acoustic medium, improvised chamber ensemble, music for dance and theatre, and rock bands. Padma is a community focussed musician. He currently directs and delivers Mallacoota’s “Ashes to Music” post NYE 2019 Firestorm creative recovery programme. He is an embedded researcher in Arts recovery (ANU).

ACT Project Alchemy Artists

Hangama Obaidullah


Hangama came to Australia from Afghanistan as a refugee in August 2003. At that time she spoke no English, but in October that year she began her English language studies and progressed rapidly. She enrolled as a mature age student at St Mary’s Senior High School, Sydney, NSW, graduating with her Higher School Certificate in 2009. She received an Award for Excellence, Major Works, and a Commendation Award for her HSC body of artwork. Hangama has since developed her arts practice in painting, drawing, photography and writing.

She moved to Canberra in 2010 where she is currently studying for a Bachelor of Writing at the University of Canberra. Hangama has exhibited in a variety of public venues in Canberra, other Australian cities and internationally and she has worked actively as an advocate Hangama’s artwork draws on her Afghan heritage, her homeland and its history. She espouses an aesthetic and philosophy of beauty, grace and community service. Her goal is to assist other women and children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, though visual arts practicing and writing.

Sammy Hawker

Photographer/Documentary filmmaker

Sammy Hawker is an Australian based visual artist working predominantly on Ngunawal, Ngunnawal, Ngambri country [Canberra, ACT]. Sammy works primarily between the mediums of documentary video and traditional analogue photography and her work is created from an interest in the immaterial and material presences within a site.

In her practice Sammy examines forms of co-creation as a method of celebrating the voices of the worlds around us. She is particularly intrigued by the tactility of analogue film and the possibilities this presents in facilitating more-than human mark making on the final image. Sammy has co-created work with oceans, rivers, honey-bees, seaweed and Eucalyptus trees. The unpredictable input of these collaborators disrupts her authorial control and encourages a new ecology based on a postcolonial equality between the human and more-than human.

Michele Grimston

Visual Artist (Textiles)

Michele Grimston is a Canberra based visual artist who works predominantly with textile practices, including embroidery, tapestry and sewing.  She is interested in exploring ways that investing our time, attention and care in things can create objects of great meaning and enable a state of being that allows us to foster a greater level of intimacy with ourselves, others and the world.  This draws on established traditions of communal making where the act of creating together opens up spaces for deep listening and community connection, building stories that shape culture through the process of creativity.

Michele holds a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours) and a Masters in Community Cultural Development.  She has led many community arts projects at schools and with community groups in Western Australia and Canberra, and has been employed in arts education and community cultural development roles for arts centres and local governments as well as pursuing her personal artistic practice.