STILL Reopens While Going Viral on TikTok

Published on 20 September 2021


Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery is not only rejoicing its reopening from lockdown, but its new STILL exhibition is enjoying a surge in popularity online thanks to TikTok.

After a month in darkness, STILL: National Still Life Award 2021 is celebrating its reopening to Gallery visitors in person, while TikTok is delivering a whole new, younger audience online through Still Sundays.

25-year-old Art Historian and TikTok sensation Mary McGillivray has attracted millions of views worldwide through her social media channel @_theiconoclass. Now teaming up with Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery, Mary is presenting Still Sundays, a series of ten, 1 minute videos, unpacking still life art and works in the Gallery’s current exhibition.

Gallery Curator Chloe Waters is thrilled with the reaction so far, episode 4 alone approaching a massive 1 million views (875K and climbing). The video reveals Jacob Canet-Gibson’s work Seven Eight Two, a stack of 782 A4 pages printed with code correlating to a digital camera capturing an image.

Mary-McGillivray_Still-Sundays-1_Ep-4-Jacob-Canet-Gibson.png “In the Gallery you may have walked past this seemingly simple work, yet it is the one that has sparked an enormous response online,” said Chloe. “Whether you like the artwork or not, it has provoked a reaction and opened up a dialogue, and that’s what still life and art does.”

“We are making conversations about art more accessible to a younger audience who aren’t normally in our reach, sparking their curiosity and a feeling that galleries are a place for them to visit.”

Mary McGillivray’s popularity proves there’s a young appetite for art in easily digestible bites. Mary says the online space plays a pivotal role in connecting artists, artworks and the community, and the STILL artworks are lucky to get two lives: one in the Gallery and a second, wider-reaching life online.

“It's an honour to play a part in bringing STILL to a wider, international audience on TikTok, and show the youth-dominated user-base that still life artworks are exciting, meaningful and relevant to our lives in 2021,” Mary said.

“STILL 2021 has opened my eyes to the world of still life artworks that contemporary Australian artists have to offer.”

Another offering on social media coincides with the $5,000 STILL People’s Choice Award, now open for voting online with the winner announced on October 9. Born out of a friendly rivalry between two finalists, Daniel Sherington and Nicholas Aloisio-Shearer will compete in a playful Grand Final battle, debating the still life works in the running for the prize. See it on the Gallery’s Instagram page from September 25 to October 9.

Also online on October 9th will be a Virtual Artist Panel Talk featuring this year’s STILL winner, Blak Douglas, sharing the story behind his bronze sculpture Silent Cop. Joining him is fellow Dunghutti artist Gus Kelly together with Saltwater Freshwater’s Brentyn Lugnan and curator Alison Williams.

Watch Still Sundays on TikTok and IGTV with new episodes every Sunday until October 17. Take the STILL 3D Tour and vote in the People’s Choice Award at:

The STILL 2021 exhibition is now open at Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery until 23 October.


Pictured above

Curator Chloe Waters at Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery. Images by Fire and Fly Media.

TikToker Mary McGillivray presenting Still Sundays.