Cooee Art Consultant Team

Adrian Newstead OAM

Founding Director - Indigenous Fine Art Consultant

Adrian Newstead OAM established Cooee Gallery in 1981. A prominent retailer in Sydney’s Paddington precinct through the 1980s and 1990s, Adrian was the President of the Chamber of Commerce and Chair of the joint Council working party for more than a decade, steering the rezoning and streetscape refurbishments of this lively tourism precinct through both Woolhara and South Sydney councils.

In 1998, he became the founding President of the Indigenous Art Trade Association and later, a Director of Aboriginal Tourism Australia. Whilst continuing to run Cooee Gallery, he became Head of Aboriginal Art at auction house Lawson~Menzies in 2003 and Managing Director of Menzies Art Brands until 2008. In that role he was responsible for sales of Australian contemporary and Indigenous art valued $65 million annually.

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Mirri Leven

Managing Director

Mirri Leven is the CEO and co-owner of Cooee Art. Leven holds a double degree in International Development and Fine Arts, as well as a Masters degree in Art Administration from the UNSW College of Fine Art. She joined Cooee Art in 2007 and over the past 14 years has developed its gallery program, including exhibitions all over Australia and abroad. In 2016, she spearheaded the opening of Cooee’s Paddington gallery.  One year later she launched the Auction wing, Cooee Art Marketplace and was a board for the Aboriginal Art Association of Australia.

Anne Newstead

Director - Conservator
Anne lived overseas for 15 years mainly in New York after completing her studies at Sydney University in the late 1960s. She has travelled extensively to communities throughout Aboriginal Australia since marrying Adrian in 1983. Particularly interested in Aboriginal fabrics, she worked throughout the 1980s and 1990s developing and producing the range of furnishings and clothing retailed by Cooee’s Paddington emporium. These were included in many important American and European promotions. Anne is a practiced conservator of Aboriginal artworks and assists with the care and maintenance of the gallery’s extensive stockroom.

Litsa Wilkinson

Cooee Art MarketPlace Auction Department | Contemporary Fine Art Specialist 

Litsa (nee Veldekis) Wilkinson is former CEO of Menzies Art Brands (2009-2011) Litsa oversaw the marketing of Sidney Nolan’s First-Class Marksman to the AGNSW for $5,400,000 (the current Australian art market record price for a single artwork).

In 2013, Litsa was Head of Australian and international art at Bonhams (2013-2014) and was responsible for developing the company’s strategic vision for the Australian market.  She secured the largest single owner collection ever sold in Australia “The Reg Grundy Collection” ($19 million) and coordinated all aspects of this successful global event, touring the collection to each State, with selected works shown in London. During her tenure, Bonham’s secured the Collection of Dr Colin and Mrs Elizabeth Laverty. The auction held at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art was one of the largest and most diverse ever offered for sale in this country.

Litsa is an accredited fine arts valuer. She is an executive member of the Art Consulting Association of Australia and currently serves as its Media Spokesperson.

Emma Lenyszyn

Cooee Art MarketPlace Auction Department | Indigenous Fine Art Specialist 

Educated in Fine Art at RMIT, Emma joined Cooee Art in 2016 as Gallery Manager Paddington and is now the Auction Specialist for the bi-annual Cooee Art MarketPlace Auctions. She has a long history of employment in the arts including working at international institutions, commercial galleries and private collections. Her favorite artist is Emily Kngwarreye.

Renata Brak

Digital Curator

Renata Brak is the Marketing and Events Co-ordinator at Cooee Art Gallery and MarketPlace. 

She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Tasmania majoring in Graphic Design and Sculpture, and a Masters in Art Curatorship from the University of Sydney. Renata has traveled extensively and has lived in Canada for a number of years working for a non-for-profit song and dance ensemble. 

Renata has worked for a variety of galleries, ARI's and Institutions over the past decade most notably the Museum of Contemporary Art, Liverpool Street Gallery and Kaleidoscope Gallery. She first joined Cooee Art in 2011, and after a few years away from the gallery, returned in 2018 as Gallery Assistant.

Hayley Cotton

Gallery Manager | Paddington

Hayley completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts at National Art School here in Sydney. Since then, she’s traveled and worked at many places including NG Art Gallery, Sculpture by the Sea and for 4 years she was Gallery Assistant at Liverpool Street Gallery. In September 2019 she joined Cooee Art Gallery as the Paddington Gallery Assistant. A couple of her favourite artists are Makinti Napangka and Dorothy Napangardi.

Sam Ramsden


Sam Ramsden, in his second stint with Cooee, brings on board twelve years of art-world experience. The son of an artist and a critic, Sam has worked in galleries across Berlin and Sydney, including his first job at the legendary Galerie Eigen + Art in Berlin from the age of 13, The Ray Hughes Gallery in Sydney, which he managed in its final years before opening his own, The New Standard Gallery which ran from 2016 to 2018. Sam now returns to Cooee as our Registrar.