It was our great pleasure to welcome artist Sharyn Egan to the library and gallery this weekend. Sharyn was in town to deliver a floor talk at the official opening of Bush Babies – Honouring our Elders in the Bush. Not only did Sharyn talk about her own journey and involvement in this wonderful project, she also spoke of the involvement of some of the other artists who worked alongside her . A mix of professional and student artists have painted the portraits that feature in the show. All painters volunteered their time to honour the Noongar Elders. Many of the non-indigenous artists who took part, lived alongside the Elders in their town, but knew little or nothing about them or the hardship and oppression they endured.
The exhibition was inspired by a single photograph taken during one of Community Arts Network’s digital media workshops. The photographer, Jarrad Seng, who is well known for his work with musicians Ed Sheeran and Passenger, captured a stunning image of Ballardong Elder Hazel Winmar on her 99th birthday. The photograph inspired Wheatbelt artist Graham Smith to paint her portrait and this in turn inspired other artists to come forward to volunteer to honour an elder on canvas. “The first time I saw Jarrad Seng’s marvellous photo of Nana Purple (Hazel Winmar), I knew that this was a painting I had to do. I feel very privileged to be a part of this Bush Babies Elders Portrait project and I hope it continues to open doors towards reconciliation and the honouring of Elders all around Australia.” – said Artist Graham Smith.
Hazel who was affectionately known as ‘Nana Purple’ sadly passed away. To see more of her story, please take to look at the short ABC documentary https://vimeo.com/98909035
Bush Babies – Honouring our Elders has already reached 72,000 people in Perth alone, being on show at WA Museum, and is continuing its tour with ART ON THE MOVE at Carnarvon Library and Gallery from May 25 until June 25, 2016.