Artist refuses to give up on city’s Aboriginal people

GIVING BACK: Sydney artist Nana Ohnesorge will gift her portrait panel of well-known local Aboriginal identities to the Griffith Aboriginal Community Centre.

GIVING BACK: Sydney artist Nana Ohnesorge will gift her portrait panel of well-known local Aboriginal identities to the Griffith Aboriginal Community Centre.

MOST artists would have packed up their paint brushes and headed off to their next job after learning that the residency with Griffith Regional Art Gallery they had been hoping for had fallen through, but not this one. 

Nana Ohnesorge was determined the project she had spent over a year on would go ahead after visiting Griffith and  meeting council’s Aboriginal Liaison Officer Roger Penrith and members of the community.

“I thought to myself, there is no way I can let this community down,” Ms Ohnesorge said.

“These people have had all these promises made to them and all these promises broken. I decided to do it anyway.”

A low-budget project got under way, with Mr Penrith suggesting Ms Ohnesorge conduct a few workshops to help with finances. 

Griffith Connections and Griffith Regional Art Gallery jumped on board and things began to proceed.

“I wanted to give something to the community to let them know how important and beautiful they are,” Ms Ohnesorge said.

“They have an incredible culture of resilience and knowledge.”

Having lived in Australia for 32 years, Ms Ohnesorge thought it was time she took up her brushes for an Aussie subject.

“I started with the obvious iconic figure, Ned Kelly,” Ms Ohnesorge said.

Her research led her to a book which named every police officer involved in the outlaw’s capture, but conspicuously absent were the names of any of the Aboriginal trackers who were absolutely crucial to locating the bushranger.

“I decided I wanted to do a work which would acknowledge the work and achievements of the Aboriginal people,” she said

Ms Ohnesorge consulted with well-known Australian art curator John Mundine.

The painting, featuring a plethora of well-known local Indigenous faces, can be seen at an exhibition to be held at Griffith Regional Theatre starting at 6pm on Friday, October 31 before being hung in the hall of the Aboriginal Community Centre.

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