By Geoff Ellis
HALFWAY along the library wall Sarah Waardenberg pauses to explain one of her recent paintings. Koorie White Man, Come shows two people who have been “displaced” and are seeking shelter. They are being offered a blanket which is a lure rather than charity. There is a power imbalance, as the pair MUST accept the blanket that will then bind them to its owner on every level.
Sarah’s painting was part of a recent exhibition of paintings and wearable art created by members of Headway Gippsland. The exhibition, the culmination of a year's work, was held in Wonthaggi Library during August.
A community-based organisation that’s been operating for more than 25 years, the group offers support to people with an acquired brain injury.
Headway’s vision is "a society inclusive of all" and there are challenging themes in some of the paintings in this exhibition. But many are lighthearted, perhaps whimsical, glimpses from their daily lives.
Paul Drew has a leadership role in several advocacy groups. While he enjoys painting, he also likes to extend his talent by following the styles of established artists or incorporating elements of their work in his own.
Nicole Fincher takes great delight in having her wearable art on show and Sandra Van Duffelin’s work on penguins certainly captures the wind-blown nature of their habitat.
John Marotta’s joy in the moment is contagious.
This is the second art show the group has presented in Wonthaggi and the next one is greatly anticipated. Artworks are for sale by direct negotiation with the artist.
In 2017 Headway put together a booklet entitled ‘My Story’. Participants wrote their own stories, telling of their life before and after brain injury and the impact it’s had on their lives.