Aug 12, 2015

Holt Anzac Centenary Fine Art Show Speech – 12 August 2015

The Mr Speaker, congratulations on your elevation to the office of Speaker. Tonight I want to talk about an amazing group of people called Provenance Artists, led by Calvin Bell, who conducted what I would categorise as a hugely successful Holt Anzac Day Centenary Fine Art Exhibition on 4 and 5 July at the Mechanics Institute hall in Narre Warren. Over 100 people attended the launch on that very cold Friday night and over 250 people visited the exhibition during the weekend. The Provenance Artists organised this event, and they received $22,600 under the Australian government’s Anzac Centenary Local Grants Program. The event showcased 34 wonderful paintings from 24 local artists. I want to detail the artists and their paintings in this chamber, but nothing can describe the incredible work done by this artists, who have laboured for some period of time to paint an appropriate painting that commemorated the centenary of Anzac in the way they felt it should be. I wish I had with me the book of paintings to table. Each of painting had to be ticked off by the local RSL because we wanted the appropriate respect to be paid to the event and for the purposes of the event, and it succeeded beyond my expectations. Wandering into that very fine old hall, on a cold winter’s night, and seeing this phenomenal display of artwork so good that people from other countries wanted some of these paintings—I will touch on that later—said a lot about the quality of our artists and their commitment to commemorating the event appropriately.

For the record I want to detail the paintings and the artists who painting them: Lest We Forgetby Carol Gorenko; The Gas Attacks and Our Brave Soldiers by Sam Michelle; Light in the Darkness by Emily Fairbairn; The Last Ride by Sarah Ferrante; The Ghost of Macbeth and All In It Together by Amanda Gray; Last Man Standing by Leanne Hutchinson; The Old Lie and The Old Lie II by Annamaria Guilane, The Australian Light Horse Brigade by Barbara Pain; Dawn Landing by Rhonda Rawson; Mourning at Lone Pine and Compassion In War by Gabrielle Jenkins; The Roaring Sky and Fiery Earth by Kashmira Dubash; Caesars Hope by Brendan Mulholland; They Run through the Mustard Gas and The Tunnel Walls Need Shoring by Mariane Blythman; Holt Anzac Mural 1915-2015 by Calvin Bell; Our Brave Diggers by Steven Sweeney; My Brother by Linkoln Gulian; Somme Reverie and God Speed by Zoe Panagiotopoulos; A Shoulder to Lean On, The Badge of Honour and We Are As One by Deborah Polman; Australian VC Recipients by Colin Seivers; Hellbound by Ezmeralda Gulian; The Weeping Mother of Joan Stark by Mikaela Giaquinta; Last Letter Home and The Battle of Poziers by Elizabeth Thomson; Hope—Aeroplanes of the Australian Flying Corps and Ever Resolute by Marie Warnecke; and Trekking Through the Poppy Fields by Kanthi Kurian. That is a list of 34 paintings, and I hope I have given the House a flavour of their quality.

A number of significant people were at the launch, one of whom was the Turkish Vice Consul, Mr Ersel Ozdemir. He was particularly moved by a painting entitled Compassion in War, by Gabriele Jenkins, which depicted an Australian soldier sharing a drink from a mug with a Turkish soldier at Gallipoli in World War I. I had the honour, a week after that art exhibition, to formally present that painting to the Turkish Vice-Consul. This painting is going to be hung at the Turkish Consulate.

Not only that, we have just received news with respect to our French colleagues. We have received a request from Myriam Boisbouvier-Wylie, the Honorary Consul of France, who has asked for two of the paintings that were painted by local artists to be displayed at the Sir John Monash Centre in Villers-Bretonneux, France.

To our local artists, I say: I am incredibly proud of the work that you do. The work has been recognised and will be hung and displayed here in Parliament House in my office and also in these great places. Congratulations! You have done us proud.


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