Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lea Stevens in Art Buzz Column in Cooktown Local News

'Art Buzz' weekly column inaugural edition, in Cooktown Local News

By Faye Pini.
Ph 0434 356 362

Wednesday December 16th 2009

Artist's First Solo Exhibition On Show

Local artist Lea Stevens is gaining increasing recognition for her paintings of animals and the environment as related to her indigenous cultural heritage. 

As a member of the Cooktown School of Art Society and volunteer at the Elizabeth Guzsely Gallery she has been successful with sales of her paintings and attracted a lot of interest from locals and visitors to Cooktown.

Now she has her first solo exhibition titled 'From the Land, Through the Rainforest, to the Sea'.  Two paintings sold on opening night, Friday 4 December and the exhibition is showing until Tuesday 19 January, at the UMI Art Gallery Martyn St, Cairns.

Lea comes from a large family of nine children with links through her father to the mbarbarum and Yedinjie groups and through her mother to the  KuKu Yalanji, and Guguu Yimidthirr. 

She first took an interest in art in the 1980's after watching family members painting and making artifacts. 

Lea says her uncle Joe and aunt Betty ran an Aboriginal arts and crafts shop, Anuaka, where they sold all their art work.  They encouraged her to paint boomerangs and clap-sticks and the tools the ancestors used.  She observed older cousins and local murris making and painting these artifacts. 

In 2007, Lea picked up a paint brush and started painting with acrylics on canvas. 

At the Naidoc celebration in Cairns Lea's sister helped to get a stall together where they sold family art works,  It was a real confidence boost when her art work sold to tourists and locals, and one of her paintings was purchased by a gallery owner. 

Lea then had a showing of her work at the Cooktown Art Festival, and later at Cardwell’s Land and Sea Conference Festival where she also did well.   

With the opportunity to showcase her paintings in Cairns, Lea's artistic career continues to develop.  Any locals who have the opportunity should call into UMI Art Gallery and support a talented new local artist.

Meanwhile, Cooktown's Elizabeth Guzsely Galley is closed for the summer and will reopen on January 16.

As volunteers are on holiday or out of town we don't have the staff to open on a regular basis - but the galley can open for a group that needs a place to meet or is interested in running an event. 

The gallery is in the centre of town, has a small kitchen area, tables and chairs, toilets and parking out the back. 

Anyone who wishes to make use of the gallery for a community event please phone me on  0434 356 362 or email as the members are open to other groups in town using the venue.  And please contact me with any and all 'art' news for this weekly column.

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