Life lived as art

Added: Terresa Favors - Date: 12.05.2022 02:51 - Views: 26952 - Clicks: 2232

For Tamika Elvin, her grandfather, Les, was not just an inspiration as a renowned painter, but as an Indigenous community leader, mentor and father figure. Spending time together at his archery club and camping by the freshwater creeks he loved, Les Elvin taught his grandchildren many life lessons of acceptance and respect.

Tamika clearly remembers her despair in primary school, after telling her friends that her family was Aboriginal, and being told she must be lying because she was white. His words of inspiration and empowerment reached far beyond his family, to the wider community, regardless of their background or age.

Les believed that all children should learn about Aboriginal history, because without understanding it, they could not respect it enough to keep it alive. It was a fear of his, that the stories of Indigenous communities would get lost in time. Like many of his ideas, Les hoped to share his message through the medium of art. He developed a teaching curriculum for school art classes now used by a of schools throughout New South Wales.

Inhis artwork featured on the Newcastle Knights' first Indigenous jersey in recognition the contribution of Indigenous players have made to the game. Les Elvin's de that was used by the Newcastle Knights on their first Indigenous jersey. Source: Supplied. After many years, when the family was finally able to express their true history publicly, it presented Elvin with a new beginning in life. Les Elvin with grand-daughter Tamika, his wife and grandson, Alex. Right: The emu painting Tamika worked on with her grandfather. Picture: Tamika Elvin Source: Supplied.

As a retiree he threw himself into learning the stories of the Wonnarua people and his Indigenous background. As well as studying his Fine Arts degree at 69, Les continued to learn the symbols of many mobs, selecting prevalent ones to use in his paintings. Like Tamika, her favourite times with her father were spent in the big studio at Cessnock, where anyone was welcome to come and work on their art together.

We would work through it together, the symbols and colours to use and how to do it. Anyone who was there would in with suggestions and the images became a very communal experience. Les Elvin with his daughter, who is also an artist, Leslie Salem. Picture: Leslie Salem Source: Supplied. Les taught his family that Aboriginal symbolism is a language, capable of telling many stories. It was their duty to speak with their artwork, never to put paint to canvas unless they knew the story it would tell.

Uncle Les sought to bridge the gap of cultural knowledge between non-Indigenous communities and the original land owners, encouraging youth to celebrate the heritage of their ancestors. Immediately after presenting a welcome to country speech at an Indigenous conference in AugustLes, aged 77, died unexpectedly.

He left behind a legacy of pride, and sharing of knowledge in the capable hands of his children, grandchildren and the community he inspired. Les Elvin with his paintings in his beloved shed. This picture was taken on the morning the artist passed away.

Life lived as art

out. NITV Home. Hunter artist, the late Les Elvin. Next Show Grid. Next Hide Grid. TRIBUTE From the time that he embraced his Aboriginality Les Elvin became a strong voice in the community, using his art as the medium to advocate for acceptance and respect for Indigenous history and culture. By Kate Eastoe. NITV News.

Life lived as art

The artist in his much-loved studio. Picture: Lesley Salem Source: Supplied. Les Elvin: Three generations of artists unite in Cessnock exhibition to honour a great storyteller. Special Features. When he told a story he traced the fold in a tablecloth with his forefinger just like you. Cultural dispersal and environmental vandalism in the Murray-Darling Basin.

Life lived as art

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Life lived as art

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