‘Josh Lennox is a proud Kalkadoon man, who at the age of 2, as a result of a car accident, acquired a severe brain injury that has left him with cerebral palsy-type impairments. In November 2010, he joined the Nandjimadi Art Group, which enabled him to connect with other Indigenous people with disabilities. He has been mentored by an Uncle who has taught him how to use the freedom of expression within art to communicate. Each colour represents an emotion. Purple and pink are the Wild Man in him, green is growth, black and brown are pride in his heritage, blue is calming, yellow is joy, orange is life. He is very happy that Ita Buttrose purchased one of his paintings. Paul Calcott is the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, Cultural Resource Manager of the Suncare Community Services, Nandjimadji Indigenous art group for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living with disabilities. This group has enabled Josh to engage with other people with disabilities and share their stories. Art is soul. We are living souls and as a creation of God we have been given the ability to be creative. Art enables me as an artist to have expression of freedom. There is no disability whatsoever, whether is it physical, emotional or intellectual, that can stop us to paint what we feel. When we feel the urge to paint with colours that dance, colours that talk and colours that connect to our emotions, then that’s what a true artist is all about. Having a disability is an ability to paint whatever we want, and as artists we have the right, we have a gift of expression. And there is no disability in that gift. It is purely what it is. An expression of love, an expression of joy, and colours give us that connection. Colours in art, especially in contemporary and traditional Aboriginal art, are from the land. Ochre is our foundation, and to connect with ochre, to connect with the country, are the song lines – the song lines are stories of our creator, of how we come to be.’
ARTIST AND INVENTOR
Bibi Barba is an artist who invented a unique silk canvas which provides increased lustre and colour depth, while holding more paint at the surface. She appeared on the ABC’s New Inventors, and her innovation became a patented invention, enabling the development of commercial relationships.