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Painting Wisdom

The Portrait of a Senior Territorian exhibition is an important part of artist Dr Al Strangeways’ calendar.

“The competition has a really special place in my heart,” the multi-first place winner says.

“It’s celebrating Territory artists and seniors, and it gives us an opportunity to take some time and really notice and understand the experiences and contributions seniors have made. It’s just fabulous.”

In 2018, Strangeways took out the top prize with her portrait of Arrernte artist, Kathleen Wallace. 

This year, she’s chosen to paint another artist and long-term friend, Lesley Eastwell.

“Artists are a bit more amenable when you ask them to sit for you and are patient when you take a billion photos of them,” she laughs.

The painting process is something Strangeways values, as it’s a chance to sit and listen to the wisdom and stories of her subjects.

“Territorians are a bit special. The NT is a pretty unique place, whether you think of it climatically or socially. It’s got its own beauty and set of problems, and you can’t have one without the other, and you find wisdom and quiet strength among the people. With the variety of people I’ve painted that’s the common thread – that resilience and capacity to find joy, purpose and beauty in what can often be really quite difficult situations and experiences,” she says.

First, second and third winners are announced at a special opening this month. The public is invited to vote for their favourite portraits, with voting in the People’s Choice category open throughout the exhibition period. The winner is announced at the close of the 2019 exhibition. 

Portrait of a Senior Territorian Sat 9 Nov - Sun 15 Dec | Northern Territory Library | dtsc.nt.gov.au/poast

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