A MOUNTAIN AND HIS CAMERA

Our favourite 6ft 5in ‘mountain’ is back with us as Artist of the Month for August, right on time for the Matthew Flinders Art Prize in the gallery. And that, as many readers will know, is significant because Craig Rohse took out first in the art prize last year. His winning portrait of trio Three Wise Veterans has subsequently been sold, reprinted and sold several times since then.

Featured Image(above): Paratroopers jumping out of C-130 Hercules

Craig tells me he is doing something different for this exhibition, away from military life. So the mind boggles wondering what the wall at Bribie Island Community Arts Centre will reveal. Whatever he produces, it is sure to reflect Craig’s award and grant-winning status as a becoming well-known, emerging photographer – his latest achievement in May being exactly that: recognition as one of the Top 20 of Australasia’s Top Emerging Photographers 2019 in the Portrait category. Among those awards was a Highly Commended for his entry in 2018 Napier Waller Art Prize.

Now permanently hanging in the Australian War Memorial, the photo, aptly titled Transition, is a self-portrait taking a critical view of four stages from defence to civilian life. For after serving in both the German and Australian Armies as a paratrooper, deployed in the Solomon Islands, East Timor and Afghanistan, Craig hung up his uniform as a result of the injury. Thereafter followed for him a period of uncertainty with a loss of identity and purpose. However, Craig Rohse admirably rediscovered himself when he completed a Diploma of Visual Arts in photography at TAFE Tasmania in 2016.

From then he has gone from strength to strength, opening his Little Gallery and with his wife, Vanessa, the Zesty Lemon Cafe, both in Deception Bay. And most of us know about Craig’s successful and ongoing efforts to bring Defence Force Veteran artists together to exhibit at the gallery in April this year and into the future. To quote Mervyn Napier Waller, the young man for whom the first national military art prize is named and who lost his arm fighting at Bullecourt, France in WWI, then took up drawing with his left hand during convalescence:

“An artist draws with his head, not his hands.” Craig Rohse is one of his ilk: an artist who makes pictures with his head – seen through a lens and captured by a camera! Craig’s Artist of the Month talk followed by morning tea will be held on Friday 9 August at the Arts Centre, just one day before our art prize finishes. Bookings for catering purposes can be made by ringing 3408 9288.

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