By Debra Mieth

Bribie Island Art Gallery. Art. Artwork. Artist. Brisbane. Queensland-1

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Tags: Bribie Island Art Gallery. Art. Artwork. Artist. Brisbane. Queensland. Military. War

Congratulations CRAIG ROHSE and sponsors Deception Bay RSL with the other Veterans’-owned or operated businesses for bringing together 19 Defence Force Vets in their magnificent Inaugural Veterans Art Exhibition. Bribie Island Community Arts Centre was honoured to showcase the works of these military heroes. Some of the 19 weren’t able to attend the Opening on Tuesday 9 April.

Featured image(above): Brenton Bailey

Western Australian BRENTON BAILEY for instance, though this ex-Air Force Engineer’s brilliant charcoal drawings of aircraft stirring up the dust and drama of daily military life had us in awe. My expectation was that the members who did attend would be ten feet tall like Craig, metaphorically speaking, but no, they were just normal. So I had to find them among the crowd, which had been welcomed into the Matthew Flinders Gallery by a troop of enthusiastic cadets marching to the lilt of bagpipes.

First to be found was ex- Diver, Driver, Parachute Rigger and Medic CRAIG MCCARTHY who took up photography as therapy after being medically discharged from the Army. Craig only snapped and mounted his two jawdropping seascapes of Fingal Head after deciding to participate in the exhibition. Poet KERRY CHAPMAN is soon off to East Timor with her husband Wayne, who takes Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affected veterans there to witness the Timorese people’s recovery from the war to facilitate the vets’ own recovery. Kerry’s lyrics picture Black Dogs, Butterfly Wings, Breathing and simply being alive.

Melbournian JOHN RHODEN served for 22 years in the Regular Australian Army in places as far afield as New Guinea, Borneo, Labuan Island, Philippines, and Vietnam. He now works in charcoal, graphite, and acrylic pouring. On point on the wall, ex-Able Seaman Cook and Army Rifleman JACK SMITH is now a street photographer, exhibiting a series of photos called Five States of Being. Down the wall is the work of ex- Driver, Combat Engineer and Psychology Examiner SALLY WITT who took up painting and leatherwork as therapy after being medically discharged in 2016.

Sally joined the military at the tender age of 17. Next to her, capturing the essence of rural life are the paintings of self-taught Australian War Artist, Toowoomba based AMBER MARTIN. Ex-Warrant Officer GORDON TRAILL bought a camera to take photos in Iraq to show his family what Baghdad looked like, then picked it up again after his discharge with PTSD. These days Gordon contributes to books such as The Victoria Cross: Australia Remembers. Ex RAAF Cook, PETER HEIDERICH also started art as therapy, first using coloured pencils than other media.

Peter is self-taught and likes experimenting. CLARE RANDALL takes us into the tiny colourful world of butterflies and bugs through her media of photography and drawing. Clare was a Navy-Marine Engineer on several big ships with HMAS in front of their names. After serving 20 years in the Australian Army, conceptual artist MICHAEL ARMSTRONG now works in a variety of media out of his Canberra studio. Exhibiting regularly, Michael has a Bachelor of Fine Arts and is undertaking a Master of Arts. Former RAAF member, now photographer PETER GLANVILL has won travel awards for his photographs. He runs ‘Portraits by Pete’ in Ipswich.

SEAN BURTON was a British and Australian soldier who served worldwide. For ten years he has been a street artist in order to maintain his health. Sean uses aerosol paint and handcut stencils to depict his military-themed artworks. GLEN GANTE served for 11 years in the Royal Australian Navy. With the unusual motto, ‘Visualize, Creep, Inspire’ he now practices photography focused on human emotions and everyday life. Glen runs ‘Mister G Photography’ and has been published in national and international books and magazines. Exsailor on warships in Perth and Sydney, SARAH EBSWORTH has a passion for photographic and video imagery.

She currently works as a Multimedia Producer for Queensland Fire and Emergency Services. Discharged in 2014, MICHAEL GLASS was an Army Signalman for 23 years. He now works as a Defence contractor training soldiers for future deployments. Photography filled a gap in his life post discharge. Landscapes and cityscapes are Michael’s loves, often using drones to take photos. KATH CALLOW is a Gold Coast artist following a 21-year military career.

This gypsy started Chinese brush painting in Malaysia, is drawn to water and vibrant colours, paints cafe walls on commission and is lately experimenting with resin. Twenty-five-year vet Paratrooper TIM CUMING, aka ‘Stomps’ brought up the rear of the Exhibition going clockwise around the wall. Just to be different, Tim is a cartoonist who took up the medium to make light of dark situations he encountered whilst stationed overseas. Today he runs SF (Stomps Fitness) Training in Shorncliffe.

As we pause to remember those whom age will not weary, say a prayer for our very much alive ex-military heroes whose art has not only lifted them from the trauma of war but enthralled the rest of us. And don’t miss their next exhibition around ANZAC Day 2020 at the Arts Centre.

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