Because everyone has the right to be truly free and happy
Since starting The Day Brightener Gallery, I have enjoyed spending my lunch breaks scouring art books at my local bookstore. A few days ago, I was blessed to stumble upon one about the Australian Aborginal artist Billy Benn Perrurle.
As I flicked through the panels I was overwhelmed by the vibrant beauty of the paintings, and in awe of the spirit which they encompassed.
Today I finally got to do some research on Billy Benn, and what an interesting story it is. He began painting while serving a 15 year prison sentence, to try and maintain his connection to the country he had left behind. For aboriginal people, there is a deep and integral connection with the land. It provides the foundation to their sense of self, and their meaning of life. Billy Benn used his memories of his home landscapes to transform his incarceration into a time of renewal and creation.
“Through painting he found stability, it anchored him to the world, it was a bridge to those memories and to that life, and to those feelings, that connection that is so important to his identity and aboriginal culture.
Carrying the country within, Billy Benn says when he sees the country in his mind’s eye his spirit is there, and his spirit lifts.” (author, Catherine Peattie)
Billy Benn is truly an inspiration, and his works capture everything I can only strive for in The Day Brightener. They are so beautiful because of the feelings, and the soul which he puts into them:
“My memories are stronger now, so it’s memory, here, in the brain. Always I’m thinking of nice things in my paintings. I’m painting the feeling of being really good and happy all the time.” Billy Benn Perrurle.
And so I am truly proud to have the following painting by Billy Benn Perrurle as the next addition to The Day Brightener Gallery. I hope it brings brightness and hope to your day, just as it does for me, and for the artist himself.
Arteyerre (Mt Riddock) 2007 – Billy Benn Perrurle
For more on Billy Benn, go to: http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2011/02/22/3145379.htm
For more of Billy’s paintings, go to: http://www.ngart.com.au/images/exhibition/billybenn/billy_benn_catalogue.pdf