The West

Exhibition honours unsung heroes
Artist Graham Smith by his portrait of Hazel Winmar. Picture Mogens Johansen/The West Australian

Portraits of unsung community heroes, including of the oldest living Noongar woman in WA, are helping cross racial and generational boundaries in the Wheatbelt.

Kellerberrin elder Hazel Winmar, who turned 100 last month, is among 16 senior Noongar figures celebrated in an exhibition at the WA Museum.

Graham Smith painted Mrs Winmar, known as "Nana Purple", for a project honouring elders born in the bush, missions or on the fringes of towns.

Smith, an artist for more than 40 years, said the Bush Babies: Honouring our Elders project brought diverse people together in a non-threatening way.

"It is a fantastic way to begin a relationship, get people together and celebrate our unsung heroes," he said. "You are sharing stories, respect and acknowledging one another."

The project is one of many run by Community Arts Network WA to promote art as an agent for positive social change.

Artists and their subjects came from the Noongar and non- indigenous communities in Narrogin, Quairading, Kellerberrin and other Wheatbelt towns.

Bush Babies: Honouring our Elders, held as part of NAIDOC Week, will be on display with handcrafted baskets by Noongar women at the WA Museum in Perth until October 19.

The West Australian

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