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Learning about culture through art

Brian Smith at work in the Bourke Aboriginal Art Gallery. PHOTO Layton Holley

“I learned how to paint from being around my aunties and uncles growing up; I’ve been to a lot of places and picked up a lot of techniques, so I’ve put all I’ve learnt into one style, and that’s what you’re seeing here,” Brian Smith said, looking at a canvas of earth-tones split in twain by a mighty blue river.

“The river brings life to the entire area; it holds everything together and connects all, so it regularly features in my paintings.”

Brian, one of the local artists at the Bourke Aboriginal Art Gallery on Oxley Street, sat down with The Western Herald in the lead up to the Easter Festival to talk about the gallery’s work with young people and the artworks on display.

“We try to get a few young fellas in to teach them about our culture through art,” he said.

“Many of the young people who come in here know a lot about the bush, know a lot about the country; they are born with the knowledge that is passed down from their ancestors, but taking that knowledge and expressing it on canvas is difficult for some, and that’s where I can help out.”

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