Bush Babies - Honouring our Elders born in the bush

Fri Apr 13 to Sun Jun 24

Showing At: Address:
55 Knight Terrace, Denham WA 6537
Opening Hours:
Monday – Friday: 9am – 4.30pm Saturday - Sunday: 10am – 4pm


Community Arts Network in partnership with ART ON THE MOVE are proud to present an exhibition of portrait paintings and photographs that honour the strength and resilience of Noongar Elders from Western Australia's Wheatbelt.

The ART ON THE MOVE touring exhibition Bush Babies – Honouring our Elders born in the bush is a collection of paintings of sixteen Elders who were painted as part of Community Arts Network's Bush Babies community arts project, which records and preserves the unique stories of the Elders who were born in the bush, reserves, missions or fringes of towns.

The paintings, and the short stories that accompany them, open a window on a sorry part of our history. The Elders featured in this exhibition all lived under harsh government policies that denied them basic human rights, including the privilege of being born at the local hospital. Many of them were born in tents, makeshift shelters or under the stars, with senior women in their families serving as midwives. This exhibition gives an outlet to share this story to audiences and create awareness of these issues amongst communities.

The exhibition was inspired by a single photograph taken during one of Community Arts Network's digital media workshops. The photographer, Jarrad Seng, who is well known for his work with musicians Ed Sheeran and Passenger, captured a stunning image of Ballardong Elder Hazel Winmar. The photograph inspired Wheatbelt artist Graham Smith to paint her portrait and this in turn inspired other artists to come forward to volunteer to honour an elder on canvas.

“The first time I saw Jarrad Seng's marvellous photo of Nana Purple (Hazel Winmar), I knew that this was a painting I had to do. I feel very privileged to be a part of this Bush Babies Elders Portrait project and I hope it continues to open doors towards reconciliation and the honouring of Elders all around Australia." - said Artist Graham Smith.

Hazel who was affectionately known as 'Nana Purple' sadly passed away shortly after her 100th birthday and the official opening of the Bush Babies exhibition in Perth. Her family wanted the exhibition to continue as a tribute to her memory.

A mix of professional and student artists have painted the portraits that feature in the show. All painters volunteered their time to honour the Noongar Elders. Many of the non-indigenous artists who took part, lived alongside the Elders in their town, but knew little or nothing about them or the hardship and oppression they endured. Bush Babies – Honouring our Elders born in the bush has already reached 72,000 people in Perth alone, being on show at WA Museum, and is continuing its tour with ART ON THE MOVE across regional Western Australia.


April 13 - June 24, 2018 Shark Bay World Heritage and Discovery Centre, Denham WA

July 3 - July 14, 2017 Northbridge Piazza (Community Arts Network), Northbridge WA
May 27 - June 11, 2017 Rockingham Arts Centre, Rockingham WA
April 4 - May 13, 2017 Seniors Centre, Cockburn WA

November 25, 2016 - January 15, 2017 Goldfields Arts Centre, Kalgoorlie WA
September 24 - October 30, 2016 Bunbury Regional Art Galleries, Bunbury WA
July 21 - August 22, 2016 Wanneroo Library and Cultural Centre, Wanneroo WA
May 25 - June 25, 2016 Carnarvon Library and Gallery, Carnarvon WA
April 4 - May 15, 2016 Katanning Gallery, Katanning WA



Community Arts Network

Michelle White

Mike Beckwith, Joan Cosby, Ned Crossley, Sharyn Egan, Margaret Fleay, Karen Keeley, Erica McQueen, Tash Gillespie, Sue Riley, Jarrad Seng, Graham Smith, Ross Storey, Curtis Taylor, Helen Warrilow, Jay West, Michelle White

paintings, photographs

23 works
50 - 75 running metres

Education resource (includes teachers notes, curriculum and ideas, glossary of terms, primary and secondary gallery questions)
Free education and public programs (includes public events, artist talks incursion and excursion with schools, discounted ARTBUS, sponsored by Healthway to promote the Act Belong Commit message)

Media on the Move Kit (includes e-invitation template, artwork for hard copy invitation, media release, promotional images, logos and acknowledgements)

Exhibition, ART ON THE MOVE and Healthway panels
Artwork labels
Exhibition brochures (free for distribution)

Working across cultures; Protocols for working with Aboriginal Communities; Handling artworks; Exhibition lighting

April 2016 - September 2018
Available WA and interstate

WA $3,300.00 (inc gst)
Interstate to be advised

3 crates, totalling 2.5 cubic metres; exhibition delivered by a dedicated vehicle (WA)

*Extra cost involved