Family history inspires artist's CQ passion project
A SCOTTISH ancestor's journey to Rockhampton inspired Belinda McGrath to tell her story through art.
She has added a personal touch to her display at Rockhampton's ReCollection exhibition, which has been in the works for about six months.
Ms McGrath said her great-grandfather John Milne (originally from Scotland) served for his country during World War I. Between then and World War II, he worked as a cook on a ship and when it docked in Australia he failed to return on board.
Ms McGrath said there was speculation he enjoyed his time so much Down Under he could have been too drunk. And although she said it was unknown how he arrived in Rockhampton, it was a common occurrence in those days.
For the last few years, the 37-year-old has been exhibiting her work, which is mainly lino printing.
Although she has enjoyed creating art since her schooling days.
She is one of the five artists, including Peta Lloyd, Derek Lamb, Clare Ford and Michelle Black, who've delved into stories of the region's past and collaborated to bring them to life through art.
Each artist had chosen different aspects of Rockhampton for their pieces.
Ms McGrath created a series of lino prints based on her ancestors and incorporated objects that belonged to them into her display to tell their tales.
Two historical books inspired the entire exhibition, The Early History of Rockhampton and The Battlers' Tales (written in the early 1900s).
"Some of the stories are just so interesting, things I'd never known about the place I've lived in all my life,” Ms McGrath said.
"Everyone's style is very different and the way they work and what they've produced.”
Ms Black collected mud from the Fitzroy River to symbolise an early flood the town endured as part of her experimental prints.
"In terms of imagery, we wanted to present things which were different rather than other aspects of the town which are synonymous with the area such as cattle and Customs House,” Ms McGrath said.
After the artists all agreed to go ahead with the idea of revisiting the region's past, conversations were made to plan the display and figure out which artist would focus on a particular story or event.
"You collect your images, start working on your design and start on your composition,” Ms McGrath said.
ReCollection was displayed at Walter Reid Cultural Centre during Beef Australia 2018 and will be shown at the Merilyn Luck Gallery at Rockhampton Art Gallery from June 30 to August 26.