Unsung Heroes

Revealing the Remarkable in Seemingly Ordinary People
A Project by
Graham Smith
Graham Smith

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Where did this idea come from?

I have always been aware of the struggle faced by Aussie battlers. My mother brought up her two boys on her own. To support us, she worked as a barmaid in Midland, at a time when that occupation was frowned upon. Her priority was always focused on the welfare of "her boys". Regardless of how hard we were struggling, my mother always emphasised that we should look to the good in people and treat everyone with respect. Her home was always open and she never refused to help others whenever she could.
She was my first Unsung Hero.

Many years later I was involved with the Bush Babies Portrait Project which featured indigenous people who had been born in the bush. I painted a number of the portraits for that exhibition including one of Hazel Winmar, affectionately known as "Nana Purple". My wife and I were honoured to be invited to her 100th birthday celebration. She reminded me strongly of my mother who would have been the same age at that time.

I started to think that it would be a great idea to have a wider approach and to paint portraits of ordinary people who were heroes in their own right. I mentioned it at that time and it sat in the back of my mind until 6 years later when ARts Narrogin called for submissions for projects to pitch to a public crowd funding event called Pitch n Plate.
I submitted my idea of painting portraits of Unsung Heroes who would be nominated by members of the community. Money raised at that event helped pay for some of my materials.

That was in January of 2020. At that time I undertook to paint at least 10 portraits and would endevour to have them displayed in a website. Participants in the Pitch n Plate were then expected to report on their progress at the next event, 6 months later.
I received 44 nominations. 5 of those people declined or were withdrawn by their nominators. 8 nominations did not respond with photos and information required for the project. All of the remaining 31 nominations were painted and displayed in an exhihibiion at ARts Narrogin from the 18th of July 2020 to the 15th August 2020. Stories about those people were compiled and displayed underneath the portraits. Those portraits and stories are now featured in this website.

Where to from here?
Since the opening of the Unsung Heroes exhibition in July 2020 I have been receiving a number of other nominations for future portraits. These will be added to this website and hopefully displayed in a future exhibition.

Home | Portraits | List | Idea | Statement | Nominations

Email: smithy@bluewindfisher.com
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