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Art and history combined in unique exhibition

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Artist of the month Dorothy Roddy. Photo: Narrandera Argus

Murrami woman Dorothy Roddy is June’s Artist of the Month in the Wide Open 2022 program which features a variety of artists’ work each month throughout the year.

Her creations will be on display from June 4 at Narrandera Arts and Community Centre.

This month’s exhibition, titled Yanco Moments In Time, takes on a different theme, with Mrs Roddy’s paintings being an educational tool as well as artworks.

Documenting the history of the Riverina Welfare Farm for Boys and the POW Camp 15 eras between 1928 and 1947 at what is now Yanco Agricultural Institute, the exhibition features 12 oil paintings which should appeal to art lovers as well as history buffs.

Mrs Roddy said the Yanco Agricultural Institute was the Riverina Welfare Farm for Boys from 1928 to 1942 and became a prisoner of war camp in 1942.

Currently the Western Riverina Arts Rooms of Requirement (ROR) Artist in Residence, Mrs Roddy took 12 months to complete the dozen artworks, transforming them into oil paintings from old photographs.

“I like to think of it as being more of an educational type of display,” she said.

“It’s a good way to learn some history of the local area and the paintings are fully documented.

“I was commissioned to paint and bring back to life, black and white photographs.

“So, now they are full colour paintings of the black and white photos that are in the Australian War Memorial and the NSW Library archives.”

Mrs Roddy said the hardest part of creating the exhibition was deciding on which historical photographs to paint from the 80 she was given to choose from.

“I tried to paint them representing the various activities that were undertaken there,” she said. “I painted 85 people in the 12 paintings.

“There’s also a connection with Narrandera, as the produce, milk and bread from there was delivered to Narrandera, to what is now the civilian airport.”

When she started painting in 2015, self-taught artist Mrs Roddy had a desire to hone her skills with watercolours, but abandoned it to focus on working with oils.

“I learned to draw first and always wanted to do watercolours but I didn’t have the knack for it,” she said.

“Oils in a realist style are my style, but it took me a while to figure that out.

“I have settled on a version of realistic impressionism to create my artworks and I’m practising more and getting better all the time.

“I specialise in portraits, they’re my favourite.”

Mrs Roddy said her motivation and enthusiasm often came from taking photographs and then creating an oil painting of the photograph.

“My inspiration most often comes from my surroundings, as well as places I have been,” she said.

“Some things just want to be painted.”

The art works can be viewed at the centre from 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday, Saturdays from 9am and 3pm and on Sundays from 10am to 2pm.

The program has been made possible with the support of the Narrandera Branch of the Bendigo Community Bank and Narrandera Shire Council.

Narrandera Argus 2 June 2022

This article appeared in the Narrandera Argus, 2 June 2022.


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