FINDING VERA: Stefanie Story and Annette Tyson looking at the works collected for the latest Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery exhibit.
FINDING VERA: Stefanie Story and Annette Tyson looking at the works collected for the latest Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery exhibit.

A local ‘found’ Vera for a new art exhibit

THE newest exhibit at Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery came from one Bundaberg resident’s crazy journey learning about the lady behind a painting she inherited.

Assistant curator of the Finding Vera exhibit Stefanie Story began researching Vera Scarth-Johnson after falling in love with a painting she was given.

Ms Story was captivated by Vera’s life story and discovered she came to Bundaberg around the early fifties after studying and becoming a farmer in England.

“She settled in Alloway and was only the second female to be assigned a cane licence,” Ms Story said.

“She was also a member of the canegrowers and tobacco growers.

“She was a big environmentalist and painted endangered species and native flowers.”

Ms Story said once she struck up conversations with people about Vera she discovered a number of people had her paintings.

“As I started to speak to people they would send me to someone else’s place who had her paintings.

“A lot of the paintings weren’t exactly valued, they were under beds or in containers and a couple were rescued from Lifeline.

“I was surprised not many people knew about her because she really had an impact in Bundaberg and it was such a pity she left here.”

Ms Story said once she had 10 she had the idea of holding an exhibit and flushing them out of hiding.

“The idea was they had to be flushed out of people’s attics and so on and through just talking to people, before I knew it I had 50.

“I was told by the gallery if I had 20 I could probably have an exhibit and right up to the last day we had about eight more.”

Ms Story said seeing the paintings hung up was overwhelming.

“I felt very proud. A friend, Annette Tyson, has helped me the whole way through and she jumped on board and ran with my idea.

“I have had tremendous support and the gallery team have been fantastic.”

The exhibit is on now and will run until April 16.



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