This portrait is of Eric Brown, a proud Gundungurra man, commissioned by his wife Jade with whom he shares 4 children. Jade describes Eric as strong and determined and a committed family man who is passionate about his culture and community.
Erics wife, Jade sent me through the newspaper article that you can see aboveto work off, I think it came up alright!!
I was pretty much abandoned by my birth mother and incredibly abusive and violent birth father ( she gave birth to me while battered and unconscious from being bashed senseless by him.... I guess I'm lucky to be here at all! ) and was in various orphanages for the first few years of my life until I was incredibly lucky to be fostered and eventually adopted by an awesome loving and nurturing family. Fast forward 30 odd years.... My birth mother who I never knew had had a stroke caused by alcoholism and eventually died back in the 80's and although I knew I had blood siblings ( I'm apparently the second youngest of nine ), I had never had any contact with them and quite frankly I was perfectly happy with my life how it was. One day out of nowhere I receive a Facebook msg from a woman who I realise is my sister and after a few emails we agree to meet and try and put some pieces of the shattered puzzle together. Shortly afterwards we spent a few days together on a mini-holiday on a rural property with our families to get to know each other. The photo was taken on the verandah of that place. Its called Caloola Farm and its in the middle of nowhere in the A.C.T. I was sitting there with my son Kobe. I had a million things going through my head. I was happy to be there but incredibly sad at the same time thinking of what's been lost. It dawned on me that I virtually knew nothing about who I really was and just trying to get my head around the whole situation. The photo captured that and also the innocence of my son. He was only about 6 months old obviously had no idea as to how massive the moment was in regards to not only who I am, but also who he is.
Sadly the bonds formed there have been broken again and my journey continues now without them. I'm perfectly fine with that because this time it's different.
I know who I am.
My kids know who they are.
I am my own man and a proud Dhungutti, Dharawal and Bidjigal one at that! I've broken the cycle and and am stronger for it.
Blood doesn't make family, love does.
The original photograph of my son Kobe and I that inspired this portrait.
WINNER: 2016 Mental Health Art Works - Aboriginal Health Award