A detail from “Amphitheatre”, part of Vincent Serico’s Carnarvon suite of paintings assessing the impact of European settlement in south-east Queensland

July 13, 2020

A Cherbourg artist whose works hang in the National Gallery, the National Museum and the Queensland Art Gallery is the featured exhibitor at the Wondai Regional Art Gallery this month.

The late Vincent Serico (d. 2008) grew up in Cherbourg’s infamous dormitory system during the 1950s before going on to forge a career in the arts that spanned more than 40 years.

His retrospective exhibition – “Some People Are Stories” – began touring Queensland regional galleries in February, 2018.

The Wondai Regional Gallery is the last stop on this tour before the works return to Brisbane’s Fireworks Gallery.

On Saturday, the art gallery reopened its doors for a COVID-safe opening attended by Cherbourg Mayor Elvie Sandow, Eric Law AM, South Burnett Deputy Mayor Gavin Jones along with councillors Kathy Duff, Danita Potter and Scott Henschen and gallery patron Ros Heit.

Local entertainers Lillian Gray and Neil Hutton provided live music and the gallery’s volunteers provided finger foods, tea and coffee for the guests.

Mayor Sandow opened proceedings with a Welcome To Country.

This was followed by an address from Eric Law, who grew up alongside Vincent in the Cherbourg Boys Dormitory and remembered him as a quiet, shy boy who was fascinated with culture and the impact of white settlement on it.

He said the exhibition was the first chance he’d had to see Vincent’s artworks, and he was impressed with their strength and diversity.

“Some people think that all Aboriginal people should be painters or dancers, but that’s wrong,” Eric told the audience.

“We believe that the spirits of our old folk pick who’ll be a painter or a dancer, and who won’t be either of those things.”

He said it was clear that Vincent had been picked as a painter, and it was something Vincent had pursued relentlessly until his death at age 62.

Gallery curator Elaine Madill said she was very proud to bring this travelling exhibition to Wondai.

She had seen it at Childers when it began its long tour in early 2018, and was delighted when Museums and Galleries Queensland selected Wondai to be its final tour stop.

“These are works that we rarely get to see in our area, even though the artist grew up here and some works are actually about Cherbourg and Barambah Creek,” she said.

“I am very grateful to MAGQ for favouring our region with this wonderful show.”

Elaine said the gallery was now reopening to the public after several months of pandemic lockdown.

However, attendances were currently restricted to a maximum of 20 people at any one time.

“This won’t be a problem for anyone who comes to visit us most days but it does impact our official openings, which is why today’s event is so small,” she said.

“However, we’ll be holding a second opening for 20 Friends of the Gallery next week, and we’ll probably continue doing things like this until restrictions ease to the point where we can have 50 people here at one time.”

  • “Some People Are Stories” by Vincent Serico will remain on display at the Wondai Regional Art Gallery from 10:00am to 4:00pm daily until the end of August. Admission to view the exhibition is free.
Wondai Regional Art Gallery patron Ros Heit chatted with curator Elaine Madill at the opening on Saturday
Elder Eric Law AM and his wife Shirley chatted with Cherbourg Mayor Elvie Sandow before proceedings got under way; Eric knew the artist as a child and Mayor Sandow performed a Welcome To Country
Lillian Gray and Neil Hutton played and sang for the guests at the opening
A detail from one of Vincent Serico’s “Cooktown Miners” series … the exhibition occupies all three galleries
“Lightning Man, His Wife and Her Sister” is a large work that occupies prime position at the exhibition
Deputy Mayor Gavin Jones, Mayor Elvie Sandow and Cr Kathy Duff cut a ribbon to declare the exhibition officially open, but found that social distancing posed a few problems … getting a ribbon long enough to do the job was one of them!
This work reflects the artist’s childhood memories of Cherbourg and Barambah Creek

Anderssons Fruit Market for quality fruits and vegetables

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