MEDIA RELEASE 20th April 2008

Ruby’s Place Gallery within the Chapel by the Sea will exhibit the work of Mini Heath, one of the nation’s foremost exponents of contemporary Aboriginal art, during May. Curator, John Queripel announced that he will be joining the already announced Fay Nelson exhibit. ‘To have two such prominant Aboriginal art figures exhibiting together is a real scoop for us’ noted the delighted Mr Queripel.

Mini Heath is an Australian artist based in Port Stephens New South Wales. His work has been widely seen on canvas and as fabric around the world His first big break through came when In the nineteen eighties his prints were featured in a fashion parade at Au Printemps department store in Paris.

That parade grew out of a programme devised by Lilly Madden, nutrition co-ordinator at Redfern Aboriginal Medical Service. She had been running health, beauty and modelling classes to train and increase self esteem among young Koories and decided to stage regular fashion parades to display the talents of young Aboriginal models and designers. One of these parades was documented by a freelance journalist and photographer and appeared in the Paris daily, Le Monde. The article created such interest that they were invited by parade garments at the Au Printemps department store in Paris. Supported by the Aboriginal Medical Service a group of ten models displayed the work of three Aboriginal designers, Bronwyn Bancroft, Mini Heath and Euphemia Bostock.

In May 2007 Mini was involved in the Drawing Together Exhibtion. The Drawing Together exhibition featured 70 works of art, many by well-known artists including Sally Morgan, Fiona Foley, Jimmy Pike and Queenie McKenzie, along with that of Mini Heath.

He has illustrated many books most recently ‘The Dreaming story Yulu’s Coal’ written by author: T. Coulthard, C. Coulthard and B. McKenzie.
The Dreaming story is about the how the Adnyamathanha men tell this Dreaming Story which was handed down to them by their grandfathers. It is vividly illustrated by Mini Heath and the accompanying audiotape has the story both sung and narrated.

Reprinted Artworks by Mini Heath are often seen in collations of Aboriginal art such as, ‘Aboriginal Australia: Contemporary Artists’, a reprint produced by ATSIC for the bicentennary as well as illustrating such stories as ‘Possum, Heaven and Earth’, ‘Jimmy’s Billiabong’, ‘Trespassers Keep Out’, ‘Bush Figures’, ‘Hot Fitzroy Night’, and ‘Moon Fish’.

He will be joining Fay Nelson. Prominent Aboriginal artist and art’s administrator Fay Nelson will be the next art exhibit at the Chapel by the Sea. The Chapel, under its Ruby’s Place Cafe program, has commenced a series of art exhibits as part of its regular cultural activities. The work of Fay Nelson makes not only an appropriate beginning to this program but also one that is of the highest quality.

Fay Nelson is a Banjin woman and traditional oner, her homeland being Hinchinbrook Island, north Queensland. She states, ‘art has been a driving force in my life. I remember watching my father draw pictures on the walls of our hut and enjoyed watching him create beautiful images of the animals in our country. My major career interest has been the arts, mainly visual arts and dance.’

Ms Nelson was the founding president of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Skills Development Association, now the foremost dance training college for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. She has also been the Director of the Aboriginal Arts Board, the Australia Council and as the Regional Aboriginal Arts Officer worked with Aboriginal communities along the Mid North Coast of N.S.W.

Since retiring to near Wauchope on the Mid North Coast Fay has begun to rediscover her own art with her paintings creatively depicting scenes from the environment in which she lives. ‘Marked by both its boldness and subtely Fay’s work has a power that should not be missed,’ commented curator John Queripel.

The exhibition opening will be 7pm Friday 9th May upstairs in the Chapel’s Ruby’s Place Cafe. The exhibit then will hang for the next month.


Details: John Queripel 9130-3445 (W), 9365-3903 (H).


Artist: mini heath, fay nelson

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