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KATURA ART - chasing off cyclones with love…

KATURA ART - chasing off cyclones with love…

Meet Katura Halleday - her vibrant ART - and a will to improve the lives of students in Mozambique

By Ian Browne Shamrock News

Gold Coast artist Katura Halleday was a ‘Women in Business Rising Star for 2018’. She was also nominated for ‘7 News Young Achiever Award’, and along with netting local and international art awards, Katura was a ‘Gold Coast Citizen of the Year’ finalist.

Katura is 14 years old….

A winter coffee in our mitts, I sat with Katura & mum Kyron for this story at The Modern Grocer in Murwillumbah. Eagerly determined to share her story, this Year 9 student met my querying gaze with a polite, yet strident confidence - venturing on beyond her years.

“I don’t draw things that are perfect, I like imperfections in nature.”

How does ‘locality’ influence your art?

“I have always looked at the Australian landscape for its unique colours. I like using undertone colours. For example, a green leaf has more colours if you look at it carefully, it’s red underneath; yellow, orange, even a bit of blue can be found there. The area where I grew up is not pristine, it’s not perfect like the well-organised and constructed cities. I don’t draw things that are perfect, I like imperfections in nature. I live on a farm and we have been breeding puppies since I was four years old, while caring for our horses. So, there’s lots of cleaning up. I am used to imperfection, I guess. We live near the Gold Coast in the hinterland, near the town of Tallai. We have really nice sunsets and sunrises.”

What made you so interested in art, where did it all begin? Spill the beans Katura, who are your main influences?

“There was no beginning, and there is certainly no end. Maybe my art wasn’t very good at first, but it has evolved. Art influences? Well, I am a bit of an oddity, I don’t have many. Gillian Buttress Grove is though, she is the head of ‘Artable’ - and runs art workshops and retreats. Gillian brings artists in from around the world, and here in Australia. I get to meet them all as I attend these retreats. I also do a five-day retreat in Tyalgum with Don Milner, who is an excellent acrylic landscape artist. I enjoyed attending art workshops with Jenni Kelly and John Turton.”

OUTBACK VIEW ‘Lilies': Is this beautiful painting depicting a local scene, and does it linger within a nocturnal moment?

“I painted this in Tyalgum using the ‘Sleeping Man’ mountain range as the backdrop. It’s a mix of two images - the sky and mountains - while the lilies were superimposed into theme. There’s bits and pieces from everywhere really. But it’s a day shot. The medium is acrylic. I went against the norm that day during the Don Millner workshop. I used an upside down, vertical movement for the water shown there with the lilies, rather than the horizontal movement of water that everyone else was doing that day – while they shuffled their paintings from side to side. It’s odd, but it’s a good effect. I created this painting nearly a year ago. It was shown at the ‘Coomera Westfield Heritage Art Expo’.”

‘Contemplation’ The girl with the pink hair…

“This was my first pastel painting, I was 13. I had used some pencil and acrylics, but pastel was new to me. Everyone else was doing blue hair, so I chose pink. I am painting a man named Bob soon for the ‘Centenarian Project’ for Seniors Week. This is a series of artwork of people over 100 years of age. Bob recently turned 101. He is such a nice and humble man. Bob was a contentious objector during World II. He cooked in hospitals in places like Darwin for the war effort.”

In terms of why you paint, who is your target audience?

“I paint for like-minded people. People who understand how you did it, and what you worked towards. People with similar interests. It is always good to have a connection. I do sell some of my art - there a few pieces I will never part with though - as I love them too much. I was offered a sale at the Mudgeeraba Show just two days ago. It is a painting of an elephant in charcoal with a colourful pastel background of yellow, billowing clouds. The lady who wanted to purchase it had just returned from Africa, and she had fallen in love with elephants. Dad really loves this piece. I didn’t sell, dad would be cranky.”

Has there been a noticeable development in the range of your art styles?

“Very much so with my cartooning. With my paints and pastels and pencils I like to use black-n-white and colour, mixed together. I do this in my photography as well. I used to just work with pencils, but I love pastel and charcoals. They are my favourite mediums. They’re affordable and easier to manipulate than pencil. But pastel comes off more easily, so you have to be careful how much pressure you apply when constructing the work. Same as with charcoal, it’s a science when building your painting, and when moving around the work.”

In what direction are you headed with your art, through business, or do you hope to mainly show your creations at art exhibitions?

“Art will never be my career choice, it’s something I can improve on a lot. I’m not saying that I won’t keep selling art, but there is more to my future career pathway, and Uni. I used art in Africa to connect to people there, and this is what I plan to do with my art, connect to people. “8 x 8 to Educate’ is the art expo I am running later in the year at the Dust Temple. The winning art piece will fetch $1000 in prize money, $500 for the kid’s prize. You can enter any medium. All funds will go to ‘Mission Educate’ to a school in Mozambique."

“I want to enter international expos too. ‘Rochester Art Expo’ in New York is an international expo I have submitted art to for the past few years. I sold some art there, the money raised goes to the charity of choice of the art expo.”

RINA’S STORY You & your sister recently illustrated a book. What are the novel’s themes?

“ ‘Rina’s Story’ was written by author Dr Natasha Yates. The illustrations were a shared effort between my sister Matika and I. She is 12 years old. The story is set in Burleigh Heads, and it’s about a girl called Rina who wakes up in hospital with a head injury. She goes home with a family and tries to work out what is ‘real’. So really, it is a tale about rising from adversity. It was a long process doing all the drawings and then printing them. I adapted the author’s story, so we had to do the drawings through her mind. It was hard; studying how the girl was standing, what she was wearing. To complete the sketches in the novel we used graphite pencils and paper, then layered over in ink. You can purchase Rina’s Story online for $15. The money will be donated to ‘Mission Educate’ for a group of female students in Mozambique.

“We visited her family, saw her little fire that was her kitchen; the bucket that was the bathroom.”

What is your interest in Africa?

Sanitation, medication and education are my concern for the people of poor countries. I visited Fiji when I was 11 and saw that people did not live like me. I want to improve peoples’ lives. I have also visited other parts of the world where people aren’t as fortunate as we are in Australia. In time I would like to do some work to help people in some other countries."

"Going to Mozambique was my first opportunity to be ‘hands on’. I thought I had to be in my 30’s or 40’s to achieve this, so knowing I could do this ‘now’ was an opportunity not to be wasted. I went over to Mozambique in September and October of last year with Mission Educate. It was a five week stay where I worked within a short film by Jude Kalman. I became friends with many students there. Making friends with people halfway across the world is pretty special. We are still friends. I sponsor a little girl, seeing her living conditions was terrible. We visited her family, saw her little fire that was her kitchen; the bucket that was the bathroom - the few things they had to survive. I went over with ‘Fish Films’ as part of a documentary used by Mission Educate to raise funds. They filmed me visiting families and students in Mozambique. You can see the little girl and her life in Jude Kalman’s doco."

What needs to be done in Mozambique? How can we help?

“Mozambique is the fifth poorest country in the world. They have been through some rough times of late. There was a flood - then a cyclone - followed by another cyclone! A lot of things need to be done, and Mission Educate is doing so much there. They are allowing students in Mozambique access to a better education, and a better future. People can get involved by changing the way they help others; your neighbours to start with - or sponsor a child. You can sell art and buy goods through Mission Educate. But exposing people to the realities of how people live in poorer countries can see a change. Awareness is a problem. When I tell many of my own friends about what is taking place overseas, they are surprised: “Really, that is still happening?” I have raised a $132,000 in goods or cash. This includes making available to the students of Mozambique: chairs, laptops, books, tools and cash donations.”

“At first the kids were a bit wary of me, calling out “Muzoongoo!”

“Next year, I am going on a ‘humanitarian’ school trip to Tanzania. I will then visit a dolphin research centre in Zanzibar, to learn about the impact of tourists on dolphins. Afterwards, I will do a follow-up doco on Mozambique, showing the effects of the cyclones there. This will show how people are faring. Teachers are living in shelters with no roofs and no brick walls, yet they have such positive outlooks."

"People there are happy to receive whatever they get; they are so humble and happy. At first the kids were a bit wary of me, calling out “Muzoongoo” (white man). After a while they were less wary and they mobbed me, they were fascinated by my blonde hair. I took over bubble solution and they got so excited; they were very happy, jumping around all the bubbles floating around. And with art, they are so excited to see colours, even when you are just drawing a line. Using water colours broke down barriers in communication with the students from the middle and senior school. We all sat together and created; finding common ground. The people of Mozambique are so friendly. They have so very little and have been through tough times, yet they have such big smiles, and are so pleased with anything that is provided to help them get on with their lives.”


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