Sunday Afternoon along the Mehi unveiled at Fairview
A WORK of art like no other was today (March 16) unveiled at Fairview Nursing Home.
Sunday Afternoon along the Mehi is the collaboration of nine artists who gave their time and talent to create a painting that is now the centrepiece of Fairview’s Perry James Lodge Dining Room.
Sunday Afternoon along the Mehi has taken 18 long but enjoyable months to complete.
Artists Amanda Humphries, Annette Coward, Belinda Williams, Fi Claus, Ian Reardon, Janelle Boyd, Jennifer Ryan, Kylie McNamara and Margaret Adams started with a blank canvas measuring four metres by one-and-a-half metres.
They finished with a gift to the residents of Fairview that is enriched with community spirit and generosity.
There were palette-loads of acrylics, oodles of inspiration and talent, and plenty of warm-hearted camaraderie and laughter along the way – and a timely reminder of all the good things that Moree has to offer.
Project co-ordinator Bette Montgomery, who was on the Fairview board when Sunday Afternoon along the Mehi was, well, still on the drawing board, praised the talented group of artists.
“Anyone could look at it and not realise that it wasn’t done by just one person, and that’s pretty amazing when you’ve got nine different artists who paint regularly.
“Honestly, I’d defy anyone to say who did what part of it.
“It’s quite amazing – my husband Bill reckons that getting artists together is like herding cats,” she laughed.
But there is much more to Sunday Afternoon along the Mehi than talent and goodwill, Mrs Montgomery said.
There was plenty of faith, as well.
“I was on the Fairview board when we started this,” Mrs Montgomery said.
“I’ve since had to retire due to family commitments but the board let me continue to co-ordinate the project.
“They were brave enough to have faith in us and let us go ahead with it and, as a result, it was a goer,” she said.
Moree mayor Katrina Humphries, who with Federal member for Parkes Mark Coulton proudly unveiled Sunday Afternoon along the Mehi, said the work was a perfect example of “Moree at its finest”.
“How lovely it is to have such a good-news story,” Cr Humphries said.
“A big thank-you goes to Bette Montgomery for pulling together such an amazing collaboration of local artists.
“This is the Moree Plains at its finest. It is what our community does so well – unite, work and conquer,” she said.
Mr Coulton told the huge crowd that he often felt “inadequate” at such art-inspired functions.
“I failed finger-painting when I was in kindergarten,” he laughed.
“But people with artistic ability truly amaze me and inspire me, and I think sometimes that we don’t appreciate the importance of art and culture in our community – and there is so much talent in the community,” he said.
Chair of the Fairview board Joy Peachey thanked project co-ordinator Bette Montgomery for the time and energy that enabled Sunday Afternoon along the Mehi to become a reality.
“It’s been a wonderful effort by Bette and the enthusiasm and so much time that she and the wonderful artists have put into this project has been incredible,” Mrs Peachey said.
Contributing artist Belinda Williams said she was humbled – and grateful – to be part of such a huge project.
“It has been a very exciting and creative two years,” Ms Williams said.
“Being involved in creating this wonderful, large canvas of the Mehi River that flows through our township has been a tremendous experience.
“Every time I have come to work with all these talented Moree artists and make my mark, I have felt overjoyed.
“I am truly grateful for being involved. It’s been a tremendous experience and the finished painting is such a fantastic outcome for our Fairview residents,” she said.
Words and Image: Bill Poulos
Click this link to read how Sunday Afternoon along the Mehi evolved from an idea to canvas:
Click this link to read about Sunday Afternoon along the Mehi as it neared completion: