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Bellevue Artspace
Gates’ works reflect her rich cultural heritage and well-travelled life.

Bellevue Artspace hidden gem

By Claire Ottaviano

FIND a collection of little treasures at Chelinay Gates’ latest exhibition Gems, opening next week at Bellevue Artspace.

Gems is a display of oil paintings on a range of mediums from canvas to antique tins and emu eggs.

“There’s something beautiful about painting on antique tins,” Ms Gates said.

“When you hold it in your hand you think, what did this person have in it, you can imagine it being in someone’s pocket 100 years ago and what they were doing with it.

“The tin already has an energy about it.”

As an Aboriginal-Kurdish woman, award winning author and a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine, Gates’ works are steeped in cultural history and echo her lived experiences.

“I think I express a lot of loss,” she said.

“A love of beauty is sometimes because there’s been a lot of pain.

“People might look at something and think oh that’s beautiful but they don’t know that it comes from having not had something beautiful.”

The pieces feature varying subject matters from expressionist portraits to classical still life and landscapes, all blended with a touch of magic and inspired by the places and things she loves.

“It (art) is a madness,” she said.

“When you think of all the people who paint, they really don’t have a choice, you’re dragged there kicking and screaming.

“Sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s painful.”

At the Gems grand opening on December 10 there will be a reading of her first draft of Caved In, a play about the blasting of Juukan Gorge as well as free copies of her book Bushfire Dreaming and children’s book My Dog Mat.

Gems is open December 10, 11 and 12 from 10am to 4pm.

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