A Mary Valley couple who met and fell in love in the art room make their first public exhibition together with "Out of Our Minds" which opens at Kenilworth on Saturday, October 30.
Their combined display of some 16 paintings join nine works from 43-year-old Brooloo artist Zoro Thomas, who passed away last month.
Vit Martinek met Anna Howard at TAFE where they were both studying a Diploma in Painting.
Their passion for art, and the Mary Valley community they live in, came to fore recently when an art space was offered to them rent-free in Elizabeth Street.
The former Kenilworth Artspace gallery closed, and Vit took advantage of the opportunity to fulfil a dream to develop an artist-run initiative.
"Out of Our Minds" is actually the second exhibition for the Kenilworth Artist Run Initiative (KARI), whose focus is for members to support each other as artists.
The show, which opens on Saturday at 2pm at the gallery at 10a Elizabeth St, features contemporary painting and ceramic by Vit, Anna and the late Zoro.
Zoro's mother Leonie said his work was being shown to celebrate his life.
"He painted his visions," she said.
It has taken Anna 20 years of living overseas to fully appreciate the uniqueness and exquisite beauty of the Australian bush.
"When I first came home, I felt as if I were seeing it for the first time.
"That sense of wonder has remained and continues to inspire my work," she said.
Vit has been immersed in the arts all his life, but it has new vigour for him now that he has found Anna, someone who lives, breathes and talks art just as he does.
"Artists can only survive when they are in contact with other artists," he said.
"Particularly in places like the valley, isolation can be a problem for us, and that is why KARI is so important."
He saw the opportunity and made some inquiries, and now about 20 artists have joined the initiative, including the man who designed the Flying Kangaroo, Tony Arno Lunn, three artists from Boreen Point, and Sue Coburn, the partner of Sunshine Coast Mayor Bob Abbot.
They have also drawn on the support and exhibiting experience of award-winning Imbil artist Pat Cale.
"Zoro came to us on recommendation from our contacts at TAFE, and I never actually met him," Vit said.
"He was autistic and suffered from a heart condition after a severe car accident when he was hospitalised recently.
"He never came home."
For Vit, KARI gives local artists a chance to have their own identity, something he says is difficult to achieve in a commercial gallery.
And he loves the duality of the title for the upcoming show, which refers to the "crazy" side of art as well as its origin in the mind of individuals.
The show runs from October 30 until November 21 at the KARI gallery, 10a Elizabeth St, Kenilworth. The opening hours are Thursday to Sunday, 11am-3pm. Inquiries 5488 6376.
Mary Valley artist Anna Howard applies the finishing touches to her painting "Renewal".
Kari Gallery, Kenilworth
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