Reflections on canvas

Sophia ConstantineNorth West Telegraph

Newman artist Ruth Leigh is launching her first solo exhibition at Port Hedland Courthouse Gallery this month alongside feature exhibition Pujiman.

Learn Me is a body of work showcasing portraits of artists Leigh has worked with at Martumili Artists using oil on linen as the primary medium.

She said the title of her exhibition was a reflection of herself and the people she has painted.

“Often, they (the artists) would say I’ve got to learn you ... when they wanted to teach me something about their culture or their language. That’s where the title came from,” she said.

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Leigh said the exhibition was an exciting step up in her career as an artist.

“I was first approached by FORM about a year ago with the idea of having an exhibition with them and I was really enthusiastic about that,” she said.

Ruth Leigh, Mulyatingki collecting minyarra (bush onion), 2017, oil on linen.
Camera IconRuth Leigh, Mulyatingki collecting minyarra (bush onion), 2017, oil on linen.

“It’s nice that this exhibition is showing alongside Pujiman because it provides a really beautiful context for the artists, for people to be able to see their works alongside images of them.

“It’s rare that you come to an exhibition and you get any kind of representation of the artist besides what you see in their works.”

Leigh works at Martumili Artists in Newman and has previously worked at Spinifex Hill Artists.

She regularly travels to seven different remote communities where she has been influenced by artists in the Pilbara and the scenery of the region.

“These people are some of the most amazing people I’ve met in my life with really unique, incredible life stories,” she said.

“It’s really inspiring to meet them and to get to know them.

“I did try to do some smaller landscape works with people situated in the context of their community or country because I wanted to provide a reference to country.

“These are important parts of these artists’ identities and it’s also been part of the world I’ve been shown by the artists.”

The exhibition will be launched on Friday, February 16.

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