For someone who is constantly inspired by stories and experiences, it was natural for Paris Norton to turn to activist Faith Bandlers’ own stories when devising a work for the exhibition exploring the 1967 Referendum and its leader.

“What intrigued me most about her was going through her biography and recordings and actually hearing the story about her own life and her as a person, and it made me reflect on how things that we do in our life, whether they be big or small can be a defining situation that we are known for, and I was really intrigued by knowing her outside of the referendum, and knowing who she was and what made her confident enough, and passionate enough to fight for rights of other people,” says Paris.

To reveal the person behind the cause Paris has created “Her”, a representation of one of Faith Bandler's neurons made from natural materials, twine and plants.  A voice recording whispers memories of her husband, her parents and the things that she loved as a person. “I would like people to feel a connection to her through her personal story, and for people to be able to see her beyond what we've decided she represents, and also to be able to identify ourselves within her, and be able to reflect on the changes that we can make. It’s come to that point where we make a decision of where we want to put our energy, and where we want to service the greater good, and I feel like that's what she did, and I want people to reflect on that.”

“Her” was commissioned through Orana Arts’ Left Field programme which aims to develop regional Aboriginal artists’ confidence and skills. Mentors and artists worked as a collaborative collective on bringing the exhibition Faith to life. “We all got together and discussed this idea for the exhibition, and then we just supported each other through it, every couple of weeks we would check in with each other, and see where we're up to, give advice and what not, it’s been a fantastic programme, it’s brought us together, and we've created our own little network and support system.”

Paris has relished the opportunity to show what regional artists are doing. It might be different to metropolitan work but is revealing the same journeys  and is just as relevant. “I think it's really important and special for us to be able to put ourselves out there and really represent regional arts, and regional artists as real, current and intuitive artists.”

Faith continues until 19 November and features work from The Left Field Collective artists Colin Brooks Jnr, Lachlan Goolagong, Aleshia Londsdale, Paris Norton and Alex Nixon and mentor artists Blak Doulgas, Karla Dickens, Nicole Monks, Chico Monks and Jason Wing.

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