Thursday, January 27, 2011

28th January Percy Trezise (1923 - 2005) Vera B.Williams (1927)

Percy Trezise was a remarkable Australian. He was a pilot with the airforce during World War II and then after the war he flew for Ansett Airlines and the Aerial Ambulance Service. He was also a renowned landscape artist and while working in the Northern parts of Australia he became interested in Aboriginal rock art. He brought the Quinkan Aboriginal sites to public attention and spent many years photographing them. In this time he built strong relationships with the Aboriginal people. "In 1962 at Karumba, an Ansett destination in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Percy met Dick Roughsey (Goobalathaldin), a Lardil man from Mornington Island. (At the time, Percy was painting a mermaid on the bottom of the Karumba Lodge swimming pool.) He encouraged Dick to paint professionally and they embarked on a close friendship and collaboration in art and writing that lasted until Dick's death in 1985. Percy said that his friendship with Dick Roughsey OBE was a key inspiration of his life." Percy and Dick collaborated on many children's picture books which give insights into Aboriginal life and retell Dreamtime stories. Unfortunately very few of their books are still in print and you will need to find them in libraries.

Vera B. Williams is an American author and illustrator, best known to my children and probably most children for her book A Chair For My Mother, where Rosa and her mother, a waitress are saving to purchase a big, easy chair where the mother can rest after work. This book led to a series about Rosa and her family and their working class community. Vera talks about these books on a short video.

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