Werner with Gloria Petyarre
Most of our Art and artists come from Utopia. We worked with those artists since they have no government funded art centre available for support. They entirely rely on self funded commercial galleries like ours in Alice Springs and interstate.
Coming to Australia as a Migrant I found it exciting to learn about the culture of our new home country.
Elena and I visited many Museums and Aboriginal Art exhibitions overseas and in Australia and we both learned to appreciate and love this unique Art. Our goal for the next phase in our life after retirement became clearer over the years and after Werner gave up his job we established our business.
It was an exciting time. Kathleen Petyarre painted for us in Adelaide, Gloria Petyarre was a regular visitor in my Alice Springs gallery and I travelled almost every month to Utopia to visit Lindsay Bird and many other artists supplying materials and picking up completed paintings some weeks later.
The most pleasant working and business relationship developed with Barbara Weir, a famous Indigenous artist who traveled the world. She painted many paintings for us and with her help we were able to secure a large collection of paintings by Minnie Pwerle (her mother) as well. When Minnie died, Barbara brought her Aunties to my Studio and the three ladies in their eighties and early nineties had a lot of fun painting in my place. One morning in the Alice Springs winter with temperatures of around minus 2 degrees Barbara called when it was still dark and I was sleeping at about 5 a.m. She said “Sorry to wake you up but they said they want to go to the old man”. They meant me. So I put the heater on and the kettle for tea and some 20 minutes later the ladies arrived.
Barbara looked after the commercial site of the arrangements and worked with lots of energy. I believe there is not one Aboriginal family who was looked after with more love and care than Barbara’s. She always said, I don’t care about you Gallery owners, I look after my family. A point not missed by many Aboriginal Art Dealers who tried to take advantage of in particular elderly artists.