Interview with Gary Baker.

Gary Baker, the son of Alan Baker does regular appearances at the Alan Baker Art Gallery that opened up this year. The permanent and posthumous collection ranges over Alan Baker’s life and shows various artistic perspectives of Australian history and art.

Each of the paintings have various perspectives on the natural world and humanity, including his own experiences, which Camden Council has started up to show the cultural and artistic view of the area.

The piece, Fishing from Wharf, is very emotionally connected to Alan and his son Gary.  “Gary doesn’t talk about it very often.” said Roger Percy, the curator of the gallery. “I’ve done a lot of research behind it and looked at many photos to really find out the story myself.

It shows a high eyelevel perspective from the bank, suggesting love and guardianship over the two sons. Alan pointed out “Stuart and Brian”, fishing on the wharf at Milperra and mentioned the times they would spend at the Georges River, “…it was their playground”. Tragically, one of the boys swimming from the boat got into trouble and the other dived in to save him, and both boys drowned in the river they loved.

the oaks2.jpg
Gary in his childhood home in Belimbla Park after the incident.

“It would change my parents lives, his life, and my life.” Filled with sorrow, they were unable to remain living on the river. In 1962, they moved to Belimbla Park to their 6 acre property and started life afresh. “Horrible things happen and they were awful things…” Gary says quietly as we wrap up our interview.

“It is great to come look into the life of Alan and see the history of an Australian local man” says Roger, “…there isn’t an exhibition that covers a life as well as this does – we have his earliest works from his workshops, to some of the last beautiful pieces he did in his studio before his passing.”

18 112052  Brett Atkins © 2018-07221 Boy in a Raincoat (unframed).JPG
“Boy in a Raincoat” – a painting depicting Brian, one of the boys who passed away. Alan never really spoke about the incident, however it was reflected in his art.

See the exhibition for yourself from 11am-4pm on Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday at 37 John St, Camden. For any information, call 02 4645 5191 or email alanbakerartgallery@camden.nsw.gov.au

 

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