Morwell’s hidden talent

To passers-by, the old garage on Buckley Street, Morwell may appear unused and forgotten.

However inside is a haven for artists – a gallery and a workspace, where anyone can come to socialise, while creating works to sell and display.

Indigenous artists Dennis Seymour, Gloria Whalan and Ellen Foy founded the art group and gallery, when the TAFE class they attended ended in 2011 and they were left without a place to meet and create together.

The Central Gippsland Aboriginal Health and Housing Co-operative lent them the garage it owned across from its office and the trio undertook the daunting task of clearing out, cleaning, painting and furnishing the shed.

Two years on the garage has become a workshop and gallery for not only the three friends, but others from all backgrounds and ages, inspiring the group’s name: Many Artists.

“This is a very relaxing environment,” Mr Seymour said.

“There might be 15 (people) in here at times, mucking around. They might not be painting, but just having a coffee and looking and talking.

“That’s part of our work. We start painting, but then we have a lot of conversations too; a lot of social carry-on.”

The Aboriginal elder has been painting for 40 years and offered help to any artist who sought mentoring in oil, water-based or ochre painting, tool making and wood burning.

Mr Seymour’s tutoring talents have been recognised by local welfare agencies and education institutions, who have employed his volunteer services in working with youth, women escaping family violence, kindergarten children and tertiary art students.

“We make anyone welcome. It’s not just for Aboriginal artists,” Mr Seymour said.

“If you’re into art you can just drop in.”

Ms Whalan said the gallery is still not well-known, but occasionally passers-by come in and have been surprised by what they have found.

The gallery and workspace is open every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 9.30am to 3pm.