Dr Jonathon Welch AM, founder of the Melbourne-based ‘Choir of Hope and Inspiration’ visited the Sunshine Coast last weekend to help unveil artist Clive Holden’s life-size 2013 Archibald entry; a portrait depicting Dr Welch and the Choir in full song.
The massive painting, currently on show at Peregian’s Kartspace Gallery, is the second Archibald entry for Master Artist Clive Holden, who was inspired after watching a live rehearsal of Jonathon Welch’s ‘Choir of Hope and Inspiration’ (formerly the Choir of Hard Knocks) in Melbourne’s Federation Square.
“I was blown away by the choir’s enthusiasm and energy,” Clive said. “I was so inspired I asked Jonathon if I could paint him and the choir for the Archibald.”
Last year, Clive submitted a controversial portrait of Julian Assange, entitled ‘Everyday Hero’ and was thrilled to welcome Dr Jonathon Welch to his 2013 Archibald entry’s official unveiling last Saturday.
“It’s amazing. It’s almost overwhelming to see yourself bigger than life. It’s quite extraordinary and to see the choir members, wow. It’s the first time there’s ever been a portrait done with the choir and it’s beautiful, really beautiful. I’m more fascinated in looking at them than I am in me,” a clearly emotional Dr Welch said at the unveiling.
“You can see all the difficult lives they’ve had in their faces. You see their love of singing in their eyes, there’s so much detail. You don’t very often see portraits with more than one person focused. As I often say, I can’t be a choir by myself; so that’s what this is about really.”
Clive Holden’s finely detailed portrait features the mirrored image of Dr Jonathon Welch AM and seven of the more prominent choir members in full voice, with the less detailed shadows of some of the other 30-plus Choir of Hope and Inspiration members in the background.
A master artist with a flair for the controversial, Clive started his own business restoring artworks in public buildings in South Australia after migrating to Australia and his commissioned work, including large-scale murals, can be found in public buildings and private homes around the country.
Along with the breathtaking Archibald Prize entry, Clive has completed a portrait of prominent Choir member ‘Clarkie’ for this year’s Doug Moran National Portrait Prize (Moran Prize).
“I am always absolutely in awe of people that can take something inanimate and make it not only look like somebody but actually capture that person’s personality. I think Clive has bought out the best in us,” Dr Welch said.
“It’s a real privilege to have the opportunity to be able to share my gift of music. I’m here to do workshops with some of the local choirs and I just love to be able to see all the art forms come together, so music and art is a really natural fit.”
Dr Welch’s visit to the Sunshine Coast was twice the fun for artist Clive Holden who, as a member of Coolum Beach’s Cool Harmonies Choir, experienced the highly successful performer’s musical ‘Master Class’ and public workshop at the Coolum Civic Centre on Sunday.
More than 100 people attended the fundraising workshop, with all proceeds of the day going towards the African Children’s Choir 2013 Tour, which sees Cool Harmonies hosting a Sunshine Coast visit from 26 August – 1 September.
The Coolum-based Choir enjoyed an inspiring private Master Class by Dr Welch, with President of KwaYa Australia, Marsha Gusti also in attendance. KwaYa is bringing the African Children’s Choir to Australia in July, and Cool Harmonies have so far contributed more than $6000 towards the project.
“I think it’s a real privilege to have the opportunity to make a contribution back to the community using music and seeing people discover things about themselves and to build that confidence that in many ways is really lacking; particularly for people who have come from difficult backgrounds as many of my Choir members have,” Dr Welch said of Sunday’s workshops.
Clive Holden’s Archibald Prize entry will be on display at Kartspace Art Gallery, Grebe St Peregian, until it heads to the Archibald Prize floor on 4 March. The Gallery will then host a solo exhibition of Clive’s work and you can see more of his art at www.peregianartstudio.weebly.com.
For more information on Cool Harmonies community choir and the African Children’s Choir project, visit www.coolharmonies.com.