University of Wollongong graduates gathered in Batemans Bay on Thursday to celebrate the completion of their studies.
One graduate, Nicky Bath, has earned first class honours for her research into the Impressionist art movement and its relationship – or lack of it – to Indigenous people.
The former high school visual arts teacher was bringing up two young children when she became hungry for adult brain food – and enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts honours program at the University of Wollongong’s Batemans Bay campus.
“As a mother who was at home with two young children, your brain starts to get tired of younger conversation,” Ms Bath said.
“I came out of myself and have grown so much as a person from the experience of being able to study down here. I could not have done that if it was not for a local university.”
Her research concerned the Impressionist artists of the late 19th and early 20th Century.
“With the internet you can go anywhere,” Ms Bath said.
“When you get these ideas you can really travel with them without having to get in the car or leave the house.
“I was looking at the Australian Impressionist artists and how they didn’t include Indigenous people in their artworks, and the ongoing effect of that.
“It was intentional. They were to promote Australia and its development as a ‘civilised’ country, and that was not part of their thinking. There was a blindness.”
Ms Bath loves Impressionist art, especially the paintings of Frederick McCubbin, but says art shows perpetuate the original omission today, by not hanging Indigenous art alongside Impressionist work.
She hopes to secure work as an academic tutor.
Don't miss Wednesday's Bay Post/Moruya Examiner for more pictures and stories.