Monday, September 30, 2013

Stephen Bennett, Portrait Artist: Australian Painted Portrait Film

My name is Stephen Bennett and I am a portrait painter. I travel around the world painting portraits of indigenous and endemic peoples. My mission is to use my portraits to educate others about Indigenous culture. The world's indigenous and endemic peoples live in the most diverse, colorful and fantastic ways. I want to help empower these peoples to continue and preserve their traditional ways of life. This documentary (full version) captures parts of my journey that led me to the people who became the subjects in my paintings. These are the people and locations that inspire my work. Let's go down under.

Excerpt from Stephens Journal:

Before or group could enter the little community on Bawaka beach, our host Wessely blessed us. I had chills as he waved a sacred wooden stick over me, speaking soft words to the spirits as I knelt in the sand. The Yirkalla area is the place where, according to Yolugu law, the Didgeridoo came into being. In Yolugu language the didgeridoo is called the Yidaki. While in Yirkalla I met the traditional caretaker of the Yidaki and his name is Djalu Gurruwiwi. He is the most sought after Didgeridoo maker in the world. I spent time with him and his family at their house on Ski Beach. He had a stream of international visitors while I was there and after a bit of wheeling and dealing sold me one of his famous musical works of art. I have since then painted his portrait in all the colors that I recalled from the sunrises and sunsets while camping next to his beach home."