The art of good living

The art of good living

Uniting Wontama in Orange is punching above its weight when it comes to artistic prowess. For the past few years, members of the aged care home’s resident artist collective have been racking up prizes at the Orange Show and one talented gentleman even has a painting in the Louvre in Paris.

Led by passionate Wellness and Lifestyle Coordinator, Sandra Brown, the Wontama artists have been getting together each week to hone their craft for the past five years.

“When people move into Uniting Wontama, we want them to feel that the only thing that changes about life is their address,” said Sandra. “This means that whatever they did in the community and as hobbies at home, they should be able to still do here at Wontama.”

Resident artist Philip Heckenberg first discovered his love of painting back when he was put in charge of the art room at school.

“We were very poor at the time and I stole paint and tore down a blind from a window at home and painted a beautiful nude on it,” he remembers. “I have painted and been creative all my life.”

For Philip, his success at this year’s Orange Show isn’t his first rodeo. He has exhibited in France, the US and regional and urban galleries around Australia. His work is also permanently stationed in museums internationally, including his self-portrait entitled, ‘The ecstasy of my agony, the agony of my ecstasy’ in the Louvre in Paris.

“To me it is beautiful but some may find it risqué,” Philip said of his artwork. “Some of my favourite paintings are ‘The Nude’ and ‘Madonna’ by Da Vinci. Holy Family and Nude paintings intrigue me.”

“Art is like a life. It is born with the first few strokes, matures into a beautiful adult but if you carry on and go too far it grows older and dies. You have to know when to stop.”

The 66-year-old has been living at Uniting Wontama for about six months and says he was attracted to the home because of the opportunity to stay together with his wife.
“My wife Barb now shares a beautiful double room with me where we can still be together as we were at home. This makes us both very happy. We can share each other’s love and good company. I love her very much and don’t know what I would do without her.”

“The staff at Wontama are beautiful, caring and very helpful to both Barb and I,” he said. “I love the fact that we can be together as we grow old.”

79-year-old Ken Brown’s love of painting started about five years ago when Sandra encouraged him to join the art class. Two years ago, after she “badgered him” to enter an artwork into the Orange Show, Ken tasted his first win. Since then he’s won 20 awards, including three first places, four second places and two ‘highly commended’ awards in this year’s show alone.

Ken moved to Uniting Wontama in 2012 and says he enjoys the freedom and security of the lifestyle. “You can always learn new things and staff are willing to help you follow your dreams,” he said. “I would absolutely recommend Wontama to anyone who is looking for a new home.”

“Art has opened up a completely new way of life for me and I am doing something creative and very satisfying and other people are enjoying my work as well.”

Not content to rest on their laurels after this year’s wins at the show, the gents are also set to exhibit in Here, Now – at Orange Regional Gallery from 30 June – 15 July.

Read more about the Uniting Wontama artists via the Illawarra Mercury with photo by the Central Western Daily.

Get in touch

For more information about how Uniting can help you meet your lifestyle, health and care goals, call us on 1800 864 846 or email us.

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