Niu Ailan bilas piles mi lukim iu gen
Talent scouts hunt for Kumuls players

Art, tragedy, adventure, politics, art ...

Taradale Station The notion of rip-snorting, tearaway, kiap, croc shooter and political hard man John Pasquarelli turning his attention to brush and palette intrigued me. 'Out of character' seemed hardly an adequate description.

Anyway, I decided there’d be no harm asking.

Brisbane 1947. John is ten. His Aunt Dorothy (Dolores) encourages him to attend the Stanley Hobday Art School in Queen Street.

“The drill was my Mum took me to the school from Yeronga and my Aunt trammed in from Cooparoo and took me back home,” says John. “I forget how long I had classes – perhaps every Saturday morning for a couple of months.”

Then the unthinkable happened.

“One Saturday morning a lunatic stalker shot my Aunt at the Cooparoo tram stop. Then killed himself on the spot. My Aunt died that evening despite my [surgeon] father's efforts to save her at the Mater. And that was the end of the art until 2002 - 55 years later - when I picked up the brushes again.”

My other questions seem redundant against the canvass of this monumental tragedy. But anyway…

Sepik Shield & Lavender John will be 72 in February and has had four exhibitions since 2003, selling 56 paintings for prices ranging from $2,700 to $6,000. To service the other side of his brain, he writes pungent editorials for the Melbourne Observer.

On the subject of Pauline Hanson, who he served as political advisor during her window rattling political days, John conveys the clear impression that the less said the better. “Hanson has discredited herself completely. Conned me nicely.” Say no more.

On Papua New Guinea. “PNG and the rest of the South Pacific is simply a disgrace, like Africa and the rest of the Third World. Wonderfully rich and beautiful places ruined and ransacked by their bongo bongo leaders!”

And Australia. “On the way out - the evil virus of multiculturalism has divided and demoralised us.”

So there you have it. You thought painting had taken the fire out of his belly, did you?

Pasquarelli art: [top] Taradale Station, [bottom] Sepik Shield & Lavender.


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