Ovens & Murray Advertiser

Marja pursues love of art

- Marija Patterson, Stanley

MARIJA Patterson was born in Salzburg, Austria and migrated to Australia in 1951 as a displaced person with her parents and two siblings.

The family settled in Wagga Wagga where she was educated.

Marija fell in love with Stanley in 2000 where she has a home with her husband and has commuted between Melbourne and Stanley since that time.

What’s your job?

Apart from being a mother and grandmothe­r I am pursuing my life’s dream of having an art practice.

What brought you to this role?

My early career was in finance and research administra­tion. In my early 50’s I was single and an empty nester. I resigned from the corporate and higher education world, became a full-time student at RMIT University and graduated with a degree in Fine Art (Sculpture). I have always dabbled with art materials and dreamt of a life as an artist.

What do you love about your job?

My art is mainly sculptural. I love the challenge of solving the problem of expressing an idea in a material and form that communicat­es the idea. I am delighted when the viewer engages with the work.

What do you do in the community?

I manage a warehouse which has studios for 25 artists, involved in several profession­al artist associatio­ns and am the visual coordinato­r of an annual Arts Festival.

What is the most important current community issue for you?

Water extraction in Stanley from aquifers for bottled water is of grave concern to me. This is not only an issue in our community but Australia-wide. Groundwate­r can come from two kinds of aquifers - one that is not replenishe­d and contains water that has been stored for millennia - a non-renewable water source - and the other that is recharged with rainfall, which is what we have here in Stanley. Whilst there is limited research on aquifers it is known that a reduction of 10 per cent of rainfall reduces the recharge by 30 percent. Just in the past 12 months we have had 30 per cent less rainfall in our area. In Stanley we do not have municipal water. We rely on rain and ground water for our existence.

What would you do to solve, change or improve that situation?

If it were in my power, I would change the Water Act to better reflect the relationsh­ip between water management and community needs.

What’s the most important current world issue for you?

Climate change is a reality. We as individual­s need to take responsibi­ty to arrest this instead of waiting for government­s to take action.

If the person you’d most like to meet came to Indigo, or was already here, who would that be and what would you show them?

I would bring my father here to enjoy the history, fresh air, the beautiful forests, the lake and the birdlife.

Why would you show him that?

My dad enjoys history and the outdoors. He is a keen birdwatche­r. Beechworth and Stanley are steeped in history and have a large number of native and exotic trees that attract a great variety of birds.

What book are you reading?

‘Call of the Reed Warbler’ by Charles Massy - an exploratio­n of regenerati­ve agricultur­e and the vital link between our soil and our health.

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 ??  ?? CREATIVE: Stanley’s Marija Patterson is following her life dream of having an art practice.
CREATIVE: Stanley’s Marija Patterson is following her life dream of having an art practice.
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