14.6.08 - 27.06.08

Leily Da Silva

This exhibition was opened by Dr. M. Tohver, Honorary Consul General of the Republic of Estonia, on Saturday 14th June 2pm.

My parents were both Estonian and were part of a small community of Estonian farmers who lived in the Plumpton and Marsden Park area. I grew up on a small farm adjacent to a vast tract of bushland which extended from Plumpton to Castlereagh. It was all part of the Sydney Greenbelt area until the 60s. Life in the outer west could be quite bleak at times without adequate public transport. Books were my means of escape. I found that with a little imagination each book was a doorway into an alternate reality. I still have a book that was given to me for my second birthday and have, over the years, acquired a small collection of beautifully illustrated children's books.

After graduating from Penrith High I studied art at the National Art School on an Art Teachers scholarship. I feel very privileged to have been a student there at a time when great names such as John Olson and John Coburn were teaching and Norman Lindsay was a frequent visitor. I began teaching in 1964 and found myself teaching full time while raising a family of two boys. There was little time to develop my own art style.

When I eventually stopped teaching I enrolled in an external study Diploma of Land Management Course through Sydney University at the Orange Agricultural College campus and became interested in conservation issues.

Since moving to Bundeena I have finally had time to do some painting. I have joined the Bundeena Art and Crafts Group and was Secretary from 2004 to 2007. My paintings are often illustrative and occasionally macabre usually with a fantasy theme. Artists whose work I admire are H.R. Giger whose exhibition I saw recently in Vienna and the French illustrator Edmond Dulac.