Written by April Spadina
For a lover of visual art, a gallery is the perfect place to spend your days surrounded by an ever changing display of stimulation and inspiration. That is how the past nine years has been for creative photographer Linda Jones. She has dedicated her time as a volunteer gallery assistant at Gatakers ArtSpace for nearly a decade and worked alongside a team who has nurtured and inspired her in her creative pastimes.
To Linda, the world is seen in still life. Beautiful memories are captured in a still image and hung on her white walls to chronicle her life. From her beautiful photographs she remembers smells, sounds, moods. Carefully placed objects resting in filtered light with layers of grainy texture, soft, smudged backgrounds and bleeding, inky edges. Linda’s photographic journey commenced when her daughter Laura moved to the UK, and between the two women, their communication happened through a series of images. Many years later the images became an exhibition at Gatakers, an assemblage of colour and layered texture that was created between a mother and daughter who were bound together by a visual language. Linda’s husband, Ian is her personal bowerbird and gifts her with objects he has found on his daily walks with their harlequin Great Dane, Harlow. A twisted stick, sun-bleached bird skull, or split seedpod is dropped into Linda’s hands upon his arrival home and from that gift, Linda captures the moment in a restful, calming style.
It’s this restful, calming style that flows through Linda and creates a sense of peace and safety. Strangers often share personal stories with Linda in a moment of repose, and it’s natural for her to offer a cup of tea in the gallery when she knows it’s really needed. Over the years Linda has volunteered in numerous positions including time as a Lifeline counsellor, and working for Home Assist helping those incapacitated by age, dementia and disability. She feels the often difficult and challenging times paled in comparison to the rewarding and wonderful feeling of knowing she was able to help someone who needed some kindness, just like those who gravitate to her now and share their story with her.
Linda carries a special and unique quality that has been embraced by the team at Gatakers. They see her beautiful kindness as an element that enhances the experience of the gallery, and after nine years of happily volunteering her time there, she has officially been made part of the casual staff.
This astonishes Linda, because she proclaims, “They could have chosen someone with younger legs, and a better memory!”
But the qualities Linda possesses are rare like the precious gem that she is, a treasure to be cherished.