When local artist Toni Clarke’s graduation painting was miraculously returned after falling off the back of her ute shortly before Christmas, she decided to share her good fortune with others.
That intention will become reality on January 14 when the painting is auctioned off for charity during the comedy show Women Like Us at the Byron Services Club.
In keeping with Ms Clarke’s desire to help women in need, all proceeds will go to the S.H.I.F.T project – an organisation which supports women who are experiencing homelessness.
‘If you were going to pick an image to fit in with S.H.I.F.T this would be it,’ said comedian Mandy Nolan, who features in Women Like Us alongside Ellen Briggs.
‘There’s something about the fact that the woman in the painting doesn’t have a face that just really strikes you.’
S.H.F.T addresses the gap in the lives of women who have been through a crisis and helps them to get their lives back on track.
The project is almost entirely self-funded, so donations are essential to ensure its continued survival.
They are hoping that the story behind the loss and return of the painting – summed up in its title Lost and Found – will inspire locals to dig deep.
Ms Clarke was taking a group of works from her Main Arm home to the Byron School of Art in Mullumbimby for her graduation exhibition when the large painting flew off the back of her ute.
When a painstaking search of Main Arm Road proved utterly fruitless, Ms Clarke, her family and friends launched an online campaign to get it back, spreading word via social media, The Echo, and hundreds of flyers which were handed out across the region.
Two-and-a-half weeks later, as the artist was losing hope, a young woman called up to say she had the work.
A day later the painting was back where it belonged.
‘I just think this is a great opportunity for someone to give the painting a good home and to provide some benefit for the community at the same time,’ Ms Clarke said.
The auction will be broadcast live on Facebook from 10pm on the night of the show, with interested locals able to bid alongside the audience.
For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/womenlikeuscomedy/