A living legacy for Maree Prior

Local resident Maree Prior is remembered as an artist, educator, councillor, conversationalist and advocate for the Cooloola environment in the new Wild/flower Women III exhibition

Local resident Maree Prior is remembered as an artist, educator, councillor, conversationalist and advocate for the Cooloola environment in the new Wild/flower Women III exhibition

A new exhibition, Wild/flower Women III: Women Walking Country is currently on display at the Gympie Regional Gallery until Saturday, November 28 and embodies the living legacy of the late Maree Prior (1959-2019).

Exhibition Co-Curator, Dr Susan Davis, says art can soothe the soul, but also prick our conscience and that was something that was important to the late Maree Prior.

“Maree was an artist, educator, former councillor at Gympie Regional Council, conservationist and a fierce advocate for the Cooloola environments and communities.

“While she worked for various environmental groups including Cooloola Coastcare, Noosa Integrated Catchment Association, FIDO and Burnett Mary Regional Group, Maree continued to pursue art throughout her life, which included painting, prints and wearable art that detailed her love of the wallum, and coastal heathlands.

“Maree continued to raise awareness about the impact of humans on the environment in her projects and throughout her life, including this exhibition that profiles the impact of residential development on areas of environmental significance.

“Other artists in the exhibition have also been moved to use art to speak out for the environment, including Zela Bissett and Joolie Gibbs, who appeared as the ‘Sisters of Mary’ in green habits during the campaign against the Traveston Dam in the mid-2000s.

“While most of the art in the exhibition may not be seen as having a blatant message, it’s underlying purpose is a form of gentle activism,” she said.

For the duration of the exhibition, there will be a variety of workshops, online Zoom sessions and artist chats.

Entry to the Gympie Regional Gallery at 39 Nash Street is free, with opening hours from 10am to 4pm Tuesday to Saturday.

For more information, or to make bookings for workshops and themed activities, visit gympie.qld.gov.au/gallery or call 5481 0733.

The Wild/flower Women III exhibition is supported by Cooloola Coastcare and the Regional Arts Development Fund, a partnership between the Queensland Government and Gympie Regional Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.