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Tiny houses open the door to Ipswich history

Ipswich homes will be in the spotlight in an upcoming exhibition by local artist Bec Lewis.

Several houses from Booval are among 25 artworks featured in the ‘Little Histories’ exhibition, which evokes a sense of nostalgia through its use of vintage family photos, layered with tiny lino print replicas of their homes.

Ms Lewis she was inspired by her own family’s history when she started the project.

“I really wanted to use my collages to tell stories from the past,” Ms Lewis said.

“It actually started over twenty years ago with interviewing my great grandma and finding out all these things about my family that I had no idea about.”

Ms Lewis interviewed several friends and their relatives as part of her creative process, working with them to recreate moments from decades ago.

“One piece (pictured below) shows two girls, Norma and Jill, who lived next door to each other in the ‘40s and would catch the train into Ipswich to go to dance lessons at the Trade Hall.

“The big fence belonging to the house on the right was actually made out of bricks which were salvaged from the legendary Blackstone Castle.”

Another shows a scene from the 1974 floods, where local soccer player Errol brought back all of his Coalstars soccer team mates to help with the clean-up.

Bec Lewis used wet bark and dirt to recreate the debris from the ’74 floods 

After winning The Digital Art Award in last year’s Flying Arts Alliance’s Queensland Regional Art Awards, Ms Lewis said she’s equal parts excited and nervous about her upcoming show.

“It’s my first solo exhibition in a gallery, so it’s really exciting,” she said.

“I’ve been creating lino prints of houses for years now, and have shown them in exhibitions before in cafes around Ipswich, which I love because it’s local and people have a real connection to them.”

Some of the tiny houses have also been shown recently at the top of Mt Cootha, decorating a piano overlooking Brisbane for the Queensland Music Festival.

As a project officer for Ipswich Libraries, Ms Lewis says she’s lucky to be able to use her creativity in her day job as well.

“I pinch myself sometimes because it’s such a great job,” she said.

“A lot of people don’t understand what I do, and I tell them it’s a bit like working for Playschool – I get to read books, sing, and make things from cardboard and do lots of art workshops with kids. I love it.”

Little Histories opens at the QCA Project gallery in Brisbane’s South Bank on Thursday 5 September from 6pm to 8pm. It runs until 14 September.

See more of Bec Lewis’ work on Instagram

Read more: 

>>> Explore Ipswich Artists’ Tiny World

>>> Explore the mind of the maker: What fuels art?

>>> A walking tour of street art in Ipswich

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