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July 2008

Local Aboriginal Artist Wins NAIDOC Artist of the Year

Les Elvin is an artist and art teacher who lives in Cessnock, NSW. He is a descendant of the Wanaruah people of the Upper Hunter region in eastern NSW. Les has a deep love for his art and is committed to teaching the Wanaruah tradition and techniques that are gradually being lost.

Les grew up on the banks of the Karuah River behind Port Stephens, where his grandfather taught him about bush tucker. Les’s paintings feature the ‘food chain of the bush tucker’ as he calls it.  Paintings of echidna, platypus, turtle, stingray, crab and fish abound but also the kangaroo and that other all important ingredient in bush tucker – fire.

His art has been recognised and sold internationally, but one of the things that make Les unique is how he uses his talents. He volunteers at St Helliers Correctional Centre at Muswellbrook, teaching Aboriginal men about their culture and art.