Painting has been 100 years in the making

August 26, 2017

Gladys Willoughby (left) recounts her life experiences to Aaron Williams (right)

YEAR 11 artist Aaron Williams from Moama Anglican Grammar will be taking up his paintbrush and attempting to capture the ‘lively’ personality of Gladys Willoughby, who turned 100 in February.

Aaron’s painting will be part of the Centenarian Portrait by Teenagers Project, an art exhibition profiling 100 of Melbourne’s oldest residents through portraits painted by teenagers.

“I find this experience so humbling,” Aaron said. “I never thought this kid from Echuca would get the opportunity to showcase his art and talk to somebody who has so much knowledge and experience.”

“Gladys is one of the most amazing individuals I have ever met and I am happy to have the honour of painting her.”

The Year 11 artist said his artistic inspiration came from basketball, a passion he shares with Ms Willoughby.

“My source of inspiration is sport. I’m a huge basketball fan, and I paint great moments in basketball,” he said. “As Gladys was growing up she loved sports such as basketball.”

“I was lucky to meet up with her and learn about her life and what she experienced during the Great Depression and the Second World War.”

Gladys grew up as the youngest of eight children in Brunswick, Melbourne, where she survived the Great Depression with the help of food stamps.

“You just went through it, did what you had to do,” the stoic Ms Willoughby said.

Her portrait, along with 99 of her fellow centenarians, will be on display at The Stables art exhibition in October as part of the Victorian Seniors Festival in Melbourne.

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