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Troy Bennell

Artist Troy Bennell

 

As an Aboriginal artist, Troy Bennell constantly strives to express his culture, at the same time committing himself to learn what he can about a culture that has had to fight to withstand attempts to erase it. Troy Bennell was born into a large family in 1971 in Bunbury. His Father's family worked hard for a living as shearers and took seasonal work picking potatoes. Troy's Mother and her siblings were all taken away from their parents as young children, becoming part of what is known as the stolen generation. Troy's mother was taught a lot of her culture when she was little, but when she was taken away she was told she was not allowed to practise that culture. After high school, Troy attended Bunbury's South West Regional College of TAFE where he completed a course in Aboriginal Studies in 1988. Troy's parents have little memory of the rituals and practices of their culture, due to the prevailing practices of their times as Aboriginal children. Cultural memory for many Aboriginal people has faded. This is why Troy says he is actively involved with an Aboriginal dance group, because it gives him an opportunity to learn much from Elders and members of the local Aboriginal community. Troy's uncles, Danny and Lenny Khan, have an enormous influence on him. Artists like Lance Chadd and Shane Pickett both taught him the techniques of painting, and each inspired him to be an artist. Troy has quickly received recognition for his talent, winning the 2001 South West Survey Non Acquisition Worsley Alumina Award, and being included in four exhibitions and a number of local art collections. Troy helps other budding Indigenous artists to develop their abilities and nurtures their connection to their culture, facilitating art workshops in his old high school, at Edith Cowan University's Bunbury campus and for the Collie Family Centre & Disability Service Commission. Troy's art has also achieved international recognition in Malaysia, the Netherlands, Philippines, USA and Milan, Italy where he had his first solo exhibition. His artworks have been exhibited in a number of group exhibitions in privately owned galleries. Troy paints watercolour landscapes as well as working in a contemporary style based on Noongar culture through song lines and the six seasons. This style utilises cultural knowledge on Aboriginal travels within the seasons, also Aboriginal knowledge on animal and plant life which allows him to employ bright earthy colours