Greg Matthews Selected for Royal Children’s Hospital Art Trail in 2021

It might seem difficult to believe right now, but rumour has it Melbourne’s streets are set to come to life in 2021 with a unique art event. In support of The Royal Children’s Hospital 150th anniversary, Indigenous artist Greg Matthews and 99 other artists will together decorate the sculptures forming next year’s Royal Children’s Hospital Art Trail. This was an important and personal opportunity for Greg, who saw the project as a way to ‘give back’ to the hospital.

“I first became aware of the RCH Anniversary Art Trail through the 7th Koorie Art show in Melbourne,” Greg explains. “I had paintings on display at the show, which had been spotted by the Art Trail Project Manager; and via the show’s Curatorial Manager I was invited to make a submission.”

Greg’s preliminary design for the sculpture.

With a personal tie to the hospital, Greg was thrilled to find out he was one of the 100 artists selected for the Art Trail. “This was an opportunity for me to give back to the Royal Children’s Hospital, as one of my grandchildren had spent a considerable amount of time in the RCH Butterfly Ward in 2012/2013; with his mum later being featured in the 2013 Royal Children’s Hospital Appeal.”

The blank canvas! Greg Matthews receives his UooUoo (pronounced You-You.)

As soon as he saw the blank, obscure and unusual shape of the UooUoo, Greg recognised the wombat waiting to come out of it. It took four weeks of solid work to complete. “I worked 7 days a week – some days I was painting for over twelve hours. I had my template to follow, but it was difficult to implement due to the irregular surfaces of the sculpture. I enjoyed every minute I had spent on this project.”

After mapping out the trails of Greg’s Wombat Dreaming, he begins the intricate dot work process.

Childhood visits to Greg’s grandmother’s farm have left lasting memories. His solo adventures following the wombat and animal trails into the nearby state forest. Greg remembered the things his grandfather had taught him, including local knowledge of the edible bush fruits and berries that had sustained him on his mini adventures into the forest. The lines, shapes and patterns created on Greg’s painting represent the animal tracks, the creeks, trees and vegetation, and are a reminder of his wonderful childhood adventures so long ago.

A closer look at the meticulous detail of Wombat Dreaming.

“I’m 73 now; but I’ve only been painting for less than 4 years. I’ve had no formal training; but it’s possible some of my painting skills came from the Architectural and Fire engineering fields I had worked in most of my life. My painting stories are from my own life experiences and from my own research, having found out about my Heritage late in life.”

Here’s looking at UooUoo! Greg and the finished wombat.

Greg’s UooUoo was sponsored by Human Resources company Fisher Leadership. All money raised from the UooUoos, each one being sponsored by a business, will go towards the Royal Children’s Hospital. You can check out Greg’s paintings on his Bluethumb profile here.

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