The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre
Thursday 3 February – Saturday 26 February 2022, 10 am – 5 pm
Seven Hills artist, Sonia Bennett, is a self-taught artist who has been painting Australian native plants and trees for decades. Her first exhibition at Blacktown Arts focuses on the endangered species of the Cumberland Plain. Sonia’s botanical watercolour paintings are about the fragility of the Cumberland Plain of which only 6% remains. She works directly en plein air from nature in the green reserves around Blacktown. The exhibition raises awareness of threatened plants and the green reserves that enable them to thrive.
Sonia volunteered with Greening Australia and got interested in the plants that she potted which helped her with painting small plants. Sonia is a passionate advocate of preserving the local green environment. Greening Australia have generously lent a painting, ‘A variety of rare Cumberland Plain plants’ by Sonia to the exhibition, which also includes artworks in the artist’s collection and the Blacktown City Art Collection.
For over 45 years Sonia has been enchanted by the Australian Bush. Sonia migrated with her family from Sri Lanka 45 years ago. She has been painting all her life and commenced painting botanical art watercolours 10 years ago. She is influenced by the beauty of the Blue Mountains flora, the sandstone country around Sydney and especially interested in the endangered Cumberland Plains woodlands of Western Sydney.
Sonia Bennett is a singer, songwriter, artist and bush regenerator. She points out that it is easier and less costly to look after healthy, protected bushland than to fix it after it has been damaged or destroyed.
Her well-known song is a eulogy to the Wollemi Pine. She has a glorious voice, rich and powerful, with a wonderful falsetto that gives her an enormous range. She is also a fine songwriter composing tunes to other people’s words as well as her own.
Sonia’s latest venture is as a botanical artist, and includes a book on endangered and threatened Cumberland plants of western Sydney. The book was produced by the ‘Blacktown and District Environment Group’.