‘It’s like you wish she was here’: The exhibition of Lizzie’s Legacy at Murchison

Exhibition: Heather Ewart and Caitlin Cassidy at the opening of Lizzie’s Legacy. Photos: Youssef Saudie Photo by Youssef Saudie

With exhibits ranging from water colour sketches and painting to ceramics and even sewing, the exhibition Lizzie’s Legacy, showcasing the late Liz Ewart’s art, opened on Saturday, May 7.

Her sister, and presenter of ABC’s Back Roads, Heather Ewart grew up with Liz on a farm five minutes from Murchison and witnessed her passion for art at a young age.

Ms Ewart introduced her sister’s work at Murchison Heritage Centre at the opening.

“It's very special for me and very emotional, because my sister, we were very close, she was a much loved member of this community. Everyone knew and loved Liz,” she said.

“She was sort of a larger-than-life character really, in a very kind, modest sort of way.

“I'm just thrilled to see her work being honoured, and I just love that the whole town has rallied around to put all her works together on display.”

Ms Ewart said the community of Murchison contributed to the exhibition.

“So 14 or 15 people from around here — cousins, friends — even earlier before the exhibition opened, people were dropping in with mugs that they bought from her,” she said with a laugh.

“I moved away, but I come back a lot, I love being back here.”

Artistic: Liz Ewart produced a range of ceramic art. Photo by Youssef Saudie

The artist was born in 1961 and passed away in 2017.

Ms Ewart said the exhibition was an opportunity to connect with her sister.

“Lizzie was taken from us too soon, and it makes me sad, but then it’s really wonderful to see she is still with us in a way through her art,” she said.

The idea of an exhibition came about from the artist’s relationship with Murchison Heritage Centre for more than 20 years, and it was last year that planning started.

“They rang me about it, and I was really touched that they wanted to do this, because Lizzie had left me all of her portfolio when she died, so I had a lot of her work stored away,” Ms Ewart said.

Looking back: Heather Ewart is proud to see her sister’s work live on. Photo by Youssef Saudie

Ms Ewart’s daughter, Caitlin Cassidy, was at the opening to commemorate her aunt, and said Liz was “super influential” to her growing up.

“I used to go to her pottery studio when I was a kid, and she would teach me how to use the spinning wheel — it was really special,” she said.

“She taught me to be a better person, but also to value the arts and creativity, it’s so good that she’s gotten recognition because throughout her life, her art was so loved.”

Farm life: Heather and LIz Ewart grew up on a farm together. Photo by Youssef Saudie

Ms Cassidy said her aunt was the “missing piece” at the exhibition, but said it was great to see her legacy live on.

"Now to have this exhibition, it’s like you wish she was here, but to know that people are celebrating her legacy is lovely,’’ she said.

“There are pieces that I forgot she even did, and styles that she went through that I forgot she had, so she has a very rich body of work.”

Ms Cassidy still has pieces made by her aunt that she has spread around the places she has lived.

“One of my favourites is this big vase, and it’s filled with all these beautiful colours and patterns that I always have flowers in, in my own house,” she said.

Happy memories: One of Heather Ewart’s favourite pieces from Liz, a clown. Photo by Youssef Saudie

Ms Ewart said her favourite pieces of art from Liz were her clowns, reminding her of her sister’s early ceramic work.

“She made those in Year 12, and she got honours in art; they’ve always been my personal favourites, and I love all of her work, but I love those clowns,” she said.

“She was always artistic, she always sort of had a flair.”

Ms Ewart touched on the broad appeal of her sister’s art in the Lizzie’s Legacy brochure.

“To this day Lizzie’s pottery can be found in homes around the country and even as far afield as Britain and the United States — snapped up by visitors to Murchison over the years. It’s a constant, joyful and precious reminder of her wonderful legacy,” she wrote.

Lizzie’s Legacy — held in memory of Liz Ewart — is running until Sunday, May 22, at the Murchison Heritage Centre.

Art on the farm: Liz Ewart produced all sorts of art. Photo by Youssef Saudie