Artist loses everything in fire but donates last work for WIRES auction

An artist from the Lithgow region who lost his home in the recent bushfires has donated one of his last works to the ABC Friends auction.

The artist who wishes not to be named, had left his work at Lithgow's Gang Gang Gallery, in the hope that it would be part of a series of native animals exhibited at the gallery.

But the next time the man returned to the gallery, he had lost everything in the devastating bushfire in December including his home, art and equipment.

Nothing was saved, except his folder, which he had luckily left at the Gang Gang Gallery.

"The artist and his wife, who want to remain anonymous, had no warnings to evacuate. Then suddenly they were told to leave immediately," Gang Gang Gallery owner Sharon Howard said.

"Nothing was saved. Everything to do with his art, his tools, framing, paints, boards was lost in the bushfires.

"The folder he left with me is now his only remaining original work left.

"When I was approached for a piece of artwork for a fundraising ABC Friends event in Sydney, I asked him if he would consider donating one piece to its 'Thank you ABC Dinner' where all funds raised go to WIRES."

The man obliged and his lithograph of a wombat was auctioned at the 'Thank you ABC Dinner' held on Thursday, February 13.

His work and other raffles raised $1610 for WIRES.

"We are really honoured that the artist agreed to have one of his last remaining pieces of artwork as an auction prize for our 'Thank you ABC Dinner'," Convenor of the Northern Suburbs of Sydney branch of ABC Friends NSW & ACT, Janine Kitson said.

"ABC Friends wanted to award Gaven Morris, ABC Director of News, who attended the dinner on behalf of Ita Buttrose, Chair of the ABC Board, with a certificate of thanks for the ABC's superb bushfire emergency broadcasts."

The dinner raised awareness of the role that the ABC played in saving lives and property during the bushfires.

"It is why we call on all Federal MPs to reverse the $84 million cuts to the ABC's budget," she said.

"This one beautiful art piece, of a wombat, perhaps highlights the dogged determination that Australians have to overcoming adversity, by an artist, who lost everything, and prefers not to be known.

"As well, this precious image of a wombat shows just how important the ABC and WIRES is in bushfire emergencies.

"The ABC is more important than ever, particularly in bushfire prone areas, such as Lithgow and the Blue Mountains. Surely this is the time to increase ABC's funding rather than cut its budget?"

Campaigns Manager for WIRES, Kristie Newton received the certificate of thanks, along with the $1610 funds raised.

"ABC Friends wanted to acknowledge the wonderful work that WIRES has done, at a time when over one billion native animals have died in the catastrophic bushfires," Ms Kitson said.

"We hope that this one last saved artwork left at Lithgow's Gang Gang Gallery, will make a difference - not only for wombats, but the ABC."

Other 'Thank you ABC' raffle prizes included a night's accommodation at Lithgow's Newnes Hotel cabins in the Wolgan Valley, donated by Thomas Ebersoll as well as an endangered purple-copper butterfly scarf and bag donated by Julie Favell, from Lithgow Environment Group.