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Eco Leaders Art Exhibition By Luisa Manea

ECOfiesta Cairns  Cruise Liner Terminal 2nd June 2019     10 am to 6 pm

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Bess is a radiant natural beauty. I wanted to capture movement in the painting and her photo. she is at one with nature. I needed to incorporate a lot of green in her portrait but it also had to have a fashionable eclectic look, as the clothes she was wearing on the day were 2nd hand vintage finds which is something I love to do too.

Bess Murphy

Bess Murphy is a environmental scientist with a back ground in advocacy. She is currently works for the Cairns and Far North Environment Centre (CAFNEC). CAFNEC is a not-for-profit incorporated association that acts as conservation council for the Far North Queensland region, that includes the Great Barrier Reef and the  Wet Tropics World Heritage Areas.

Bess works on a number of environmental advocacy campaigns, and environmental education projects for CAFNEC. These include MangroveWatch Cairns, Boomerang Bags and campaigning for action on climate change.

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Having worked with a lot of models in my bridal designing days I quickly recognized Ebony was something special. Not once did she complain about the freezing cold water. Every shot was almost perfect and she knew when to blink, as I did not have one shot with her eyes closed. Any photographer would know that's quite an achievement.

Ebony Doyle

Ebony was born with 10 % hearing, but doctors fully restored her hearing and she has been functioning normally since 12 years of age. She has always had a love for nature and tries to incorporate eco-friendly habits into her life style, 

Her participation in Miss World Australia 2019 also includes contributing to Beauty with a Purpose. Through this Ebony has been given the opportunity to fundraiser for Variety, the Children's Charity.

Ebony hopes to raise funds that will help children that have special needs or a facing a disadvantage during their early stages of life. 

This is a worthy cause and one that Ebony strongly believes in.

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Shai Ager

Shai Ager is a Ecologist, and founder of The Agile Project - a wallaby recuse initiative based in Trinity Beach. She won the 2019 Young Citizen of the Year Award ( Cairns Regional Council) and was nominated for the Young Woman of the Year. Shai was interviewed recently by the Today Show about her conservation work here in Cairns.

The Agile Project coordinates a group of volunteers who rescue and rehabilitate injury  and orphaned  wallabies. The Agile Project also aims to relocate 150 wallabies from the area, as their habitat has been encroached upon and/or destroyed by surrounding development.  The wallabies are being forced into smaller and less sustainable habitats as they forage for food. They also face the constant danger of being injured or killed on the increasingly busy roads.

What a delight it was to meet Shai. She had her hair up for almost the whole shoot. As a last-minute request I asked could she take her hair out. That's when we got our hero shot. With her eyes closed, she looked like sleeping beauty. For the painting, I really wanted to capture her kind warm spirit. It was the biggest work and I think it reflects on her big caring heart.

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Robert Watkins

Rob Watkins is the founder and director of Natural Evolution Foods. He is a second-generation farmer and banana grower.

In 2010, Rob accidentally drove over a hand of Lady Fingers bananas resulting in a dust-like substance, similar to flour. Before this Rob had been disposing of tonnes of these sugar bananas weekly because they were deemed to be the wrong size or shape for the supermarket giants. He was aware that the local wallabies seemed to have a preference for these green bananas and would return to feast on them.

He set out to explore the possibility of turning the bananas into flour and Green Banana Flour was born. Starting small and supplying locally, the demand for this product has grown steadily, not only because the flour is gluten-free but also because it is one of the highest resistant starch food sources in the world.

 Rob has won numerous accolades fro his inventions and food processing techniques

Robert is one extremely easy to photograph guy. He has a smile to die for. We had hardly any time as he was super busy, and the backdrop wasn't the most inspiring but he was the star of every shot. He couldn't stop talking about his work and he came across so passionate and smart. He actually reminded me of my dad a lot. Constantly thinking up new ideas and no one going to tell this man it can't be done.

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Lisa O'Mara

Lisa O'Mara is a coordinator for Treeforce Association Incorporated (Treeforce) - 1992 a not-for-profit community tree-planting group based in Cairns.

The inaugural 'Tree Train", transported members of the Cairns community to the fire-ravaged slopes of Redlynch to plant a strip of rain forest species. This is now a verdant green belt, that serves to prevent bush fires from further damaging the slopes.

Treeforce is a hands-on community tree-planting group that meets regularly throughout the year. Tree planting activities take place during the wet season and maintenance and educational activities are held during the dry season. These activities provide a supportive social network for volunteers. the results of their community work are real, visible, and very rewarding.​

I could seriously listen to Lisa all day, every day for the rest of my life. She has so much knowledge it's like talking to David Attenborough. The painting has many, many layers, all in golden earth tones. Just like the library of knowledge she has the painting had to be textural and layered.

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Molly Steer

Molly Steer is currently a Year 6 student at edge Hill State School in Cairns. Molly has spearheaded the Straw No More campaign that began in the Cairns region in 2017. This campaign aims to reduce the use of plastic straws, and to highlight the damage that plastic cause to the oceans and to marine life.

Molly's Straw No More campaign commenced after she saw the movie, A Plastic Ocean, during which she learned that plastic never breaks down, and that the oceans are filling up with plastic.

Molly began by persuading her own school to stop using plastic straws. the campaign has spread to other schools in the region,then businesses and then the Cairns Regional Council came on board. Seven other Regional Councils followed. The campaign has also spread to other parts of Australia and to other countries.

In September 2017. Molly was invited to speak about the Straw No More campaign at TEDx Cairns, becoming the youngest person ever to do so. In March 2018, she was the recipient of the Cairns Young Woman of the Year Award.

Her love of animals is all ways present, she'll be there to protect so I painted a dolphin in her caring arms. Sitting on a throne, protecting all sea life, the Queen of the sea. The cheeky starfish represents the peace symbol holding up two arms. The painting had to have a storytelling quality to it and I'm glad I was able to achieve this for someone so young.

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Photography by Luisa Manea

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Luisa Manea
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