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Eco Leaders Art Exhibiton

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

Bess painting Luisa Manea
eco leaders Bess Luisa Manea

Bess Murphy

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

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

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.

ebony photo painting
ebony painting

Having worked with many models in my bridal designing days, I quickly recognised 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 image 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 lifestyle, 

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

Ebony hopes to raise funds to help children with special needs or disadvantages during their early stages of life. 

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

Shai photo eco fest
Shai painting

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.

Shai Ager

Shai Ager is an Ecologist and founder of The Agile Project - a wallaby rescue 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 volunteers who rescue and rehabilitate injured and orphaned wallabies. The Agile Project also aims to relocate 150 wallabies from the area, as surrounding development has encroached upon and destroyed their habitat. The wallabies are forced into smaller, less sustainable habitats as they forage for food. They also face the constant danger of being injured or killed on the increasingly busy roads.

eco leaders Luisa Manea festival
Robert Watkins photo Luisa Manea

Robert is one 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 came across as passionate and smart. He reminded me of my dad a lot. Constantly thinking up new ideas, no one will tell this man it can't be done.

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 the wrong size or shape for the supermarket giants. He was aware that the local wallabies seemed to prefer 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 for his inventions and food-processing techniques.

Lisa O'Mara eco leaders exhibition Luisa Manea

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.

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 rainforest species. This verdant green belt now prevents bushfires from further damaging the slopes.

Treeforce is a hands-on community tree-planting group that meets regularly throughout the year. Tree planting occurs 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 tangible, visible, and gratifying.​

Molly photo with dog Luisa Manea
Molly painting

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

Molly Steer

Molly Steer is a Year 6 student at Edge Hill State School in Cairns. Molly has spearheaded the Straw No More campaign in the Cairns region in 2017. This campaign aims to reduce the use of plastic straws and highlight the damage plastic causes to the oceans and 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 school to stop using plastic straws. The campaign spread to other schools in the region, businesses, and the Cairns Regional Council boarded. Seven different Regional Councils followed. The movement has also spread to other parts of Australia and 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 received the Cairns Young Woman of the Year Award.

Eco Leader Exhibition Luisa Manea
Shai photo Luisa manea

Photography by Luisa Manea

Ebony Eco leaders exhibition Luisa Manea
Lisa O'Mara photo in cane
Eco leaders exhibition
Shai photo with wallaby Luisa Manea
Eco leader exhibition Banana flour
Ebony photo
Shai wallabies eco leaders exhibition Luisa Manea
Luisa Manea photo of Bess
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