Shane has kept journals since 1979 featuring words, ideas, scribbles, drawings and paintings from his many years of travel.
Some of these ideas and drawings developed into paintings over the years.
Shane has exhibited his work in the following exhibitions:
'Hearth' - An Exhibition of paintings and drawings by Shane Howard and Teresa O'Brien
|The Gordon Gallery, Geelong, Victoria. Australia|
|2014||'East Coast Encounter', re imagining the 1770 encounter||National Maritime Museum, Sydney, NSW. Australia |
*One of Shane's paintings has been acquired by the National Maritime Museum in Sydney.
The paintings below are available to purchase as prints on A3 Art Quality paper, unframed and printed on to the highest standards by MAGNET Gallery and Fine Art Printing www.magnet.org.au
The song is loosely and abstractly based around Burke and Wills fateful and tragic journey into Australia’s interior. The song is also, in part, a kind of meandering stream of consciousness from the perspective of the weak and delirious John King, the lone survivor of the Burke and Wills expedition. But, more than that, the song wanders and ‘free-ranges’ through a kind of interior landscape and journey into the unknown. Travelling into the unknown is the difficult journey we all have to make through our lives.
Burke and Wills perished because they failed to take help or advice from the local Aboriginal people. At Coopers Creek, the local Andrewatha people still hold the story of how their people tried to offer Burke and Wills nardoo and fish but Burke was too proud to ask for help from people he considered as ‘savages’. As a consequence, they perished.
The lone survivor, John King, buried Burke and Wills in shallow graves and then sought out the local Aboriginal people. They looked after him and fed him for three months, until a rescue party arrived. Despite Burke’s hostility towards the Andrewatha people, they wept at his and Wills’ graves, such was their empathy for fellow human beings. About a decade ago, in a very simple but moving ceremony, descendants of John King’s family, from Northern Ireland, presented descendants of the Andrewatha people with a gift, to thank them for looking after their ancestor.
But the song is much more than that. It’s a rumination on life and, inevitably on death. Burke and Wills pride and their refusal to accept help from people they considered inferior, led to their death. John King accepts his situation and has the humility to ask for help. As a consequence, he survives.
The song celebrates love as the great force of life and that the joys of life are very simple things, like music and family and love. There is an acceptance that, despite the inevitability of death, life is indeed to be enjoyed and we have the ability to make it beautiful, by making good choices.
For me, the song came at the time of my Father’s impending death. He was 93 when he died and he taught me that death can indeed be beautiful, when life has been lived well. He showed me that a simple life, well lived, is enough.
The painting shows the lone figure under the tree, by the creek, as two ‘black angels’ approach. We are constantly making choices to let the 'other' into our lives or chase them away. The open heart or the closed book.