Broken Places

Elisa Markes-Young & Christopher Young

“The world breaks everyone, then some become strong at the broken places.” - Ernest Hemingway

Elisa Markes-Young & Christopher Young were invited - together with four other artists - by the Bunbury Regional Art Gallery (BRAG) to respond to works in BRAG's Art Collection. The resulting exhibiton was titled 'A Matter of Response'.

Elisa and Chris' project was inspired by two unique women who’s lives show remarkable parallels - Rosetta Kelly and Georgiana Molloy.

Both women experienced hardship and grief with the native flora of Western Australia playing an important role in making the unbearable bearable. 

After losing her husband in an accident, Rosetta Kelly (b.1864) had to endure another tragedy when her 20 year old son Cyril was killed in action in France in 1917. Overcome with grief she began painting watercolours of WA wildflowers and dedicated them to her son’s memory.

She travelled by horseback in the Bunbury area and later expanded her reach with a car. Over 40 years, this body of work grew to over 300 paintings.

Georgiana Molloy's early life in Western Australia was one of great hardship, typical of settlers of the time. She birthed most of her seven children without medical assistance, losing her first child shortly after birth and later her only son.

In 1836, she started collecting botanical specimens for Captain James Mangles. Together with her husband John Molloy, she spent nearly all of her leisure time in collecting, collating and documenting botanical specimens of the South West of Western Australia. 

She developed a great passion for native flora as a result. Her work, which included several as yet unknown species, was considered to be of exceptional quality and is held to this day in Kew Herbarium.

Georgiana died shortly after the birth of her seventh child aged only 37.

Their determination to overcome adversity and an overarching theme of loss was a compelling story that the artists have interpreted in their work.

Further to new works by Elisa and Christopher, the exhibition also included original paintings by Rosetta Kelly; copies of letters from Cyril to Rosetta shortly before his death; and digital prints of samples collected by Georgiana.

We would like to thank the Kelly Family, Bunbury Museum and Kew Botanical Gardens for their support.

View the series

Broken Places

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