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Art collection benefits refugees


When Georgina Halliday donated her late father’s artwork to Manresa Circle of Friends in February, the aim was to raise money to help support refugees and asylum seekers. No one realised just how popular the art exhibition and sale would be.

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It’s unsurprising really. Georgina’s father was Pip Comport, the renowned South Australian artist who died in October 2023 at the age of 101.

Georgina Halliday with a portrait of her father Pip Comport painted by artist Colin Dudley.

Georgina Halliday with a portrait of her father Pip Comport painted by artist Colin Dudley.

Pip had his last solo exhibition in Adelaide at the age of 93 and his work is on show at the Art Gallery of South Australia.

The exhibition and sale of approximately 400 paintings and lino prints took place at St Ignatius Church Hall on Friday February 23 and raised more than $11,000.

“It was a very successful sale and a good community event,” said Gloria Sanderson from Manresa Circle of Friends.

“Many people gathered at the opening where good cheese and wine, good company and fine art were enjoyed by all.”

Gloria said the Circle of Friends team couldn’t have done it without the help of Saint Ignatius’ College art teacher Liz Wedge.

“We learnt much about art and the presenting of art shows from Liz. Her energy and enthusiasm together with her knowledge made the whole event possible.”

Manresa Circle of Friends art fundraiser at St Ignatius Church.

Manresa Circle of Friends art fundraiser at St Ignatius Church.

Georgina was there to watch the event unfold and was delighted by the response.

“I think that my father would have been both bemused and delighted,” she said.

“The organisers did an amazing job, not only in putting it together so professionally but also in their respect for my father and his work. It was truly remarkable, and I am very grateful.”

Born in the UK, Pip emigrated to South Australia in 1957 and became managing director of Jones Lang Wooten in 1962. He was highly regarded as a pioneer of the property industry in Australia and project managed some of Adelaide’s biggest shopping centres.

Guest speaker Jeremy Moore.

Guest speaker Jeremy Moore.

The opening night of the art show featured an address by Jeremy Moore who co-founded the Woomera Lawyers Group which ran a legal outpost at the Woomera detention facility.

“With the support of many people, and I mean hundreds of people who came out of the woodwork to help refugees when they were having a terrible time, collectively we managed to get lots of lawyers and psychologists to give up their time freely to help,” he said.

“When we first got there, refugees weren’t being processed in the way that we would expect them to be. We set out to close the centre and we achieved that in 2003.”

Of the 4000 refugees who went through Woomera, approximately 3800 people ended up becoming Australian citizens.

“I’ve had a lot to do with a lot of those people and they’ve made a great contribution to our world,” Jeremy said, adding the effort to assist refugees goes on,” he said.

“The connection today is refugees and Circle of Friends. Refugees are the ones who need the help and Circle of Friends are the ones who have come to their assistance.”

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