• Art helped Greg Locke regain movement in his right hand following a series of strokes. (NITV)Source: NITV
Ten years ago Greg Locke had never even picked up a paintbrush, but after he was left near-paralysed by a series of strokes, the Kooma man discovered a hidden talent that put him on the road to recovery.
By
Ella Archibald-Binge

Source:
NITV News
14 Oct 2016 - 4:31 PM  UPDATED 14 Oct 2016 - 4:31 PM

Greg Locke never considered himself an artist.

A decade ago, he was working as a safety officer in the mines in north Queensland, when some unexpected news tipped his life upside down.

He was diagnosed with bowel cancer, and shortly after suffered two strokes - the first in 2006, the second two years later. 

"So that was the end of my work career and everything like that and I was put on a pension," Mr Locke says. 

"So the doctor said to me, he said 'Greg you’re Indigenous, why don’t you do something to get your right hand to work with your brain again?' So I took up my artwork."

"I lost all sensation on the right hand side, I was in a wheelchair for about six to 12 months. I couldn’t speak properly, couldn’t walk or anything.

"So the doctor said to me, he said 'Greg you’re Indigenous, why don’t you do something to get your right hand to work with your brain again?' So I took up my artwork."

Greg was hesitant at first, but with some convincing from his partner Dee, the self-taught painter realised he had talent. 

Seven years on, the Townsville-based artist sells his hand-painted coffee tables, bowls, mugs, photo frames and his trademark thongs at the local markets, and teaches art at three local schools.

The proud Kooma man says it's his Aboriginal culture that inspires his work. 

"I get pictures in my head, I get colours in my head of animals and everything like that, and I have to get that picture out," Greg explains.

"I get pictures of kangaroos jumping through the desert.

"It’s dreams from the ancestors... to get it out there, to show people, that’s what our art is. Our art has got stories to it."

This week, Greg and partner Dee drove 15 hours from Townsville to Brisbane to display the artwork at a National Indigenous Teachers Conference. 

"I’m over the moon that I’ve been asked to come down and show off my artwork," Greg says. 

"It’s achievement that I never thought in me wildest dreams I would get to.

"Where I used to be, to where I am today.. it's mind over matter. If you want to do something, you will get there."

Greg now hopes to showcase his artwork at a teaching conference in Toronto, and is currently looking for sponsors. 

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