Welcome to Barbary O'Brien's website!
Barbary O'Brien is a painter, cartoonist, community artist, environmental and social activist living, working & surfing on Ngarrindjeri/Ramindjeri land, at Ratalang (Middleton), South Australia.
She divides her time between painting canvases, walls, and anything else that will stay still long enough; surfing; and growing her own food. She has recently retired from 25 years of growing 200+ species of local native plants for food, medicine, habitat & shade and restoring a range of local landscapes and conservation areas, to focus more on her artwork.
Barbary was born on the Isle of Wight, England on St Patrick's day 1958, thus being too young to really enjoy the 60's! But she was at the 2nd Isle of Wight pop festival at age 11, because it was held at an adjacent farm. She got grounded for that adventure but it was well worth it!
She left school at 18, got a job the same day and travelled overland to India four months later. Various trips to Europe and the East eventually led to Australia where she has lived since 1981.
A chequered work history included being a computer operator at the British stock exchange while begining the ongoing career in community arts, voluntarily painting the stair-wells of her block of council flats near Brixton with a bunch of local kids.
Her career and life opportunities, she says, have been created by bringing creative & positive community action into neglected spaces.
Barbary has worked as an artist & cartoonist in Kindergartens, Prisons, Youth detention centres, Health centres, Women's refuges, an eclectic variety of communities from inner city urban to rural & remote, Arts Festivals, Theatre companies, National parks & Conservation areas, a range of Local, State & Federal Government departments, Youth centres, libraries, museums, drop-in centres, half-way houses, & more schools than you can poke a stick at! Her paintings are exhibited mainly in Australia but feature in private collections here & overseas. Her cartoons have been exhibited widely in Europe & have featured in a variety of anthologies in the UK, Australia, USA & Europe.
She also writes a lot but mostly only in private, and is actually a pretty good administrator but wishes she wasn't!

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