A PICTURE says a thousand words and can apparently travel thousands of kilometres. This was proven to be true when Carol Ashley bought a painting for one pound at a charity shop in North Yorkshire, England.
Little did she realise that the artwork gained for a song was the work of renowned Indigenous painter, the late Aunty Esther Quinlin from Bellbrook in the Macleay Valley.
Aunty Esther was an incredibly talented artist from the Mid North Coast, winning multiple awards for her work. She also taught pupils at Bellbrook School the Thungutti language in story and song.
When Mrs Ashley was at a charity shop in the town of Malton, she went to pick up a bedside lamp to inspect it, and in the process saw Aunty Esther's painting nestled behind it.
"I liked it immediately, I went home and hung it on the wall. I was very pleased with it but for some reason felt it should go back home," she said.
Carol reached out to the Macleay Argus to see if we could assist in the search to return the painting.
We caught up with Aunty Esther's grandson Vincent Scott, who assured she would have "loved for Carol to keep it".
"It's fantastic that it's in the north of England, 'mum' would be so happy. She often sold a lot of paintings to tourists over the course of her career and she would be absolutely over the moon that her painting made it across the world."
Mr Scott said surprisingly this isn't the first time he's had people reach out to him over the globe-trotting nature of Aunty Esther's paintings.
"A mate of mine actually saw a ceramic plate that 'mum' had painted on the Japanese version of eBay and he purchased it and mailed it to me as a gift. It's great to see her work everywhere."
You can see Aunty Esther's paintings at the Dunghutti-Ngaku Aboriginal Art Gallery (DNAAG) in Kempsey along with a range of established and emerging Aboriginal artists from the Dunghutti region and the wider Mid North Coast.
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