Sharon Davson - Actor or Artist and Advocate?
Sharon Davson grew up in the rural town of Gatton, Queensland. Before leaving school, she had acted, directed and staged plays within the local community. Many expected her to pursue a career in film or theatre. However, she was also an artist with a passion for nature and animals.
So she chose to accept a scholarship to study Fine Art at the College of Art in Brisbane (1972-74). She was soon leading the way to improve student conditions when she founded and became the first President of the new College of Art Student Union (CASU) in her first year of college. She also encouraged artistic professionalism among her peers by opening her first art gallery – the TAG Gallery in Toowong, Brisbane. Artist and advocate were her chosen paths.
By 1975, she had attained a Diploma of Teaching from Kelvin Grove College of Advanced Education in Brisbane. She had also lobbied for a variety of causes, including the protection of heritage buildings and the rainforest. From 1976 to 1980, she worked as a full- time High School teacher and taught evening classes in practical art and art philosophy.
Yet, she still found time to create art works, look after horses and participate in arts and theatre activities. She worked tireless for her goals and passions, fulfilling a childhood dream of purchasing a small acreage in which to rear horses.
A Freelance Artist’s Apprenticeship
Once Davson decided she wanted to be a full-time artist, she left her teaching posts, sold the small farm and embarked on a multi-year odyssey that covered half of Australia. It turned out to be a rocky road adventure, beset with challenges and opportunities.
It was late 1980 when Davson and her dog Abby set out in an old ex-government bus with Appaloosa horse Sam and a motorbike in tow. This became her apprenticeship in all things Australian: including culture, politics, nature and art. By the time her travels concluded, she’d established her artistic style with the jig-saw puzzle imagery and had a renewed understanding for the fragility of the environment.
Freelance meant selling her art, signwriting sponsor logos on the bus and writing articles for Australia’s Western Horseman magazine to fund her ventures.
Drawn back to the desert, a one-hour documentary about her art and adventures was made in 1983 when she returned to a remote part of South Australia. Titled 901 To Innaminka, it included footage of Davson creating several haunting landscapes and rare self-portraits.