Tonight my social media feed is carrying sad news of the death of John Doherty, artist, storyteller, smoker, Catholic and so much more.
I came to know John in my role as a community worker supporting people with disability and mental health issues to live with independence. John and I were the same age and shared a similar love of cinema, culture and religion.
We documented each other in the remarkable exchange of camera and paintbrush. On my bedroom wall I gaze with gratitude at a portrait John painted of me a few years ago. It captures my passion for Aboriginal politics with the colours that I wear around the brim of my hat.
Tonight as a tribute to John I publish for the first time an insight into my collection of portraits taken of John over the last ten or more years. This collection includes rare images of John in his home/studio where he playfully poses with the ciggie always close at hand.
Farewell John, I will miss our conversations about Audrey, Cary and those idols of the silver screen. I was always remember our last conversation in the hospital where you asked me for communion and a coffee.
Rest in peace from the struggles and the worry. May the Malboro Man and St Peter welcome you home and may the angels sing you gently as you join those heroes you brought to life on canvas.