STILL LEARNING: Daphne Dux, Kal-Ma-Kuta, with her artwork at the art exhibition in the foyer of the North Coast Cancer Institute, at Lismore Base Hospital.
STILL LEARNING: Daphne Dux, Kal-Ma-Kuta, with her artwork at the art exhibition in the foyer of the North Coast Cancer Institute, at Lismore Base Hospital. Marc Stapelberg

Daphne started new career at 76, now it's really taking off

DAPHNE Dux, of Rosebank, has proven you're never too old to change your path in life.

When she was 76 she learnt to paint and has since become an accomplished artist.

The 86-year-old said her life truly began in her 50s and has only gone up from there.

"I grew up in an orphanage and was raised by nuns," Ms Dux said.

"I got married when I was young just to get out of there ... so my life really started after I moved to Lismore."

A few weeks ago, Ms Dux put four of her dot paintings up in the Art for Oncology exhibition at the North Coast Cancer Institute at Lismore Base Hospital.

Two have already sold.

The hospital has good and bad memories for Ms Dux.

In 2006 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and spent a lot of time in hospital.

"I became a patient here and I thought I had to do something otherwise it would be so boring," she said.

"I was walking past Caddies cafe and they had this big painting on the wall ... it was a lizard done in beads.

"I thought 'I could do that', so I bought all the wooden beads in Lismore; it must have been thousands."

That marked the start of her love for dot painting.

"My daughter went to TAFE here in Lismore and at the time I had to go there for a message," she said.

"There was a woman there who asked what I did with my time. I told her how old I was and she said to me, 'You're never too old to learn'.

"So I started TAFE and I stayed there for six years.

"I learnt a lot but I also learnt how to respect myself.

"Being an Aboriginal it can be hard ... but I became confident, and the more confidence I got the better I did the work."

Ms Dux is now cancer-free but still returns to the hospital once a year.

Ms Dux finds her biggest inspiration after she goes to sleep. Turtles are a common theme; a symbol of one of her best childhood memories.

"Down the back of the orphanage there was a swamp and whenever I could sneak out I'd go down and sit there," she said.

"I'd watch the turtles. They were only about an inch or two inches big and I used to pick them up, play with them and put them back in ... they were my playmates."

The Art for Oncology exhibition is in its third year.

The art pieces are for sale with proceeds going towards items for cancer patients.


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