Urraween's Wilhelmus Beikers has been exploring the impacts of war through his art for years.
Urraween's Wilhelmus Beikers has been exploring the impacts of war through his art for years. Wilhelmus Beikers

Hervey Bay artist in running to win $20,000 prize

URRAWEEN man and artist Wilhelmus Breikers is one of 38 finalists in a competition to have their artwork displayed at the Gallipoli Memorial Club in Sydney.

The retired visual art teacher's painting "the way" could win Mr Breikers $20,000, with the winner being announced on April 22 - three days before Anzac Day.

Talented painter Mr Breikers said he had been fascinated by the concept of how war affected people for years, and knew this was his last chance to enter his art in this particular competition.

"I believe this is was last year the club will be running the competition so I sent one of my works down to see how I'd go and I was fortunate enough to get selected to go in the exhibition," Mr Breikers said.

"'The way' is a reflection from my perspective of not only the soldiers and service personnel who had to cope with that dreadfulness daily but also those left back in the country who were constantly fearful of getting the news that their husband or son or brother was dead."

Mr Breikers said while his artwork was entered in a Gallipoli-themed competition, it was not specifically about Gallipoli.

"It's generic in that it represents all conflicts at all times, it's not intended to make a specific reference to World War One or Two, or Korea or Vietnam," he said.

"It's more of an anti-conflict statement more than anything, but that's not obvious, it's just the way people could interpret it."

Mr Breikers was born in Holland and his family moved to Australia in the early 1950s to start a new life after the Second World War.

"My connection to war is not direct but it does affect me," he said.

Mr Breikers will be going down to Sydney for the announcement of the winner on April 22.

Wilhelmus Beikers’ painting The Way will be exhibited at the Gallipoli Memorial Club in Sydney.
Wilhelmus Beikers’ painting The Way will be exhibited at the Gallipoli Memorial Club in Sydney.