Preserved artwork in Logan sparks childhood memories

Published: 18th September 2023

Katty Okeny stands in front of her artwork

Boronia Heights resident Katty Okeny with the artwork she produced 10 years ago as an 11-year-old Woodridge State School student.

Katty Okeny was an 11-year-old at Woodridge State School when she did a painting as part of an art project. 

A decade later, the artwork by the now 21-year-old is part of an exhibition highlighting childhood stories at The Living Museum of Logan – Part of Logan City Council’s Kingston Butter Factory Cultural Precinct. 

She was completely unaware her painting entitled The Right to Clean Water had been preserved. 

“I was really surprised. I feel seen and I didn’t think I could ever feel that way,” said Katty, a Boronia Heights resident who works as a support worker for high-needs children with disability. 

Katty’s childhood painting, which depicts a woman fetching water from a pond, is part of The Big Voices: Children’s Art Matters exhibition.

The exhibition features some of the 2000 artworks in a Children's Art Archive collected since 1986 by leading academic and early childhood educator Dr Barbara Piscitelli and is now held by the State Library of Queensland. 

Katty said her mum was the inspiration for the painting, which draws on stories she was told about their Sudanese-Ugandan heritage. 

“I remember my mum always told me stories of how they always had to walk miles for clean water and I remember pictures of them with buckets on their head and stuff like that, so I was like oh: I should do that.” 

Katty said it was a wonderful idea to preserve art by children. 

“Art is a way of communicating. It’s a pathway for young artists to come together and be seen.”

Watch City of Logan’s video with Katty below.