Trangie's Kenny Thurbon finds his focus through art.

Kenny Thurbon with his artworks.
Kenny Thurbon with his artworks.

A connection to country and deep love of Australian wildlife are recurring themes in Kenny Thurbon's paintings.

From Trangie in north-west NSW, Kenny works at his paintings for many hours each week at Challenge Disability Services.

Challenge Community Services supports people living with a disability to discover new interests, learn important life skills and reach their goals.

Kenny said he is inspired from what he experiences around him, whether it's a soaring eagle or the calm waters of the Trangie waterhole.

"I love painting animals, especially snakes, turtles and koalas," Kenny said.

"I also paint kangaroos and fish."


Kenny is keen to learn more about Aboriginal art and now uses the computer independently to search for images and information such as what animal tracks look like, Aboriginal symbols and animal shapes. He then incorporates these into his artwork.

Under the guidance of his Challenge support worker, he has quickly progressed from painting flowers and cupcakes to expressing his Aboriginal culture.

"Before becoming involved in painting, Kenny found it difficult to concentrate and he didn't usually express his own ideas," says Challenge support worker Rebecca Robb.

"Kenny's favourite technique is dot painting which can be very intricate. Achieving the intense concentration this art form requires has been a significant breakthrough for him."

Much of Kenny's art is acrylic paint on canvas, but he has also recently started experimenting with Aboriginal burning techniques using wooden boxes and bowls bought from second-hand shops.

Taking his inspiration from nature, Kenny is not afraid to experiment using sticks and gum leaves dipped in paint to create different sized dots for his dot paintings

Kenny plans to continue to create artworks for family members, who mean so much to him. With his artistic sights set on an exhibition in the future, he is now working hard to produce a body of work of around 10 paintings. He especially hopes to show and sell his art through the Wungunja Cultural Centre in Trangie.

"Kenny has found something he loves and his persistent application has paid off. It has helped him increase his focus and he is now better at following directions," Ms Robb said.

"He has made so much progress in such a short time. I am confident he will create those 10 paintings and more."