The National Art School would like to pay tribute to alumnus James Roberts, who tragically died on 11 February 2019. Below is a statement prepared by James’ family.
Our beautiful son, James Edwin Roberts, ex- Nambour and Burnside High School student in the nineteen eighties, son of Lorraine and Bob Roberts, was killed in an incomprehensible, tragic accident when he fell from his bicycle, on the 11th of February because of a mechanical failure. Though wearing a safety helmet, he still sustained a massive brain injury. The police believe that sadly too many people become complacent, thinking that a helmet will protect them for receiving serious head injuries. A warning.
James has worked at the Sydney Opera House as a stage mechanist for the last 16 years, and was studying at the National Arts School. He was due to start a Master of Fine Arts degree that he had intended to follow up with a PhD soon after that. James had planned to return to Nambour to take care of his aging parents as soon as he completed his PhD.
We hope James’ friends will remember him as the fun loving kind and caring soul that he is. A book is being produced to honour his life and gift as an artist. Anyone of his friends wishing to contribute anecdotes for publication in this book and to later obtain a copy of the book can contact his parents on email@example.com for more information.
Some may remember James and a friend performing a piece about saving the trees, in the forecourt of the Nambour Council and Library in 1984.
As well as his interest in the environment, James was a member of the Palmwoods Players theatre group, appearing in Cinderella and working on set design. His prize winning characterisation performance of King Henry V in our local Eisteddfod may be remembered. James’ many other interests included: a passion for vintage old objects and a wide taste in music. James was an advocate of the fair go and had a special interest in and empathy with people who were struggling.
James was a much loved son and will be greatly missed by his parents, his sister Muria Roberts and niece Amyra Roberts Prayoga, and also his wide circle of family and friends.
Cyclists, young and old, do be careful while riding. Safety helmets cannot always provide full head protection.
Lorraine and Robert Roberts, 28 February 2019
The National Art School would like to pay tribute to alumnus James Barker, who died on Wednesday 2nd January 2019, aged 87.
James Barker graduated from East Sydney Technical College with a Diploma in Fine Arts (Painting) in 1955. Fellow students included Ron Lambert, Robin Lawrence, Georgina Worth, Barbara Holliday, Karen Oom, Cameron Sparks and Elisabeth Cummings. In 1956 he was awarded a Fulbright scholarship and travelled widely from this time on.
Elisabeth Cummings joined James in Florence some years after her own graduation from the NAS, where they were married and spent the ensuing years painting, teaching and travelling throughout Europe. James studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence and with Kokoschka in Salzburg. In 1966 he opened his own studio in Florence where he taught painting and drawing.
He returned to Australia in 1968 taking a teaching position in painting and art history at the National Art School and also at the University of Sydney with Dr. Lloyd Rees. His astounding depth of knowledge of art history and his dry wit was a great bonus for his many students at the National Art School.
He continued his painting practice, held many solo exhibitions and was the recipient of art awards throughout his life. He maintained his close ties with the National Art School for over sixty years.
The National Art School extends condolences to James’s family and friends, particularly his son Damian, Elisabeth Cummings and second wife Josephine Maxwell.