It’s my privilege today to honour Dick.
Dick Bett was the real thing. His loved of what he did – the art, the gallery, the artists, their collaboration towards success, and doing it with his family. It all spoke so much of who he was. He was genuinely one of those lucky people who did what he loved and loved what he did. He lived an authentic life and shared so much of it with others.
Of course, one of the ways he shared his love of art, and of learning about it, was to create groups of art collectors like us. Through Dick, we have been made so much richer and a little wiser as we’ve journeyed these last two years and shared the beauty, complexity and insight of the works of art made by artists with an affinity to Tasmania. Today we are joined by one of them – Barbie Kjar – who has journeyed with Dick for more than 25 years.
Barbie and I talked on Friday of Dick’s unique ability to make you feel like the most important person in the room even when it was overflowing with enthusiasts and artist friends assembled for an opening. His was a genuine and authentic way of building a vision for art in Tasmania – built on deep shared relationships and trust.
Dick’s vision for art in this place added to our lives in a unique and deeply affecting way – I admire his courage (and I might say, the courage of Carol in supporting him); I admire his wiliness, in bringing people on board with his vision. In my own case, it was being convinced against my better judgement to become President of Big River at an impossible time and despite my protestations!
And most of all I admire his ability to trust – just a handshake was enough. He valued the trust and trusted that value of sharing the experience of art together.
About three weeks ago, I had the privilege of a visit from Dick and Carol – a glorious memory of his courage and generosity as we sat yarning around the table sharing tea and fudge. He came not for his own purposes, but to help me in my appreciation of art. How much I value that time, the deep knowledge and the insight.
In sharing these thoughts, reflections and memories of Dick I stand here to honour his legacy and his gift to us – an authentic group based on trust, generosity and courage that journeys the art of Tasmania together, that lives his spirit and is so much richer for it.
Please raise your glasses to our inspiration. Vale Dick.