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Women Who Inspire Oranje - Leone Furler, artist, mother and mentor to Sia

Tue Jan 27 2022

Loene Furler
Artist, Mentor

There are many dimensions to Loene Furler’s life that make her inspiring, it’s impossible to squeeze into one post. The reason Adelaide is attached to the name ‘Furler’ worldwide is thanks to this woman. Loene is an incredible artist, an inspired traveller and an impactful teacher.

She also happens to be the person who birthed music superstar, Sia Furler.

Loene’s story with the arts spans many years “For me the 60s were Existentialism and London; the 70s were Feminism and motherhood; the 80s were left-wing politics, and the 90s were reflections. The millennium years were about development of artistic personal and cultural activities and lobbying for better support for artists. Since retiring I am busier than ever!”

When it comes to art, she’s done it all: sketching, painting, photography, filmmaking and she played bass, wrote and sang in an all-female rock band. Melinda made the album cover.

Alongside her notable exhibitions, it’s Loene’s teaching that has made the most impact on the arts in SA. From 1982-87 she taught printmaking in the Pitjanjatjara Lands, learning the local language as she did. She’s taught tertiary art, lectured at ACARTS and became an adviser to the Minister for the Arts – a job she loved, but dominated her life. Personally, Loene has been a mentor to Melinda, her husband Graeme and son Willem.

Somehow she also found time to be the Chair of the Experimental Art Foundation, Chair of Elastic (Artist Week committee), Member of the Art Gallery of SA Foundation Council, Member of the Festival, Events and Commissions committee for ARTSA and the CEO of Jam Factory. Not all at once.

Loene’s relationship with Oranje began when Melinda had her first studio on Melbourne Street. The pair shared many laughs while developing a deep friendship based on mutual interests and ethics. Melinda has worked on several projects with Loene over the years, including Oranje setting up the brand collateral to establish Adelaide University’s Sia Furler Institute of Contemporary Music and Media. As there was no budget, Oranje always donated our time. Melinda also held Loene’s 60th birthday dinner party, because that’s truly what friends are for!