Andrea Alzened wants to be a famous artist in Paris or London when she grows up, but for now, she has to settle for being the youngest artist to ever have an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney.
Her MCA “retrospective” of paintings, sculpture and videography, Andrea’s Amazing Wish, is the 10-year-old’s dream come true. It’s also been her inspiration and motivation as she battles acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Make-A-Wish Australia, a charity which gives children with life-threatening illnesses the chance to see their wish realised, helped organise the show.
The colourful, vivid works were created while Andrea was in hospital for treatment and helped her keep a positive outlook.
Her mum, Tamar, said she used Andrea’s wish “as a weapon” to boost her daughter. When Andrea was showing signs of what turned out to be leukaemia, her mother booked her in for art lessons to cheer her up.
“It gives her the encouragement she needs to get through it. Now, there’s a twinkle in her eyes, there’s this hope. And it gives me hope as a mum,” Tamar said.
Andrea said that when she was in pain, her mum would encourage her to paint.
“That gets me excited and happy and I can forget when I’m feeling so sick,” she said. “I love art. It’s really fun for me.”
MCA director Elizabeth Ann Macgregor said the gallery didn’t hesitate when approached about hosting Andrea’s exhibition.
“Working with Andrea has been a very special experience for all of the staff at the MCA. We’re thrilled to be able to help make her wish come true,” she said.
Andrea’s exhibition was opened by NSW arts minister and deputy premier Troy Grant at the MCA earlier this month. Noting that she loved drawing animals, the Dubbo MP invited Andrea and her family up to the Western Plains Zoo as his guest to stay and draw more inspiration for her art.
Andrea and her sister Talar were dressed in Sass & Bide for the opening night. Fashion duo Sarah-Jane Clarke and Heidi Middleton are strong supporters of Make-A-Wish and also fans of Andrea’s works.
One picture, “Yummy in my tummy”, of melting ice cream, is being blown up to poster size and will hang in the window of Sass & Bide’s Brisbane store.
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