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Klara by Ray Morgan Coffey


Ray Morgan Coffey

About the artist

Ray Coffey was born in England, and immersed himself in European comic books, fascinated by the amazingly detailed art. He spent most of his youth copying his favourite artists hoping one day to become one himself. At the age of 17 he became a commercial artist and worked on a great number of projects for over 25 years. After emigrating to Australia and becoming a citizen, Coffey changed direction and become an artist. In a small studio at his home and working mostly in charcoal, he creates highly detailed portraiture, full scale figures and images of imagination. He has also exhibited around Australia and has made the final of several national art prizes.

About the sitter

Klara, aged 99, was born in Lithuania and became a refugee, fleeing the Russian invasion. She ended up in Brisbane. Her life has been marked by this momentous move, described in a book by her daughter. “People’s peaceful lives were shattered by Russia’s invasion: People disappeared. They took thousands to Siberia … We were married the last day before the Russians closed all the churches”. Klara bade farewell to family on 26 October 1940, and began the long journey out via the Trans-Siberian Railway. “I was very sad to leave. I was going further and further away, and I didn’t know if I’d (sic) ever see it again. I was thinking I hope the Russians won’t stay long, and maybe by some miracle Lithuania will be free again”.