Artist and teacher Dr Ursula Betka has been dedicated to supporting people from Syria since the civil war broke out in 2011. Ursula and her late husband spent 25 years leading historical tours, during which time they fell in love with the country and the people there.
From 16 November to 5 December, Ursula held a display and public sale of a large collection of her own hand-painted sacred images and holy icons - including works from a number of her iconography students - at the Mary MacKillop Heritage Centre in Melbourne.
Together with her students, Ursula is donating 50% of all sales proceeds to CatholicCare’s Settlement Engagement and Transition Support (SETS) program, supporting refugees to settle well in Victoria.
‘The Syrians have been a focus of my fundraising efforts since the civil war broke out; and now I have the privilege of also teaching Icon Painting to a group of Syrian refugees living in Melbourne,’ says Ursula.
Image: Dr Ursula Betka amongst her artworks.
‘My Ph.D. studies explored the art historical aspect of Italian painting in the early-Renaissance era (13th and 14th centuries), furthering my interest in the artist’s workshop methods of Florence and Siena, which I practice and teach.’
Incidently, Ursula was assisted by CatholicCare when she was in her early 20’s, and has since supported CatholicCare for our ongoing work with vulnerable families and communities in need.
We would like to thank Ursula and her students for their generosity and compassion, which will make a great difference to the lives of refugees participating in CatholicCare’s SETS program.
UPDATE: We are thrilled to announce that Ursula's exhibition raised a total of $7000 for CatholicCare's SETS program. We extend our deepest gratitude to Ursula, her students and to all who visited the exhibition and purchased the beautiful artworks on display.