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Lizzy’s dream comes true after whirlwind experience

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The Block 2021 may be over but it’s not done changing lives. 

Hunter-based entrants Kirsty Lee Akers and Jesse Anderson have been launched into the spotlight after coming fourth in the series. 

However, they’re not the only locals who have gained something from the popular reality TV show.

Newcastle-based Indigenous artist Lizzy Stageman says her life has been completely transformed since she created two artworks for contestants Ronnie and Georgia. 

The 55-year-old emailed the show on a whim – she was hoping to sell some of her prints through The Block Shop.

It was “pure dismay” when she got a reply saying Ronnie and Georgia were interested in her style of art. 

“I was very overwhelmed and excited,” she said.

“I just couldn’t believe it, I was a bit of a dizz at the time but I am really proud of myself for putting myself out there and getting a response.”

The irony of it all, is that she had told her son just days before she dreamt of being featured on the show. 

“A week later I [spoke] to Georgia and discussed the brief, size, and her colour palette,” Lizzy explained.

“Not knowing how much time I had, I started to create the artwork immediately.”

The artist put together two detailed paintings in five short days, she even had to blow-dry the works between coats to get it all done. 

When delivered, Lizzy said she’ll never forget the response she received from Georgia and members of the crew. 

“There was lots of emotion that day from all of the team that saw my work,” she said.

“It’s a feeling that can’t be explained it was just overwhelmingly beautiful.” 

After appearing on the show, more than $75,000 worth of her artwork sold in less than 48 hours.

It’s money Lizzy and her husband are using to finish renovating their house in Highfields.

The proud Wiradjuri Ngiyampaa and Barkindji woman has always loved art, but didn’t fully commit herself to it until early 2020. 

After three-years of “really bad” health for herself and her husband, she decided it was time to focus on what she loves. 

In 2018 Lizzy battled breast cancer but before that she also endured a stroke and a surgery for a hole in her heart.

While her husband, Duncan suffered a heart attack in 2017, a collapsed lung the year after and fought bowel cancer in 2019.

“I am three and a half years cancer free, but it’s been an awful ride,” she said. 

“It’s been a battle but the way I look at it is that it was part of my journey.

“I needed to go through it to get me to where I am. 

“The universe was telling me to paint full time and see where it takes me and I haven’t looked back since April 2020.”

Wearing her scars proudly, Lizzy hopes her story can inspire others. 

“At 55 my dream of being able to do my art, a dream I had at 17, has come true,” she told Newcastle Weekly.

“Don’t give up on reaching for the stars because if you just keep reaching far enough you will be able to touch them one day – even if it takes 35 years like me.

“It doesn’t matter how old you are, even through the health battles, you just have to keep going.”

Go to the Lizzy Stageman Art Facebook page or website to see more of her work.

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