Pooch power

MOVING from New Zealand to Fremantle triggered an explosion of creativity and art in Jane Ryan.

Born with an intellectual disability, she had lived quite a “protected and closeted” life until her elderly parents relocated the family to Freo in the late 2000s.

Shortly after arriving she started painting and it wasn’t long before her colourful and imaginative works were getting noticed by the local art scene; selected to appear in the Here and Now exhibition at UWA Art Gallery.

More group exhibitions and solo shows followed, establishing Ryan as a vibrant and lively character in the Perth art community.

She’s also a dab hand at fibre work, stitching and weaving – creating bright folk art-style pieces – and loves to document everyday life in and around Fremantle.

If there’s one constant in her art – it’s her love of dogs.

• Some of the colourful artworks by Jane Ryan (below) in her exhibition It’s a Dog’s Life.

A love so big it’s the focus of her latest solo exhibition It’s a Dog’s Life, featuring more than 20 paintings and 10 stitchings of her furry friends.

“I love Fremantle and have a studio in Mrs Trivets Lane overlooking Bathers Beach,” Ryan says. 

“I also love Leighton Dog Beach and get lots of inspiration for dog painting whilst having coffees at the Orange Box.”

A dog lover, Ryan has owned many throughout her life including “Baz”, a wire-haired fox terrier that sadly passed away.

Most of the stitchings in the exhibition are of dogs Ryan or her family have owned over the years.

Since arriving in Freo, she has had some great mentors including WA artists Nalda Searles, Judy, Mary Seward, Kate Campbell-Pope, Suzie Woodhouse and Sian Bouchard.

Ryan’s enjoyed residencies at Fremantle Arts Centre and J Shed Studios and received numerous awards and mentorships for her bright distinctive art.   

And after 13 years in Fremantle, she’s well and truly settled in the port city.

“My favourite football team is the Dockers and I love watching their games,” she says.

It’s a Dog’s Life is at a pop up gallery at 824 Hay Street (corner of King Street) in Perth from November 10 – 24.


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