Mar 06, 2023

A mutual love for art compels an unlikely duo to paint the town together

John and Prajdnik HC

A home care volunteer from Nepal has gained more than he expected while caring for our older people, finding a valuable mentor and new friend.

30-year-old graphic artist and filmmaker, Prajdnik Awasthi, became a volunteer at HammondCare to try and give back to his new hometown of Canberra, where he met his client former Australian Trade Commissioner to New York and avid art collector, John Bush.

Mr Awasthi migrated to Australia from Nepal seven years ago to study art and once he started volunteering, his bond quickly grew with John. 

John, 91-years-old, was a Trade Commissioner to New York in the 1980s and lives independently with some assistance. John has adopted Mr Awasthi into his world of visiting the latest exhibitions, collecting intriguing works and reading about new artists and trends.

“Every time we get together, he shows me around, often art exhibitions. He introduces me to people – it’s great,” Mr Awasthi said.

“He even gives me feedback on my own art. He’s very sweet with it.”

John said spending time with Mr Awasthi on a Saturday out in the local art scene is a highlight of his week. 

A fan of the more traditional oil-based works, John has encouraged his protege to widen his talent beyond digital art. 

“I want to encourage Prajdnik to not just look at digital art but to look at the broader perspective of art in the galleries,” John explained.

“I am not particularly interested in digital art, but I think he’s quite gifted and talented.”

One of John’s preferred spots is the Beaver Galleries at Deakin which the two visited last month (pictured).

For Mr Awasthi, the opportunity to spend time with John helps him learn more about the area he now calls home and it fills an emotional void he feels while being so far away from his family in Nepal. 

“Through this volunteer role, John is helping me learn more about Canberra and I am getting out more,” he said. 

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