Former Australian Army soldier Michael Lyddiard was charged with dismantling a Taliban-made improvised explosive device (IED), when it detonated with a force so great it took with it his right arm below the elbow, his right eye and part of his left hand.
“It was a quite a day at the office,” he recounts.
Michael vividly remembers that autumn afternoon in 2007, when he couldn’t possibly understand the extent of his injuries. His last visual memories are the moments before and after the explosion: the peaceful hut and green landscape suddenly charred by dirt and blood, and with it, the burning sensations and smells. The explosion has been captured by artist Kym Hart in his painting.
Today Michael is an Occupational Therapist, with a specific interest in helping veterans who have also suffered physical and psychological injuries. He is an endurance athlete – winning three gold and two silver medals at the Toronto Invictus Games in 2017.
An Ambassador for the Veteran Charity “Soldier On”, Michael was a finalist in the 2017 Queensland Australian of the Year awards.
Kym Hart was inspired to become an artist by his internationally acclaimed father Pro Hart, whose teachings and influence adorn the walls of Kym’s family home.
Kym’s artistry is drawn from extensive travel throughout Australia, and from time in Egypt, Japan, Saudi Arabia and Hawaii. But he says the landscape around his hometown of Broken Hill provided the most inspiration, with its rich history and vivid colours.
He has developed a talent to paint in a range of styles and mediums and an intriguing mix of fantasy, surrealism and realism. Kym’s paintings are in many private collections throughout Australia and overseas.
Ralph Hultgren is currently the Artistic Director of the Australian International Music Festival – Sydney. He is a freelance teacher, composer and conductor having held tenured positions at Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University and the Queensland University of Technology, where he lectured in Composition, Conducting, Music Education and Instrumental Music Pedagogy.
Dr Hultgren was awarded an Order of Australia alongside his professional awards of Patron of the Maryborough Music Conference, recipient of the Midwest Clinic – Chicago, International Award, and the Australian Band and Orchestra Directors’ Association’s Citation of Excellence award.
Dr Hultgren is a member of the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, a full writer member of the Australasian Performing Right Association and the Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society.
His compositional output ranges from educational and amateur performing groups to the professional studio and stage, and his conducting credits are equally broad.