Leura Garage owner James Howarth always planned to make his own small tribute to a former young employee, Sarah Frazer; he was just waiting for the right moment.
The “warm, determined, inspirational worker” died in a tragic road accident in the Southern Highlands on February 15 last year. She was just 23. Since then she’s become the focus of a national movement —the SARAH campaign (Safer Australian Roads and Highways) — and this month Howarth launches Art @ the Garage to raise funds and awareness for the program that was started by Sarah’s road safety crusading parents, Peter and Judy.
Junkyard bits collected by artist Tanya Stubbles will be exhibited in the buzzy cafe space, a former automotive garage which still has an old hoist, mufflers, tyres and tools from earlier days. Titled On the Road, Howarth said it’s “the story about how human events can be interpreted through art”.
This month the cafe is also participating in Fairfax Media’s Good Food Month and diners will be able to enjoy many meals at reduced prices. They are also taking donations to enter a draw for the Tanya Stubbles artworks. Diners will be encouraged to donate $10 to the cause, giving them a chance to win one of the many artworks on the walls.
Sarah Frazer’s life ended as she waited for her car to be repaired. Stubbles said her work “takes us on a joyride through our subconscious as we contemplate our own mortality”.
The South Coast construction artist uses scraps of old cars and weaves them into works of urban chic. The objects re-emerge “from objects of desire to trash and back to prized ornaments ... it’s a potent metaphor as we grapple for the meaning behind tragic events,” she added.
The exhibition will run until November 30 with a final large artwork raffled on the final day.
“Sarah was a huge talent in hospitality ... she was admired by colleagues and customers alike,” Howarth said, with Peter Frazer adding that the gesture in this month’s art display by Leura Garage was welcome.
“We are still coming to terms with Sarah not being amongst us but she has become a symbol of hope and meaning for so many people that care about safety on our roads,” he said.