Intricate artist at work in Flinders Lane

Architect turned artist Peter Davidson is one of 75 artists who identify as living with disability who received one of our quick-response arts grants in March.

The grants were designed to help artists working across a range of art forms continue creating during COVID-19.

Best known for co-designing Federation Square, Peter Davidson used his grant to purchase art materials and fund a period of intensive drawing and painting during lockdown, creating numerous works on paper for a future exhibition at Daine Singer Gallery.

Peter’s life changed significantly 10 years ago when the respected architect suffered a stroke, which left him with disabilities. After a long hospital stay and rehabilitation, Peter regained the ability to walk and now lives independently in Flinders Lane, close by for regular walks to Federation Square.

He is, however, forever changed by his stroke, most notably with the loss of most of his language (a condition called aphasia), and hemiplegia (paralysis down one side of his body). With characteristic determination Peter has learnt to use his non-dominant hand to draw and paint, and has held a number of exhibitions of his work.

According to Daine Singer Gallery: “Peter’s drawings are meticulous and intricate, tracing a multitude of patterns and forms through the strict constraint of black lines on paper. In contrast, his vibrant watercolours layer fields of geometric shapes and pattern.”

An intricate line drawing artwork

Peter Davidson, Untitled 535, felt tip pen on paper

Peter is a familiar face to many in the Flinders Lane and Federation Square locale, where – when restrictions allow – he continues to immerse himself in Melbourne’s culture and cafes.

Due to the lockdowns, Peter has been self-isolating since early March away from his usual network of friends and family. While he misses his regular catch-ups with friends and grandchildren, and routine of visits to the library, Federation Square and Journal cafe, Peter is taking the lockdown in his stride and focusing on creating art.

Early on in the pandemic Peter found out that he had received the grant from the City of Melbourne, a moment he describes as “just wonderful”. Each day is now filled with drawing, painting and listening to music.

A geometric watercolour artwork

Peter Davidson, Untitled 502, watercolour on paper

To find out more about the funding recipients, visit Quick-response arts grants.

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These arts grants are just one of the ways we are working towards our goal of making Melbourne one of the world’s most accessible and inclusive cities.

We have also built Australia’s first B1 blind soccer pitch, engaged professional grounds maintenance services through disability enterprise Mambourin, funded accessibility projects through our Connected Communities Grants, and much more.

To learn more about our commitment to access and inclusion, find out about our Disability Access Plan.