Michelle's father (Laszlo) was a holocaust survivor. As a child Laszlo’s mother, father, sister and brother were all taken away right in front of his eyes, to the gas chamber. Due to his height and physical strength, Laszlo was sent to work at a German concentration camp. After the war, Laszlo was fostered out to an Australian family. He came with nothing and no one, and that strength is what Michelle admires to this day.
"Anyone can have a very terrible start, but you can make something of yourself if you want to."
Michelle initially started painting after her father passed away. Her grandfather painted, as did her mother and daughter. For Michelle, painting her father felt like a natural way to work through the grief of losing him. From there Michelle started to paint other people known for the adversities they faced. People such as Marilyn Monroe or Vincent Van Gogh are a reminder that despite the difficulty and hardship faced, they were able to accomplish meaningful achievements and inspire many through their strength and resilience; just like Michelle’s father.
Although Michelle doesn’t describe herself as a professional artist, she does consider art a part-
time career. For Michelle, the people she paints remind her that just because we face misfortune does not mean that it defines us, and merely because we have experienced pain
does not mean we cannot go on to experience joy. Today, Michelle loves painting her family -
her husband, children and grandchildren as this is her legacy to her Jewish Hungarian
"Through pain you can become a better person, so long as you do not become bitter and twisted."
During challenging times it is important to have healthy outlets of grief, in order to fully process.
For Michelle the ability to channel both her admiration, pain and grief into something creative
allowed her to create something beautiful out of what she was experiencing. According to
Michelle, the ability to start healing after hardship is in your own hands as good and healthy
coping techniques provide you the opportunity to put in the work to deal with grief.
“ You can feel lonely and sad but if you can go for a walk or listen to music, do something creative, you can feel a lot better.”
Recently, Michelle donated several art pieces to the Magical Getaway Foundation. Michelle was contacted by Sara, founder of Handled with Care, who partnered with the Magical Getaway Foundation, in order to aid in their Trash and Treasure initiative. Michelle decided to donate her paintings to the Magical Getaway Foundation to help spread her message of strength and resilience to the children involved with the organisation, as well as the wider community.
The Magical Getaway Foundation is a grassroots charity sending underprivileged Australian
families on first-ever getaways. Holidays improve well-being, reduce stress, increase self-
esteem and strengthen family communication and bonding. They create lifetime treasured
memories and increase community participation, while decreasing social isolation. For some
these breaks are desperately needed in order to recover from trauma. Unfortunately, many
families are unable to afford to take these breaks.
When Michelle heard about the Magical Getaway and the work they do, she knew she wanted to donate her paintings. In donating her art, Michelle hopes that for the families that purchase it, they will serve as a reminder that while one day life may seem too much or too dark, the next day there is always the possibility of sunshine.