Quick sketch of a newcomer

By Rhonda Dredge

An artistic life awaits those who move into the CBD with life drawing three times a week where you can meet friends and tap into the world of sketching.

Corine Caderbaccus moved to Melbourne eight years ago to study accountancy and life has opened up for her since.

Back home in Mauritius girls of her age aren’t allowed out after dark without parental supervision.

Eight years of struggle have been worth the effort for Corine. She worked two jobs, saved enough to gain permanent resident status and now has a studio apartment in William Street. 

“I came to Australia as an international student, studied accounting and moved to Prahran with my sister,” she said. While she was studying, she worked at Myer. When her sister moved interstate, she went to live in Noble Park with her uncle and aunt.

“I had 50 minutes of travel, seven days a week. My uncle was over 70 and he picked me up at the station. I was home late. 10.30. Myers closed at 9. I was burdening my uncle. It was time to move out.”

By then she had an accountancy job near Flagstaff Station and moved into the CBD. “Melbourne means freedom for me. I work seven minutes from home.”

Come Monday night and she’s out with the girls, not nightclubbing, but learning how to draw at Missing Persons studio in the Nicholas Building.

There are 40 others crammed into a smallish room with a model up the front adopting poses, some impossible ones for just 30 seconds, others longer and more relaxed.

Corine draws with a mauve crayon. Her renditions are expressive yet shy at the same time. You get the feeling that she is just opening up to experience the big city and is liking what she finds.

“Port Louis is a bit of a mess,” she says of the capital of Mauritius. She doesn’t enlarge on her theme. Her cousin is sitting next to her and she has driven her car in from the suburbs for the life drawing. They’re taking it seriously.

There is silence as they get into the flow of the visual world. It is relaxing after the push and shove of the day. Wine is available for $2 a glass and it’s not bad.

Old regulars are here who know how to draw a figure and come for the company as well as the discipline. Life drawing forces you to complete a picture in large sweeps under pressure. Sometimes a quick sketch is best.

Corine is happy and open about her life. She loves Flagstaff Gardens. She has a boyfriend. There isn’t room in her flat for him but she is philosophical. She thinks she will leave the CBD in the future. She has made the sacrifice. After paying paying $50,000 for her education and a sizeable amount for her visa application, she is looking to the future.

Her boss admired her determination and sponsored her. “It was the easiest way of getting a visa,” she said. 

Life drawing is a way of getting out and about. She has been in the CBD three years and the pose of a sketcher suits her. She’s a confident communicator able to gloss over hardship and make is seem easy.

The challenge of moving from a small island nation to a large one has been met. She goes home about every four years and her parents visit. She adds vitality to the city’s finance sector.

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