In­tri­cate piece wins in pres­ti­gious art prize

Kalgoorlie Miner - - NEWS - John Ely

Wo­ven to­gether from na­tive grasses, raf­fia, string and wool, a 2m life­size lizard has won its Gold­fields cre­ator $30,000 in the Hed­land Art Awards.

Dal­las Smythe from the Warakurna com­mu­nity in the north­ern Gold­fields cre­ated the art piece My Coun­try based on Aus­tralia’s largest lizard, the per­en­tie.

The in­tri­cate art piece took out the Most Out­stand­ing Work in the pres­ti­gious Hed­land Art Awards.

A mem­ber of the Tjanpi Desert Weavers, Smythe said she had been shocked at the news.

“Ev­ery­one in the com­mu­nity was re­ally happy, shak­ing my hand, say­ing ‘con­grat­u­la­tions Dal­las’,” she said.

Hav­ing learned her weav­ing skills from her grand­mother, one of Smythe’s first acts af­ter win­ning the prize was to thank her.

“I’m happy that my grand­mother teached me to do weav­ing — Nora Hol­land, now she’s in a nurs­ing home in Kal­go­or­lie,” she said.

“I was re­ally happy, I called my nanna and said, thank you nanna for teach­ing me Tjanpi weav­ing.”

The 30-year-old artists said she got the in­spi­ra­tion to cre­ate My Coun­try from the con­nec­tion she and her fam­ily had with the per­en­tie.

“I have been hunt­ing the ngirn­taka (per­en­tie) for a long time, I learnt from my grand­mother, and when we go out bush my hus­band teaches my son,” Smythe said.

“Not far from my sis­ter’s birth place at Giles Creek, there is a wa­ter­hole where the ngirn­taka tells a story of how he turned into a wa­ter snake; this story has been passed down from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion and keeps me con­nected to my coun­try.”

The mother of one is now look­ing to buy her son a mo­tor­bike.

A spokes­woman from the Tjanpi Desert Weavers con­grat­u­lated Smythe on her award-win­ning pieced and said although she was a rel­a­tive new­comer to the art form she was rapidly forg­ing a rep­u­ta­tion for ex­cel­lence.

Pic­ture: Louise White

Steph Open­shaw is hand­ing over the reigns to the Palace Theatre af­ter more than a decade.

Dal­las Smythe’s art piece My Coun­try won in the Hed­land Art Awards.

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