Ivy tagged great­est idiot

Central Leader - - News - By Jo­ce­lyn Rein

The coun­try’s great­est idiot has been found, but there’s noth­ing id­i­otic about her.

Ivy Smith was nom­i­nated by friends as a con­tender for the role as part of a com­pe­ti­tion be­ing run by two Rus­sian artists in res­i­dence at Unitec.

Their mis­sion was to find the coun­try’s great­est idiot, but not in the tra­di­tional sense of the word.

In­stead, their in­ter­pre­ta­tion of an idiot is based on a love­able Rus­sian book char­ac­ter, Prince Myshkin, renowned for his com­pas­sion and self­less­ness.

And Ivy cer­tainly fits the mould.

The San­dring­ham mother of three spends her days and nights work­ing with at-risk youth.

Her house, she says, has be­come a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week “non­stop shop” for chil­dren seek­ing help or ad­vice.

Hav­ing suf­fered sex­ual, men­tal and phys­i­cal abuse since the age of five, Ivy says she al­ways knew she wanted to work with peo­ple.

“I never want an­other young per­son to go through what I went through.”

Her work th­ese days in­volves about 30 per­cent paid con­tract work and the rest is vol­un­tary.

“I work with the un­der-the-radar world. Where no one sees them or wants to work with them.”

She says some days her work may in­volve walk­ing into a gang pad and re­mov­ing a child from a risky sit­u­a­tion.

Be­ing se­lected as the great­est idiot, Ivy says, hap­pened in a bit of a whirl­wind.

She was con­tacted one morn­ing and told she had to go into Unitec for an in­ter­view with Rus­sian artists Gluklya Per­shina and Ts­aplya Egorova the same day.

The pair had nar­rowed the con­tenders for the great­est idiot down to a short­list of five af- ter re­ceiv­ing about 30 nom­i­na­tions from all over the coun­try.

Gluklya says the ti­tle of great­est idiot is meant as a com­pli­ment.

“It’s a hero, or some­one who wants to change so­ci­ety.”

The Rus­sians, who work as sit­u­a­tion­ist artists in St Peters­burg, worked with 10 Unitec arts grad­u­ates to choose the win­ner.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Quest for com­pas­sion: Vis­it­ing Rus­sian artists Ts­aplya Egorova, left, and Gluklya Per­shina have found the coun­try’s kind­est fool.

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