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