1. 'Spirit of the Sea' - Esther Quintal

    image

    "My painting is about how our old people only killed turtles for food.  They are born here on Cemetery Beach.  Our Pilbara turtles leave their nests and travel all around the world.  When breeding season comes, turtles that were born here in Cemetery Beach come back and lay their eggs in their homeland. 

    When I was growing up every home in Port Hedland had a turtle shell on their wall.  Turtles, which were killed for food, were shared between different families.  This was how we survived.  Turtle eggs were a luxury to get as they were used to cook cakes.   You can’t boil turtle eggs: you would have to use all the wood in Australia.  You have to swallow them as raw egg or as an ‘Egg Flip’ with a very strong smell.  Turtle eggs make beautiful fluffy cakes. 

    Old people only used spears to get a turtle.  To find turtle eggs, we used to walk along the beach poking a stick into the sand.  When the spear or stick came up wet, you knew you had struck a turtle nest.  When mother turtle lays her eggs, you see her crying.  Some people say it’s salt water coming through her eyes, but mother turtle is in pain laying all those eggs.

    When mother turtle leaves to go back to the sea her babies are left to fend for themselves.  So our Cemetery Beach turtles are truly the ‘spirit of the sea’.”  

    - Esther Quintal, September 2013. 

     
  2. New work by Maxie George

    image

    Here is a wonderful new landscape by Maxie George.  It’s notable among his portfolio for the absence of a single or dominant tree.  According to George, as a baby he was found abandoned under a tree and was raised by his discoverers.  A heavy leaved tree in the foreground is a recurring and consistent motif in his work, which makes this painting uncommon and rather mysterious.  George declined to elaborate on his brief shift in subject. 

    It’s available for viewing and purchase at the Courthouse Gallery in Port Hedland. 

     
  3. NEW STUDIOS!!

    image

    We are very excited to announce that the new Spinifex Artists studios have landed on site in South Hedland.   The 2.5 million dollar studios have been made possible through funding raised by FORM from BHP Billiton and the Federal Government’s Regional Development Australia Fund.  The new facilities will see a more inclusive site that aims to become a significant arts and cultural centre for the region.  Not only will the new development have a large painting studio exclusively for our group, but it will also include an auxiliary 3D studio for printmaking, photography, jewellery, sculpture and other mediums.   It is hoped the additional facility will also enable a sharper focus on public art which generates considerably better financial return to the artists.

    The transformation of the triangular block began in early September as the painting studio and caretaker’s residence, which were built by TR Homes just outside Perth, appeared on site.  The 3D studio will arrive in late October with local contractor RPS and Environmental Industries delivering the surrounding gardens from November through to January.   It’s expected that the studios will be fully-functional by the beginning of February 2014 with its opening to the public to follow soon after.

    image

    image

     
  4. NINDJI NINDJI 2013

    image

    We capped off a hectic weekend by having another market stall at the Nindji Nindji Festival in South Hedland.   Ann, Esther, Winnie, Max and Sonya came along to sit with the stall and we were very surprised and happy to see Maggie Green again after a few months in Derby.   It was a great opportunity to raise our profile in the community and invite new artists to join the group.  Thanks to Bloodwood Tree for organising such an excellent day.

    image

     
  5. August West End Markets

    image

    The time for West End Markets came around again and SHA held a stall in Glass Lane.  Six artists came down to meet and greet the public and everyone made a sale.  There is a good feeling in the group at the moment and the daily studio attendance is strengthening.  Everyone is very excited to have our new studio in January 2014.

    image

     
  6. Opening of Hedland Art Awards 2013

    image

    On the last Friday in August we all went to the Courthouse Gallery for the opening of the 2013 Hedland Art Awards.  The awards attracted more than 500 people from the Port Hedland community who celebrated the stunning talent from artists in the Kimberley, Pilbara, Mid West and Gascoyne regions.  Six SHA artists made it to the exhibition and most of our core group attended the night.  Irene Coffin was very happy to sell her painting within twenty minutes.  Our studio manager Greg Taylor won the award for the ‘Best Work in a Medium other than Painting’ and so very happily shouted the crew to a late dinner at Bruno’s Pizzeria.

    image

    image

    image

    image

    image

    image

    Photographs: Samantha Bell

     
  7. Esther Quintal – Six Mile Salt Ponds

    image

    Esther Quintal’s latest painting, Six Mile Salt Ponds, has been selected for the 2013 Hedland Art Awards.

    Since her recent return from ten weeks in Perth, Esther has been astounded by the rapid urban and industrial development in and around Hedland.  The 60 x 60 cm acrylic shows the salt ponds at Six Mile, located about halfway between Port and South Hedland.  Esther says that “the salt ponds are part of the changing landscape of Hedland.  It used to be our fishing grounds but now it’s private property.”

     
  8. Pretty Pool Excursion

    image

    To welcome founding member Esther Quintal back to the group we took a field trip to Pretty Pool, Port Hedland, for some plein air painting and a barbecue.  It was a breezy August day and Sonya, Esther, Winnie, Ann and Irene made the trip.  Each artists chose watercolour or pastels to capture the inlet and winding tributaries with some artists preferring to sketch and work later in the studio. 

    image

    Sonya Edney; Pretty Pool, watercolour, 2013.

    image

    Esther Quintal; Pretty Pool, pastel on paper, 2013.

     
  9. Hedland Art Award Entries 2013

    Much of the last two months were spent preparing for the Hedland Art Awards and six artists from Spinifex Hill were accepted for the exhibition.  Irene Coffin, Rupert Dickerson, Sonya Edney, Esther Quintal, Winnie Sampi and Valda Sesar were all pre-selected to hang in the gallery.  The awards run until December at the Courthouse Gallery.  We’ll be featuring a few of the entries on our blog over the next few weeks. 

    image

    Founding SHA member Irene Coffin has broken from her usual style to paint an aerial landscape of her country around Marble Bar.  The muted colours show the meeting point of two rivers.  Coffin said that “this is where the Coongan and the Talga Talga come together.  The Coongan is on the Hedland side and the Talga is on the Marble Bar side.  When I was little we went on the train from Port Hedland to Marble Bar.  The train line used to go along the bank of the Talga Talga.  We used to go fishing there when I was growing up.”

     
  10. Spinifex Spree 2013

    imageThe annual Spinifex Spree was held on July 26 and 27.  SHA held a stall on both days and it was a great chance to meet people and strengthen our profile in the community.  A big thanks to Sam Bell, heroic volunteer, who helped babysit the stall for a few hours to allow for a taxiing of artists to the event.  Irene, Ann and Sonya came down to mingle with the punters.  A big thanks to the Town of Port Hedland for organising such an excellent event.  

    Photographs:  (above) Irene Coffin with her sister;  (below) Greg Taylor, SHA studio manager, with a customer.image

     
  11. YOU CAN’T FISH HERE ANYMORE

    image

    Valda Sesar

    You Can’t Fish Here Anymore

    acrylic on canvas

    60 x 60cm

    2013

     
  12. A WET TUESDAY

    After some heavy Monday night rain we arrived to find our space more like a swimming pool than a studio.  Luckily there was no damage to any art and spirits were kept buoyant by a cup of tea and a hasty mop-up by the team.  After negotiating a few flooded roads in the Spinifex bus, we relocated to Port Hedland for the week. 

    image

     
  13. JUNE WORKSHOPS

    In late June we welcomed Perth-based artist Lucy Papalia for a two day watercolour workshop.  It was Lucy’s first visit to Hedland in over thirty years: needless to say she noticed a lot of changes!  Our artists benefited from her guidance and a couple of our artists have even abandoned the acrylics to experiment with new techniques learned from the workshop.

    Also visiting this month was Mary Stewart from Urban Art Projects along with SHA’s long-standing mentor Sara Barnes.  Both were here to collaborate with founding SHA member Winnie Sampi on a sculptural piece for the grounds of our new studio. This 3D work is a contemporary abstract representation of a Cockle shell endemic to the Pilbara region.  The Cockle shell was a common bush food for local aboriginal people and has been an inspirational design source in many of Winnie’s paintings.  The gently spiralling sculpture will be approximately 1.2 metres in diameter and 1 metre high.  It is designed to play with light and shadows and will age and weather to become part of the surrounding environment.  We are all very excited to see the new sculpture alongside the 3D studio to be completed in early 2014.

        image

     
  14. We are very happy to welcome Valda Sesar back to the group, she is doing some amazing work since an extended break from painting. This triptych is titled ‘Tidal Flats’.

     
  15. image: download

    Another lovely watercolour painted for BHP, by Irene Coffin.

    Another lovely watercolour painted for BHP, by Irene Coffin.