After 12 years away from Western Australia, Rockingham-based artist, Sylvia Huege de Serville has returned from New Zealand as a new-comer to the Perth art scene. For the past decade she has exhibited her work professionally through-out New Zealand where she was known as a 'Pacific Rim' artist.
Basing her art around the indigenous cultures in the Pacific, her colourful paintings and striking graphite works led her to French Polynesia in 1994. There she spent time gathering resource material for a series of Polynesian works, painted later in her New Zealand studio on the small coastal island of Waiheke.
Much of her Indigenous Pacific art was also gathered from the local Maori community, and was influenced by her Maori husband and children.
A large Maori -inspired work was the winner of the Prestigeous NewZealand Mainland Art Award in 1999 and another ethnic painting of hers is part of Salt Lake City Museum of Art and History's private collection.
Whilst living in Perth 15 years ago, she discovered that her Great Grandmother, thought to be Spanish, was, in fact, Aboriginal. This revelation later led Sylvia on a quest to discover more about her own roots, which in turn saw her art take a whole new direction.
The first of her powerful, Aboriginal works in graphite (a statement on the Australian Government's hesitancy to say 'Sorry' won first place in a New Zealand Art competition 18 months ago, becoming the catalyst for her 'Eyes of a Nation' series, to be exhibited in Subiaco this month.
Spurred on by her Great Grandmother's Indigenous links to Australia and using ideas inspired by her political cartoonist father, Sylvia's exhibition is a social comment on the Australian Indigenous situation as she sees it or as it could be viewed through 'the eyes of an Aboriginal nation'.
One drawing entitled 'Displaced Person' depicts her Great Grandmother who was raised in New Zealand without any contact with her Aboriginal culture .She stands knee-deep in a flower garden,in her suburban Wellington backyard, sipping her cup of tea. In the background, washing flaps in breeze whilst aboriginal images swirl about her,an unspoken reminder of this 'displaced person's' heritage.
Showing for three weeks, 'The Eyes of a Nation' opens on March 9 at Indigenart, in Subiaco.