Saturday, 25 August 2012

Artist Profile - Ivy Laidlaw

Ivy Laidlaw, a Pitjantjatjara artist, was born around 1945 at a rockhole called Walpapulka near Irrunytju. Her mother was ill and unable to care for her when she was a baby so Ivy and her sister spent much of their early childhood at the mission at Warburton. Ivy spent some time at school and learnt English, hymns and Bible stories. Ivy frequently went back to her country with her family where she learnt tjukurpa and how to survive in the desert. When she grew up Ivy worked in the mission bakery and clinic before returning to Irrunytjy where she married Patju Presley who she knew from childhood days in the mission. 


Ivy was a founding member of Irrunytju Arts and is a highly regarded sculpture, weaver and storyteller. As well as developing her own art practise and participating in exhibitions, Ivy worked at Irrunytju Arts supprting the cultural development program and bush trips. Ivy ran workshops and taught emerging artists how to weave, where to find organic material; and how to make dyes, resins and traditional medicines. Some of Ivy’s paintings depict important tjukurpa relating to women’s business which are carefully stored and only taken out to teach the young women. Other’s illustrate dramatic tjukurpa narratives, structed like fables with strong moral overtones.

In May 2013  Ivy Laidlaw (with Evonne Lewis and Cynthia Burke) was selected  to represent The Tjanpi Desert Weavers at "Fingers and Petals - The Handmade Flower Show". As well as their work being exhibited they were involved in running flower-making workshops over two days as part of the event.

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