Issue 3
Monday, 13 March 2017
Charles Darwin University
E-news
Iain Campbell’s “Self-portrait in office” (left, portion of work, 1991) and the portrait “Iain Campbell” (2013) by art lecturer Henry Smith
Iain Campbell’s “Self-portrait in office” (left, portion of work, 1991) and the portrait “Iain Campbell” (2013) by art lecturer Henry Smith

Alice celebrates life of passionate art

By Patrick Nelson

A memorial gathering to celebrate the life of a renowned Central Australian artist with strong links to Charles Darwin University was held in Alice Springs recently.

Iain Campbell, an award winning painter whose art captured the warm light and mischievous twinkle of modern Alice Springs, passed away last month after battling cancer. He was 78.

Visual arts lecturer Henry Smith remembers Iain “as the head of the department who gave me my job” in 1996.

“He always had full classes and was well loved by his students,” Mr Smith said.

“Many people in Alice Springs aged between 50 and 70 years of age will have fond memories of Iain as their art teacher.”

Mr Smith said Iain taught certificate and recreational courses and instigated a degree course in fine arts, which ran for about a decade.

The Scottish-born and raised artist studied at the Glasgow School of Fine Arts before working in Cyprus for five years. He taught at Gunnedah High School (NSW) before moving to the Red Centre in 1975 where he was head of the art faculty for most of his seven years at Alice Springs High School. In 1982 he was appointed to implement the new applied and creative certificate course at the Community College of Central Australia, a forerunner to today’s School of Creative Arts and Humanities at CDU.

The twice winner of the NT Art Award (1988, 1994) was a highly regarded portrait painter whose other specialty, the suburban vista, was characterised by his unique spatial dynamic and an economy of touch with the brush.

Mr Smith said Iain retired about 15 years ago, but maintained strong links with the department for many years.

“This was his baby. He came back to teach some painting. I suppose he couldn’t let go.”