Issue 9
Monday, 05 November 2018
Charles Darwin University
Dr Al Strangeways with her winning portrait
Dr Al Strangeways with her winning portrait "Hills: Kathleen Wallace and the Dancers"

Win for artist’s portrait of senior painter

By Patrick Nelson

Multiple prize-winning artist Dr Al Strangeways has won her fourth Portrait of a Senior Territorian Acquisition award, this time with a painting of an elder from Central Australia’s Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa) community.

The oil-on-canvas work depicts eastern Arrernte artist Kathleen Wallace at work on a painting of her own; a landscape that has been replicated in the background of the portrait.

“I had wanted to paint Kathleen for a long time,” said Dr Strangeways, who combines her professional pursuits as CDU’s Alice Springs-based Senior Lecturer in Education with her passion for portraiture.

“We’ve worked together on several projects recently; she’s an educator and an internationally respected painter in her own right and a person who I have a huge amount of respect for.”

Dr Strangeways said she had a particular fondness for the portrait award, which recognises and values the contribution of senior Territorians.

“Kathleen is in her 70s and still working as hard as ever. She’s a teacher, artist and cultural custodian who continues to fulfil her strong sense of responsibility for ensuring Arrernte knowledge is passed on.”

One in a series of three, the winning painting is titled Hills: Kathleen Wallace and the Dancers.

Dr Strangeways said she was fortunate to be able to connect her arts-based practice with her work.

“In teaching and researching I facilitate arts-based workshops, gather data using arts-based approaches and create art as part of my academic papers.”

This was Dr Strangeways’ second notable art prize for the year. Earlier, her painting of a camel won the “Faces” category at the Advocate Art Award, another competition in which she has achieved multiple successes over the past decade.

Dr Strangeways has recently completed the official portrait of former Chief Minister Adam Giles and will soon begin work on the official portrait of CDU Vice-Chancellor Professor Simon Maddocks.