Brigida and her husband Murray first came to Alice Springs in 1999 on their honeymoon, returning 3 years later from Melbourne having fallen for the relaxed lifestyle of the wide open spaces of the red centre, the blue sky and glorious weather as a place to raise their children.
Brigida studied Fine Arts and is now the Visual Arts lecturer at the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education located at the Desert Knowledge Australia precinct. It is here in their large studio and also on remote communities; along with her colleagues Sia Cox and Amanda McMillan that certificate courses in visual arts and contemporary crafts for indigenous adults are run. Brigida described some of the different collaborations between Batchelor and other Indigenous art centres that they has been involved in, including her current project collaborating with artist Peter Taylor and his friends from the Ngurratjuta Many Hands Art Centre on a mural deep in history and culture at the Alice Plaza in Alice Springs. The mural depicts the landscape of the well-known Heavitree ‘Gap’ as one heads south from Alice Springs.
Another similar collaboration is portraiture workshops with the artists from Tangentyere Artists. Brigida spoke how the self-portraits of the artists using texta pens allowed an intimate insight into the artists as they see themselves and their local environment.
Brigida spoke of her own creative pursuits as a sculptor working predominately with wire and metal and casting emotional imaginings of persons as figurines in a range of different materials from plaster to cement fondue and even fiberglass. She has recently been given a mig-welder by husband Murray, and is enthralled with the gentle sensitivity of this medium to create wire sculptures from a range of steel wires. In 2012, Brigida along with friend and colleague Amanda McMillan collaborated on the ‘Metal Meets Mud’ exhibition held at the Watch This Space Gallery in Alice Springs. Bringing their own pieces and then together creating an eclectic exhibition of ceramic and metal pieces; perfectly balancing the lightness and strength of both materials.
Inspired after a winter time visit to Melbourne, Brigida is working towards another exhibition where she will cast sculptures in plaster of the people who are most dear, and part of her life.
And as an example of her love for all aspects of art in our community, Brigida is one of the judges in the up-coming Advocate Art Award – a community driven award for our unique arts community here in Alice Springs.
Jen Standish-White talks with Brigida Stewart, a wife, a mother and in between, an inspiring woman of many creative talents.
Broadcast: Tuesday 22 July 2014 at 12 noon on 8CCC Community Radio 102.1FM
Producer and Presenter: Jen Standish-White