Ghost town comes to life for art show

Caitlyn WattsPilbara News
Peter Long, Allery Sandy, Duncan Ord and Ivan Vella.
Camera IconPeter Long, Allery Sandy, Duncan Ord and Ivan Vella. Credit: Caitlyn Watts/Pilbara News/Caitlyn Watts

The bare stone walls of a Pilbara ghost town were transformed by colour and texture when one of the region’s biggest annual arts events opened on Saturday night.

The launch of the 28th Cossack Art Awards drew a big crowd to the usually empty town to admire 150 artworks submitted by artists from across the Pilbara in what was Australia’s first significant art event since COVID-19.

The award night’s biggest winner was Roebourne artist Allery Sandy who won the $15,000 prize for overall best work with her painting Marni.

Ms Sandy, who started painting in 2006, said the piece was inspired by the country from above, in particular the yellow wattle.

“I feel overwhelmed. I wasn’t expecting it. I think I have been patient and it’s worth it,” she said.

“Aerial painting is in my heart, it always has been. That’s my main thing that I love doing. I guess every year I look at the land, at what’s in season — and I saw yellow wattle.”

Simona Krstic, Janice Sandy, Nicholas Werrett, Corban Clause Williams and Jenni Hurley won their categories.

Winner of the North West flora and fauna category Janice Sandy was happy about what she had achieved.

“I had a lot of bad experiences in my life, I had to turn it into something good so I turned it into painting. All the feelings and emotions I went through I turn it into art.”

Emerging Young Artist winner Simona Krstic,16, was also proud of herself.

“It was mostly just a piece of self expression and putting myself out there in the form of painting,” she said.

City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long said it was fantastic the award was able to go ahead given the difficult start to the year because of COVID-19.

“I love the art, I think it’s great in this venue. It highlights Cossack and brings so many people from outside Karratha in. It shows off what we have got here and broadens people’s knowledge of the area,” he said.

“There are just so many people that have so much talent ... it gives them a forum to be able to show their work, which is just excellent.”

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