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Art Competition Judges 2018

What Matters Most During the Holiday Season Judges

Karen Benjamin

Last year’s winner: Overall Winner for ‘Dying For A Cuppa’

Karen Benjamin is an environmental artist living at Wellington Point, a bayside suburb in South East Queensland.  Karen’s art is constantly inspired by the diversity of fauna and flora surrounding the local area, but the perplexing

amount of rubbish and pollution produced by man has influenced Karen’s art to become a call to action to protect the environment.

Working with only natural and recycled materials Karen makes bold statements through her whimsical, thought provoking art.  Traditional crafts such as sewing, weaving, knitting and folk art feature in non-traditional mediums such as plastics, paper, textiles and seedpods.

In the past five years Karen has exhibited in over 50 exhibitions, has featured on national television, radio and numerous written publications.  Karen conducts regular upcycling workshops as her main aim is to tread lightly on the planet. Reduce, reuse, recycle!

instagram: karenbenjaminartist and opshopfashionistas


Sarah Richards

Sarah Richards is an Aboriginal woman with roots to central west NSW. Sarah is a self-taught artist but has had various Aboriginal artists share their techniques and insights with her to help improve her artistic talents. She is currently based just outside of the ACT and paints under the name Marrawuy Journeys. You can check out her latest pieces of artwork on Marrawuy Journey’s Facebook page.

Marrawuy in the language of her people, the Wongaibon people, means Red Kangaroo. For Sarah, this was the totem of one her ancestors but she also chose Marrawuy because kangaroos can’t jump backwards and this resonates strongly with Sarah because no matter what challenges she is thrown, she keeps moving forward. For many years Sarah has struggled with her desire to paint as she didn’t feel truly comfortable doing so. She has often been questioned about her Aboriginal heritage, the non-traditional colours of her paintings and lack of traditional stories. But her great grandmother was part of the Stolen Generation and was taken to Cootamundra Girls Home, so a lot of her mob’s cultural was not passed down to her.

However Sarah has made peace with her lack of traditional knowledge in recent years and instead, has chosen to move forward with telling her own stories, feeling and experiences in pieces of artwork. Sarah hopes that her artwork will inspire those when they view it.

Les Makai

Les began his art career at the age of 41 having never picked up a paintbrush. Les had always been too busy to pursue this interest, until he was diagnosed with Posterior Cortical Atrophy, a form of dementia.

Les finds art therapeutic. It allows him to get lost in time and to switch off from the everyday hassles of life. It also brings him great pleasure knowing that his art work brings joy to others.

Les enjoys painting in his own style, using high contrast, bold outlines and abstract colours to depict realistic and iconic images.

Les is 47 and resides in Canberra with his wonderful family.


See Connie's Story

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