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Jan 11, 2022
Underlying themes of caring and wellbeing are constant in Tina McKenzie’s art as she draws on her experience as a CFS volunteer and hospital worker but it’s a deeply personal story that has caught the judges’ eye in the inaugural Centre for Creative Health Art Prize.
Tina, a visual arts student at TAFE SA and Flinders University, has been awarded the Veteran and Emergency First Responder Prize of $5000 for her ceramic artwork, Replacement Mother Figures, inspired by her “complicated relationship” with her mother.
Tina, who also has a Bachelor of Paramedic Science, says her Kangarilla CFS team encouraged her to enter the award category which was open to current or former veterans or emergency first responders and had a theme of ‘healing’.
She decided to enter a ceramic artwork featuring six figurines that she created during a summer school at TAFE SA in 2020.
“I’d just returned from a holiday in New Zealand when I did the summer school, and I was feeling relaxed and ready to address some of the issues that I was holding onto from the past,” Tina says.
“The brief was to create a set of figurines with a narrative behind it. These figurines speak of pride and femininity, strength, and body positivity – they are representations of the affirmation and positivity that was not present for me as a child.”
Tina says it was a cathartic process to make the figurines and she was overwhelmed to win the award, sponsored by Dr Helen McLean AM in memory of her father who was a veteran.
In her final semester of the Bachelor of Creative Arts (Visual Arts), offered by TAFE SA and Flinders University, Tina is majoring in printmaking and is currently working on her graduate exhibition piece.
“It’s a mixed media installation using light and incorporating drawing and printmaking,” Tina says.
“I’m really keen to explore themes of belonging and the idea of home from as many perspectives as possible.”
Returning to study as a mature-age student, Tina says the visual arts course has encouraged her curiosity and love of research.
“It’s highlighted to me how important the process is, the researching, writing and thinking about a topic is as important as the making,” she says.
The Centre for Creative Health Art Prize finalist exhibition is at Light Square Gallery, Adelaide College of the Arts, until 22 October. There are 40 artworks on display and visitors are encouraged to vote f
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