After the excitement of the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF), we had the absolute pleasure of talking with Andrea Wicking, Event Strategist at Salty Plum Events. We met Andrea at our CIAF fair booth as she was eager to see Teho Ropeyarn’s new work and had just the spot to place This one Cape York Lily flower, 2022 in her new home.
Read on to learn about Wicking’s connection with her new work, and her passion for collecting art she and her husband adore!
What drew you to purchasing This one Cape York Lily flower by Teho Ropeyarn?
After 40 years in the Northern Territory, my husband and I have recently relocated to Cairns.
This was my first visit to CIAF (after hearing so much about it previously). We were spoiled in Darwin by the quality and variety of work on show at the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair.
Attending CIAF is a whole other level. There is maturity and evolution in the Indigenous art displayed, without losing the relevance and meaning of the stories from the land and from ancestors.
The Indigenous art is sophisticated, while still providing a sense of awe. The art on display continues to be linked to country, portrays culture and at times, thought provoking.
I have always been drawn to printed works and lino prints. Beauty is often in the simplest of designs.
As for Teho’s work… I loved each and every piece for different reasons.
I knew instantly when I saw a preview of one of Teho’s new works on Kath Melbourne’s Instagram page, that one, I definitely had to go to CIAF to see this collection; and two, I was hoping I had wall space and could afford one of his pieces.
As for what attracted me to This one Cape York Lily flower – there is nothing complicated in this for me, it is the: simplicity of the design; that it is a piece that signifies I have moved to a new home, a new land; it is floral; that it is a print with clean lines; the work is in greens and pink, colours I love; it fits perfectly on the last piece of wall space I had; and it brings me joy each time I look at it.
There were so many beautiful pieces on show at CIAF, but Teho’s work, alongside that of Tamika Grant-Iarmu, were the standouts for me, personally.
When did you realise that your artwork purchases had turned into an actual collection? Did anything change for you after this?
The first piece of art I was given was a Mathias Kauage painting in 1975, by my dad whilst we were living in Papua New Guinea. It is still with me and by far one of my absolute favourite pieces.
My first art purchase as a ‘grown up’ was not until 1990, a piece by NT artist Meng Holsche. I was working in the performing arts sector, dabbling in the visual arts, and I was hooked.
I don’t think we have a collection as such, but an eclectic mix of pieces displayed in our home that bring us joy each day.
Pieces have been purchased on travels; as anniversary gifts; as mementos of our time in the Territory; and with no intent of creating an art collection.
Unfortunately, we have run out of wall space and we have pieces that are in the cupboard awaiting rotation.
What things are important to you when buying a work of art for your collection?
First and foremost, we both must love the piece. We had a piece of art I bought in honour of a significant career milestone that hung in our lounge for years, it wasn’t until we were moving that my husband told me he never liked it! I took the opportunity then to assess what we had, and sell those we weren’t so attached to.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and we know what we like.
We have learnt over the years, especially when travelling, if we like a piece we must get it there and then. There have been several occasions we have missed out due to being hesitant, for whatever reason.
Despite running out of wall space, I do not think it will stop me from buying art.