Change: Old ways won’t open new doors

Tyler Sillery-Maxwell the 2017 ASG Indigenous Art awardTyler and Nicole on stage

An intricate mosaic of two separate identities, drawn in lead pencil and biro ink, has won Year 11 student, Tyler Sillery-Maxwell the 2017 ASG Indigenous Art award.

Tyler uses drawing to express his emotions, passions, loyalty and creativity. He says it’s also a great way to meet new people.

With a mother of Aboriginal descent and an Australian father, Tyler balances his school work with a passion for drawing and stop-motion animation.

He says, “The artwork represents me, and the changes in place, people and feelings towards me, that have occurred throughout my life.”

He describes it as a self-portrait, illustrating a clear distinction of environments—the country on the right, to the city on the left.

“I spent most of my younger years in Kununurra, a small country town eight hours from Darwin, building long-lasting friendships and discovering myself as an artist in among the bright colours, warm feelings and amazing scenery of the surrounding landscape,” he says. “I now live a short walk from the beach in Geraldton.

The artwork contrasts the bright tonal reds of Tyler’s home town showing his passion and love for the country of his younger years, to his new coastal city life.

“The Geraldton beach is conveyed through the wave over the left shoulder,” he says. “The fine line dividing the face shows a difference in self from a young boy to a young adult. The right side represents the freedom I had as a child. On the left, the face is actually a mask.

.“The individual colours seen in the left background depict how different people have influenced me, while the buildings illustrate possible futures.”

The reds and yellows used in the foreground were toned down using tea bags. (An idea that came from nowhere).

He says, “The piece focuses on some identities and very different personalities I have met in my life, along with the unique beliefs of others.

Tyler claims to have been inspired by authors and artists from the Children’s Charity Network, Kevin Burgermeister, Mark McBride and Den Scheer.

Titled ‘Change’, Tyler’s art was an end-of-year piece for his ATAR course.

Tyler always wanted to join Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAPA) as a creative props builder, “but as this is very competitive field I have decided to go to university and study criminology.”