Family discovery uncovers Eyes of a Nation

HISTORY is a provocative theme for many artists however for Sylvia Huege de Serville exploring the past is a way of connecting with the present and understanding an ancient culture.

Sylvia Huege de Serville is a relative newcomer to the local art scene after spending 12 years in New Zealand where she worked as a Pacific Rim artist.

However it was while she was living in Perth 15 years ago that Ms Huege de Serville uncovered her own Aboriginal heritage.

The discovery that her Spanish great grandmother was in fact Aboriginal has taken the artist on a journey of self-discovery and this is graphically illustrated in the fine graphite works that form the Eyes of a Nation collection on show at Indigenart.

“My great grandmother hid the fact she was Aboriginal,” Ms Huege de Serville said.

“When I arrived at the discovery that I was Aboriginal it set me off on a quest.”

The striking fine graphite works fit more comfortably into a graphic design aesthetic than a traditional fine arts composition.

The tight layouts and use of strong horizontal lines, text and traditional Aboriginal motifs speak more directly to a population accustomed to the constant barrage of advertising images.

“I’ve always had a leaning towards anything indigenous right down to my Maori husband,” Ms Huege de Serville said.

“But certain members of the family weren’t so thrilled, I was quite delighted but I didn’t do anything about it until about four years ago.”

“When I arrived at

the discovery I was Aboriginal it set me off on a quest.”

- Sylvia Huege de Serville

Ms Huege de Serville travelled into the outback with her partner to meet Aboriginal people and “rub shoulders” with their culture.

This experience led her to produce works with a powerful political statement underpinned by the warmth and dignity of the aboriginal people.

“ My father was a political cartoonist and his work was about making a social comment and that’s carried into my work,” Ms Huege de Serville said.

The figures in Ms Huege de Serville’s work have a warmth that she claims is often absent from political art.

“ I find a lot of political art cold and unfeeling and because of this I think I’m a worry to the art world because they don’t know where to slot me.”

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