MOUNT Isa-based artist Sonja Clark has had a painting selected to enter the prestigious Stanthorpe Art Festival held in late February.
In the hope of claiming more than $20,000 in prize money, 702 pieces were submitted from across the world, and Clark's painting Wandjina in the Rock was among the 145 pieces selected.
Clark, who paints under the name Sowila, was encouraged to enter the competition by the gallery manager, and chose a piece that she was particularly proud of.
``I paint from stones that I find, and that was the image in the centre of the stone, and it is my earth pieces,'' she said.
``They are all fine dots, it's all dot work, and I find that they are different and unique and I haven't seen any others like it.
``I don't want to be like anybody else.''
The location for the festival was especially significant, as Clark tells of her connection to Stanthorpe and surrounding area.
``Stanthorpe is where my Aboriginal family are, who I have never met,'' she said.
She discovered her Aboriginal heritage when she was a child and after some research, she found out she had aunts, cousins, and her biological father living in Stanthorpe.
``So for me to enter this comp, and for it to be in Stanthorpe, I thought `that's roots, that's where my grandmother was born' '', she said.
Having lived in Mount Isa for more than seven years, Clark has an impressive body of work recognised throughout the community including the city council's Art on Zinc project at Buchanan Park, Link-Up Queensland's Sustaining Connections exhibition in 2012, and the biennial Isa Arts competition and the Mount Isa Hospital art project in 2010.
She describes herself as a contemporary indigenous artist.
Clark works as an administrations officer, but dreams of returning to full-time artistry.
Clark's work can be viewed at www.sowila.com and at Saltwater gallery Port Douglas.
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