Written By: Paris Rose
The Cocos Keeling Art Galleries are well known for their beautiful, rich and colorful works of art. Much of the art displayed in the art galleries of the Cocos Keeling Islands are reminiscent of both the culture and lifestyle of the people native to the island.
Well known for building an art gallery from an old barge, Emma Washer is perhaps also known as the artists that creates works of art from the refuse that washes ashore. Vivid in color, texture and creativity, Emma Washer has creations gracing the walls of the Big Barge Art gallery that are incredible pieces of art crafted almost entirely from what many would consider “trash.” Her art is not limited to the paint brush; Ms. Washer also crafts beautiful jewelry from what washes ashore as well. The Big Barge Art Centre is not only a place to go and look at beautiful art, but also a place to create some of your own. Art classes and studio time are also offered at the Big Barge Art Centre. It is also entirely possible to speak directly to the artists who have created many of the works of art on display. The Big Barge Art Centre became a reality in 2009 and has since continued to be a “must see” gallery for tourists and natives alike.
Karen Willshaw, artist of marine and island life, uses her art to capture the many animals native to the Indian Ocean. Her art conveys the powerful and sometimes destructive relationships between animals, people and the Cocos Keeling Island weather. The combination of the sometimes incredibly destructive storms and mankind are often a focal point in her art work. She often is inspired to create her works of art based upon the Cocos Keeling Island landscapes, nature and sea life. Much of her work is done in acrylic as well. Karen Willshaw’s Art Gallery showcases both her talent and gives the viewer a snapshot of the incredible myriad of animals, nature and people that make up the Cocos Keeling Islands. Although most of her art work centers around the natural aspects of the Cocos Keeling Island, she also is fond of creating works of art that celebrate marriage. She captures the beauty of the Cocos Keeling Islands behind the lens as well as with a paint brush.
Painter of life, that’s what Cara Ratajcsak is known for creating when she constructs an inspired piece art. She is inspired by the ebb and flow of the oceans currents and how they mimic the life of the island dwellers of the Cocos Keeling Islands. “Art Adrift,” was created with this concept in mind. Using articles washed ashore from Lombok, Java, Sumatra and Sulaweski, Cara Ratajczak created a reflective piece of work using these sunwashed, ocean worn articles representative of the native island people.
Every artist has a muse. The artists of the Cocos Keeling Islands create pieces of art that reflect their inspiration and respect for the Cocos Keeling Islands and the many things that reflect the culture of this unique and beautiful island.