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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Krystal’s eyes on the prize

Local jewellery maker and artist Krystal Hurst has created a work that’s been nominated for the prestigious Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA).

Hurst, a Worimi woman hailing from the NSW North Coast, has resided in Canberra for the past 10 years.

She describes her nominated artwork as a necklace jewellery piece made from echidna quills cast in wax.

“With that piece I wanted to represent resilience and the resilience of our people, and also it’s a representation of adapting to different mediums,” Hurst says.

“I really wanted to have a strong necklace to represent that … The tiny beads that are in between the quills represent wattle seeds.

“What we know about wattle seeds and wattle trees is that after a big fire, a lot of the wattles come back first in that environment, so they are the embodiment of resilience.”

Hurst says it’s long been a dream of hers to make the NATSIAA finals.

“I was pretty stoked to be accepted as one of the finalists out of the 280 submissions; I’m one of 68 finalists chosen from around the country,” she says.

“I’ve got a lot of weight on my shoulders to represent the ACT.”

Hurst says making her nominated artwork was only made possible by being able to attend an Indigenous jewellery artwork workshop funded by Craft ACT.

“It’s really cool that there are these organisations out there that are recognising that Indigenous jewellery making is really important, and asking how we build that capacity for different artists to be able to explore different mediums,” she says.

Hurst praises the local arts community and says she’s found it very supportive.

“At times it can be very lonely because you’re focused on completing your work and running a business.

“But it’s really great when these opportunities come up, like getting to do workshops, and to be a part of an Indigenous art group run by Jenny Martiniello,” she says.

Hurst will fly to Darwin later in the year to attend the awards ceremony at the Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory (MAGNT) on 9 August, where the prize winning works will be announced.

Her piece, along with the 67 other finalists, will be displayed at MAGNT from 10 August to 3 November.

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