Island to Inland

16. 11. 2016

It’s personal

For Kenita Williamson her art has always been integral to her life. From making animals in her room as a young girl, to being an art teacher, to pouring her heart and soul into her free-ranging pieces for Island to Inland, art is healing and strengthening.

Not that she wants to tell those who view her work about her particular story. She wants each to find their own story in her work.

In fact, she’s so willing to give up ‘ownership’ that she wants to let the curators at each gallery the exhibition visits set them up in their own way, choosing the shapes and flows. The local curator’s life and experience can become part of the work.


Kenita’s work emerges from the many Kangaroo Island landscapes – the natural environment and the agricultural lands.

She uses surplus and discarded materials that serve a purpose for a short time. The baling twine that forms the backbone of her pieces (and, conveniently, is colour coded for strength) can pile up on farms until there’s enough to make the trip to landfill. Being plastic, it never breaks down.

‘I could buy materials but there are so many materials sitting around,’ she said.

‘I am really concerned with the state of our world, with climate change and with waste. We throw away so much.

‘I want to challenge people to look at a waste material and see what they can do with it.’

Kenita is ‘upcycling’ discarded baling twine and waste wool to make stories of emotion and beauty. The twine she untangles into single strands, blanket stitches and sews together to make the shape. The wool she spins, dyes, felts and cross-stitches.

She’s also upcycling her life.

‘I felt this project was giving me an opportunity to pull everything together.

‘This is my landscape, the environment, which I relate to at an emotional level.’

Kenita said that her art is both literal – in the swirls of ploughed fields and of dams, and the baskets – and representative – with her own life and relationship with the world woven into the work.


The three pieces that form the work all relate to one another. Each layers thoughts and feelings; each adding layers to the others.

‘I’ve got the black holes that go down and it seems like you are never going to come out. And then you reach safety, a pocket where you regroup. And then it can gradually all unravel again.

The first is a tangle of thoughts; the second has a hollow central core, a strength that’s not overwhelming; and the third stands on its own with hope, and freedom and flexibility.

‘I can now take risks, as in this work using art as a channel for my life.’


Kathie Stove

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SALA Festival 2017


Artist Residency


Country Arts SA & Flinders University Art Museum


Flinders University City Gallery

About the Artist

Kathie Stove

Kathie Stove is a Kangaroo Island writer and editor, and advocate for the arts and nature. She was one of the initiators of this project along with CASA Visual Arts Coordinator Eleanor Scicchitano and Art Gallery of South Australia Assistant Director, Artistic Programs, Lisa Slade. For seven years until 2013, Kathie wrote a monthly arts page for the Kangaroo Island newspaper, The Islander, and has published a book profiling 27 island artists, Artists of The Art Part. She blogs on nature and art from Kangaroo Island and beyond.

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Country Arts SA recognises and respects that we are living and creating on Aboriginal Lands and we are committed to working together to honour their living cultures.