FROM the searing heat and red dirt of the Kimberley’s 40-plus temperatures, to 35-minus and deep snow in Mongolia, Kimberley Kohan really has suffered for her art.
“We travelled 350km through the Gobi Desert in mid-winter,” the North Fremantle local tells the Voice.
Coupled with the killing cold, and her job with a mining company, there was little time to stop and take in the scenery but with an artist’s finely honed observation she has created stunning, bleak landscapes for an exhibition with long-time friend and fellow artist Nadeen Lovell.
“My reference was through the window of the vehicle. You have to focus and remember what you can,” Kohan says.
Lovell isn’t far behind in the adventurous art stakes having sampled both Madagascan jungles and being surrounded by curious penguins pecking her feet in the Antarctic.
“The wonderful thing about art is it makes your life colourful,” Lovell says.
“You are looking for soft adventure and often you end up with a hard adventure.”
‘The wonderful thing about art is it makes your life colourful’
Kohan met Lovell in the Kimberley almost 20 years ago and the title of the exhibition Kimberley and Beyond plays on a friendship built on art and a joint love of the remote area.
“Kimberley and I met because of the Kimberley and through art, but we have gone beyond that,” Lovell says.
Fifty-four of their works will be on display at the Perth Convention Centre, inspired by windswept Mongolian plains, Antarctic icebergs and the tropical mystery of Madagascar, but mostly depicting the rugged majesty of WA’s stunning north west.
The contrast and similarities of the different countries led to a “special understanding of these remote, inspiring locations”, the pair says. Twenty-five years ago Lovell dropped into Kununurra for a three-week holiday, and has been there ever since, becoming the area’s first female tour guide in her search to discover more of its beauty.
Kohan turned art from a hobby to a career after she too visited the Kununurra for a short stint and ended up staying for 11 years—four of them studying art under Lovell’s tutelage.
“I had thought about teaching, but Kimberley twisted my arm until it broke…and I started the Kimberley Art School,” Lovell says.
The Kimberley and Beyond is on at the Perth Convention Centre, October 3–12, open daily 9am–5pm. Entry free.
by JENNY D’ANGER