Emerging artists showcase their brilliance

mySouthPerth Magazine | BIRAK 4 December 2023

Technical excellence

Zali Morgan spent four years mastering the intensive art of reduction linocut. Her efforts paid off when she won this year’s Emerging Artist Award with her work ‘Birthing Site’.

The complex technique involves cutting away at a single block of linoleum to print a piece layer by layer.

“Everything needs to be exactly right – and so many factors can disrupt it,” Zali says. “You can put the paper down the wrong way, the press can be too tight, or you might not use enough ink.”

“And, of course, once you cut something out of the lino block, you can’t put it back in.”

Luckily, her artistic persistence paid off, revealing an arresting depiction of the Old Swan Brewery site at Kings Park, a historical birthing place for Noongar women.

“This piece is part of a larger body of work that interrogates colonial notions of place through a First Nations perspective,” Zali, a Whadjuk Ballardong and Wilman Noongar woman now living in Como, says “So many people probably drive by and don’t know that it’s a sacred site.”

Zali’s work was acquired by the City and is available to view in the South Perth Library.

A pleasant surprise

Loren Retta says she is not quite sure how to be an artist, but her whimsical portraits and growing list of accolades say otherwise.

For the Young Artist Award winner, her journey with the City of South Perth 2023 Emerging Artist Awards was one of many surprises.

“I didn’t think I’d get in – and I did. And then I didn’t think I’d win anything – and I did,” Loren says. Her winning entry ‘A World Away’ is all about the unexpected. Her dual oil paintings explore the interplay between dream and reality to create strange and wonderful compositions.

Loren began her artistic journey at the age of six, when her sister gave her a visual diary and drawing lessons. A decade later in high school, her self-proclaimed ‘hobby’ saw her feature in the Year 12 Perspective Exhibition – and even secured her a commission from her high school.

Today, the 19-year-old is busy studying pharmacy at Curtin University but says her upcoming holiday break will be the perfect chance to try her hand at some new techniques.

“I’ll be doing a lot of art in that time,” she says. “I might even try my hand at lino print after seeing Zali’s winning work.”