Childhood travels to the outback mining regions provided a foundation stone for the career of respected Crow’s Nest artist Tina Cherry.

As a youngster she accompanied her father Ted, a drilling supervisor with the Canberra-based Bureau of Mineral Resources, to outback places in Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

“My Dad, mother Paulette, my sister Sue-Ann and I would go away from six to nine months at a time to remote areas,” Tina says.
“We’d camp and I would play in the bush exploring things while Dad did his work. It was to become a massive influence on my life. I loved what we were doing and later I struggled at school because it just didn’t feel natural being in a classroom.”

As Tina was entering her teenage years, she began developing her artistic skills, following the lead of her father who had painted portraits in his earlier days.

Although her work had been shown in Canberra, her practice only began to flourish

following a move into the Toowoomba region in 1998.

Three years later, Tina began a Visual Arts course at the Southern Queensland Institute of TAFE only to lose focus following the death of her mother in September 2001. However, her enthusiasm and sense of purpose were restored as she immersed herself in the Toowoomba arts scene. “The arts community of Toowoomba is just brilliant and everyone is strongly supportive of each other, which is great,” she says. “It has been like finding the community of my dreams.”

After receiving her TAFE diploma, Tina commenced a Bachelor of Visual Arts at the University of Southern Queensland. She is currently mid-way through another online course, a Bachelor of Sustainability at the University of New England.

While Tina paints, in acrylics and oils, etches and sculpts, her primary focus in the studio on her five hectare property is on graphite drawings. “Mainly I have pursued an art practice exploring nature, environmental concerns and social ecology,” she says. “It

was only years after my early experiences in the wilderness that I came to understand that the mineral surveys conducted by the BMR would result in a mining boom across much of the country. This led directly to me becoming an ecological artist. Now I endeavour to integrate into my art practice the importance of ecological diversity and the safeguarding of finite resources and eco systems. My aim is for people to recognise what is missing and to be reminded of the value of what is being lost environmentally.”

Significantly, Tina’s travelling exhibition, Toll, which is exquisitely drawn, was described by reporter Sandy Pottinger as being a “beautiful and moving plea to touch the earth gently”.

Last year her work, Train of thought; Keep the coal contained, was chosen for the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery’s Crates on Wheels exhibition currently touring the region’s schools.

Tina’s valued standing in the arts community has been further acknowledged by the gallery’s purchase of Blackout: Flying Fox from her latest solo exhibition, Little Matters.

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