Karla Dickens


Karla Dickens, Wiradjuri painter, was born in Sydney in 1967. Karla began creating art at high school in Life Drawing classes where the female form was her main subject matter. She began her formal training as an artist when she enrolled at the National Art School in Darlinghurst, Sydney in 1991 where she obtained a Fine Arts Diploma in 1993 and a Bachelor in Fine Arts in 2000.

After moving to Wollombi in the Hunter Valley in 1995, Karla says her work became “more detailed with a stronger Indigenous feel.” She also says that her work at this time was finding “more acceptance with my sexuality”. Following the death of a close friend in 1997, crosses began appearing as motifs within her paintings and in 2000 Karla began employing text into her work. Her work in 2003 changed dramatically when Karla began beading painted canvasses, a strong contrast of fresh mark making and fine textured detail.

Karla has shown in many solo and group exhibitions including The Art of Place at Old Parliament House, Canberra in 1998, Co-Existence, Hogarth Galleries, Sydney in 1998, Columbia University, USA in 2001, Hung, Drawn and Quartered at the Tin Sheds Gallery, University of Sydney in 2003, Nice Coloured Dolls, 24HR Art, Darwin, Northern Territory in 2004. Messages of peace, at Gallery XX, Italy in 2008, and in 2010 Karla was a part of the SafARI Biennela Fringe Festival, Mop Projects Sydney.

As an Aboriginal, regional artist and mother she says her work and life is focused and inspiried by the landscape. The current issues and concerns of global warming run deep, spiritually, emotionally and practically. “I see myself as one of the army” she says, “set to achieve a safe future.”

Read the full article in the Artist Profile in Issue 33