Local Dampier artist, Monty Montgomery, will take up residence at Cossack for four weeks as part of the 2018 Cossack Art Awards.

The prestigious Artist in Residence program is sponsored by the Awards principal partner, Rio Tinto, and provides an opportunity for a selected artist to immerse themselves in the unique environment of Cossack. During her time in residence, Ms Montgomery will be available for a series of public events and produce a body of work inspired by the Pilbara.

City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long said the Cossack Art Awards provided an incredible experience for local artists and attracted entrants from right across Australia. “Our annual Cossack Art Awards allow us to showcase our exceedingly talented local artists alongside works from all over Australia. In addition to this, through the generous support of our business community, we are able to shine a national spotlight on the region and promote the Cossack area as an artistic hub right here in the North West,” Cr Long said. “The Artist in Residence program is an opportunity for an exceptional artist to live among the history and beauty of Cossack, allowing them to focus on their creativity full time. It is a sought-after experience and I congratulate Monty on receiving the 2018 prize,” he said.

Rio Tinto General Manager Ports Dampier Jess Farrell said Rio Tinto is proud to be the Principal Partner of the 2018 Cossack Art Awards, a partnership the company has supported for 26 years. “The Artist in Residence program is a vital component to the success of the overall event which does a fantastic job in showcasing local talent,” Ms Farrell said.

Artwork entries for the 26th annual Cossack Art Awards will open 12 March 2018 with up to 300 works being accepted for exhibition. Entries should be two dimensional, by artists who currently live in Australia and all pieces must be completed at the time of entry.

Winners will be announced at the Cossack Art Awards gala awards presentation on July 21, 2018.

More information is available at with updates and event news on the Cossack Art Awards Facebook page.





Week 1: I’m on exchange
There is an alluring calling of the bush, a rite of passage for many artists to record the road less travelled.

Art offers tantalizing connections to enrich our lives, void of the nuances of the domestic, to share connections with our own experiences.

How have we come to this? I’m at odds why Australians continue to embellish homes with art containing European motifs and experiences of sterile concrete existence. We’re flooded with furniture store imports donning a cotton string price tag. A pretty deer or rabbit on a white canvas. Fractured with tessellated with dainty geometric shapes and filled with pretty puddles of turquoise and pink.

Rabbits? White spaces? In red dirt country? It’s time to review our priorities. And our value of community and country.

So I am going off the grid. On exchange.


Week 2: Local domestic

One month here at Cossack to step aside from my role as Wife, Mum and Art Teacher. Provider of packed lunch boxes, safe passage, nourishment. Fielder of domestic duties and spelling word supervision, bedtime stories. Roll call, clumsy clay creations and classroom colourwheel conversations.

“How would I cope away from children and husband?” I was asked. Oh common.

This tut-tutting for straying from the domestic resonates underlying sexism. Yes, it is alive. Funny though, my own domestic abandonment happened long ago. A trait of a sporadic creative type. This is not new.

This home studio has a happy view, even if to the washing line (and husband tending to the third load). Still, this new gig will require persistence for process. And, BTW, doesn’t offer a washing service.

I quietly hope to indulge in the pleasure of production than the fury of resolve. Distil and translate. Synthesise experiences. Sharpen the view from what is fuzzy in my periphery to contribute to the expanding encounter with place.

Push, push, push myself. In sharing these discoveries, offer agency for others to embrace the wonderment of this land with welcoming affection.
Maybe celebrate the occasional clean change of clothes.


Week 3: The Colon of the Colony

The colonial chapters in this region shares only snippets of unimaginable horror. Accounts penned in historical documents and learned from our remaining descendants describe hideous hardship and gruesome exploitation.

Forced labour of Aboriginal people made prisoners, bundled and shackled together and brought overland to the jail here fed a perpetual trade of human exploitation. White privilege supported by white law fed frightening accounts of retribution and massacre.

This place is a site of sorry business.

When my Art Assistant learned I would be staying out here, she shivered and advised, “Take a torch.”


Week 4: Time to paint

I’m a landscape painter. Working with a variety of tools, brushes, paddles, even brooms, I capture the distinctive characteristics of the country with lively, sweeping, dotted and flecked marks.

I am here to share and celebrate artistry.

Art speaks all of our languages. Look carefully at the landscape, as you may with art, and observe her physical beauty, her enduring resilience and splendour.