28 February 2023

Tara uses her creative talents to beautify Darwin, receiving public recognition for her contribution.

Creativity is an integral part of Tara’s life, and with the support of her Life Without Barriers support workers, she makes the most of her considerable talents.

One of Tara's favourite activities is attending her weekly program at Art Access Darwin, accompanied by her Life Without Barriers support worker.

Art Access Darwin provides arts-based workshops, professional development and events for people with disability. At Art Access Darwin, Tara has not only created art, she has also received commissions from sales of her artwork. She will often use the money to buy more drawing books.

Image: Tara wearing a black dress with white spots stands infront of a wall displaying her art work.

Tara became involved in creating the ‘Magical Mangrove’ in Darwin Council’s new Jingili Water Gardens Playground. The Magical Mangrove’s shade cloth features a tree-top habitat where artists have drawn different real and imaginary animals that live in the mangroves.

The artwork for Magical Mangroves was developed through a design workshop program at Arts Access Darwin. Tara and four other artists, including Angelique, a resident at another Life Without Barriers Supported Independent Living (SIL) home, researched mangrove plants and animals to create the artwork for the playground.

Tara and Angelique visited the Gurrumbay (Rapid Creek) mangroves. They did a cultural workshop with Larrakia custodian Nadine Lee to learn why the Gurrumbay mangroves are special to the traditional owners, the Larrakia people.

For the project, Tara drew a magical flying creature that would “take her home”. When explaining her artwork, she made hand signs for flying back to her family’s remote home in Maningrida.

Image: Tara wearing a white t-shirt, floral skirt, and orange cap, stands next to a sign which reads: Meet the artists. Magical Mangroves.

Tara lives in Darwin, where she has support for her complex medical needs. She keeps in close contact with her family through regular calls, family visits, and visits to her Country.

In Darwin, Tara has a rich active social life. She counts Gerarda and Rosita, her housemates at, as some of her best friends. Rosita is also from Maningrida, and the two love to chat using words from their native tongue, English, and gestures. Tara regularly meets her friend John, who is also from Maningrida and a resident at another Life Without Barriers supported living home.

While Tara is very popular and sociable, she also loves her alone time in nature. When she needs a break, Tara goes outside to sit by herself under trees. Spending time in the outdoors appears to rejuvenate her.

Tara and Angelique attended the beautiful opening of the All Abilities Play Space at Jingili Gardens, where their individual artworks were shown around the playground. Tara’s photo was also featured on the City of Darwin Facebook page.

Image: Magical Mangroves shade cloth featuring a tree-top habitat where artists have drawn different real and imaginary animals that live in the mangroves.

In December, the two artists were recognised at the 2022 NT Arts Access Awards when the Free Space Studio Public Art Collective won the Arts Access Awards, Project Category, for the Magical Mangroves artwork.

Art Access Awards organisers told the artists, “Your public artwork is such a wonderful contribution to the community of Darwin and brings joy to everyone who plays at the Jingili Watergardens Playspace!"

"We congratulate you on achieving such an important public art commission, it is a major professional achievement.”

Tara attended the Award ceremony and was very proud to receive the award. Her favourite part, she told her support workers, was taking a photo with MP Ngaree Ah Kit, who was a special guest at the event.

Image: MP Ngaree Ah Kit, wearing a green, pink and yellow dress standing next to Tara, wearing a black dress with white spots, at the Art Access Awards.

Most recently, the City of Darwin has offered to buy the license to the Magical Mangroves artwork which features on the shade cloth at Jingili water gardens. They have offered the six artists a fee of $1600 for the artwork, which Tara has accepted.

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