Marlene Rubjunta’s love affair with soft sculpture – the art of shaping soft materials like cloth and rubber – was slow to ignite. When the Australian Indigenous artist first walked into a community arts center in her Northern Territory hometown almost a decade ago, she had to overcome her lack of familiarity with the medium.
“When I first went (to the art center) I couldn’t stand sewing. I was terrible at it, like a kindergarten kid. But then I learnt about it, started concentrating and using a lot of colors.
“And now look at what I can do,” Rubjunta said with a shy smile, pointing to the sculpture that she spent weeks fashioning and refers to as her “bush queen.”