Ice in her veins
Coral Tulloch first started working in Children’s Literature, creating a syndicated children’s page that appeared in newspapers throughout Australia and overseas for twenty years. Hand lettered and illustrated, full of information, fiction and activities, Coral said she struggled from the first page with lots of mistakes, learning the rules, visual and literal as she went along!
“I had the freedom to work on any theme and it was here that I expressed my interest in the environment,’ she remembers. “My first work on Antarctica was produced in this series. I then moved to NSW to work with Scholastic on a series of environmental magazines for children.
“I was desperate to extend myself away from the graphic nature of the pages,which is how I ended up in Florence where I worked in a studio life drawing each day, using my left hand and large soft pastels. I had heard about the Venice Carnevale and went for the two weeks, dressing in character and finding a surreal dream that has stayed with me.”
The mask she made for the auction is a wondrous little fragment of that dream.
“Sixty books later, I still have a passion in environmental education for children,” Coral said. “but my favourite style is to always try to mix fiction with non-fiction…and nothing could be more descriptive of this than Antarctica.
“Sixteen years ago, I was awarded an Arts Fellowship with the Australian Antarctic Division and it has remained an experience that changed my life.
“I am not the only one, this place creates a strong personal bond between all that visit and I have witnessed so many people have extraordinary changes in their lives. I returned to the continent several times as artist-in-residence on tourist ships, as once you have gone south, you have ice in your veins. To be able to visit such a place of enormity, our human existence is humbling and insignificant, and egalitarian.
“We have created the only place on Earth that belongs to us all, where there are no fences, no exploitation and war is banned…and the only sound you can hear is the rush of blood through your veins, the wind and a slow crack of the ice moving through it’s ancient path.
“When Isobelle gave me the mask, I immediately thought of Venice and the great humility and egalitarian nature of the Carnevale and went straight to the emotion of Antarctica, so I mixed both with the ocean and the journey of space. The mask like the Earth.”