Australian Women's Register

An initiative of The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) in conjunction with The University of Melbourne

Skip to content
  • Click to view this Image

    Nalda Searles, courtesy of Nalda Searles.
    Details

Exhibitions

  • Karlkurla Gold: A History of the Women of Kalgoorlie-Boulder

Use Trove to find more resources by/about this Woman

  • Trove

Searles, Nalda (1945 - )

Born
1945
Kalgoorlie-Boulder
Occupation
Artist and Photographer

Summary

Nalda Searles is nationally recognised for her baskets and artworks using materials found in the bush. Working within the landscape her art reflects a deep commitment to nature and culture. Her inspirational workshops and involvement with Aboriginal women have seen new methods of making grass basketry and sculpture spread into remote indigenous communities.

Details

Nalda Searles was born in Kalgoorlie and went to the Boulder, then Bullfinch, Primary Schools before attending Northam Senior High. She left for Perth to study and work as a psychiatric nurse.

Travel abroad gave her a deeper appreciation of the arts, and on return she undertook a brief course in macramé at the Midland Technical School. This quickly led to a life long commitment to working with fibres.

Renowned potter and friend Eileen Keys encouraged Nalda to source her materials from the environment, and in 1983 a six-week bush camp in the Yilgarn resulted in an exciting collection of baskets made from bark, grass, flowers and sticks. This led to her first major solo exhibition Bush Meetings and Basketry (1985) at the Craft Council of Western Australia. In 1989 she featured in the ABC television series The Makers. A Fine Arts degree at Curtin University followed.

In 1993, while working on the Wama Wanti Street Art Project for indigenous people in Kalgoorlie, she met senior Wongi woman Pantjiti Mary McLean. The two women became close friends, shared their skills, and collaborated in joint exhibitions of their work.

Nalda has worked overseas as an artist-in-residence, and her works are held in numerous public and private collections. A major survey of her work 'Drifting in my own land' was held in 2009 at Curtin University, and has toured nationally.

In 2009 her contribution to the arts was recognised by the state with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Sources used to compile this entry: Criena Fitzgerald and National Foundation for Australian Women, Karlkurla Gold: A History of the Women of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Australian Women's Archives Project, December 2012, http://www.womenaustralia.info/exhib/wikb/wikb-home.html; Nichols, Andrew (ed.), Nalda Searles, Drifting In My Own Land, Nalda Searles and Art on the Move, 2009; Taylor, Robyn, Nalda Searles, Honouring Creative Women in Western Australia, unpublished manuscript.

Digital resources

Title
Nalda Searles talking about the development of her work
Type
Interview
Source
Criena Fitzgerald

Details

Title
Nalda Searles talking about her No Grog art project in Kalgoorlie
Type
Interview
Source
Criena Fitzgerald

Details

Title
Mary Pantiji McLean and Nalda Searles - friendship and responsibilities
Type
Interview
Source
Criena Fitzgerald

Details

Title
Nalda Searles discussing her Daisy Bates teapot
Type
Interview
Source
Criena Fitzgerald

Details

Title
Nalda Searles: Trading Teapot
Type
Image
Source
Nalda Searles

Details

Title
Nalda Searles
Type
Image
Source
Nalda Searles

Details

Title
Large basket
Type
Image
Source
Nalda Searles

Details

Title
Pantjiti Mary McLean (sat down) and Nalda Searles
Type
Image
Date
c. 1990
Source
Nalda Searles

Details

Title
Whiteboy Blazer
Type
Image
Date
1996
Source
Nalda Searles

Details

Nalda Searles

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

© Copyright in The Australian Women's Register is owned by the Australian Women's Archives Project
and vested in each of the authors in respect of their contributions from 2000

http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE4808b.htm

The Australian Women's Register is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License

The Australian Women's Register is published quarterly by the Australian Women's Archives Project
ISSN 2207-3124