By Rebecca Peppiatt
A WELL-known face among the art scene in Mundaring, Jude van der Merwe has now been officially recognised for her dedication to the arts with an Order of Australia Medal.
The 70-year-old local can be thanked for influencing the Perth art scene as a curator over the years and for putting Mundaring on the map among art experts.
She has curated many memorable exhibitions at the centre using abstract subject matter such as sewing machines, tools and horses and has in the past been responsible for fire sculptures and clay pot throwing at Statham Quarry.
“When I started working here, I really found I just enjoyed making opportunities for other people,” she said.
“There’s lots of really interesting things that go on in society, there are things that are interesting to us, or are important to us.”
Jude’s most exciting career move, however, was being part of a small team that put on the recent, and hugely successful, Indian Ocean Craft Triennial that brought together craft work from countries bordering the Indian Ocean.
It was a major feat considering COVID restrictions.
“We have a history of being colonisers and saying our way is the best way and yet when any of us travel, you see extraordinary craft and you think how did they make that?” Jude said.
“Valuing those crafts, those traditions and the knowledge that’s held in those communities is what the exhibition was all about.”
Jude was given her Australia Day honour “for service to the visual arts through administrative roles” and thanked the “generous” people who took the time to nominate her.