By Claire Ottaviano
AS well as being a young artist and entrepreneur with her own fashion label 18-year-old Cara Baldwin, who has Downs Syndrome, is also the first person with a disability to receive the prestigious Robert Juniper Award for the Arts.
The Robert Juniper Award for the Arts is an annual award offered to a young person under the age of 35 who excels at their chosen art form.
Cara is the first artist living with disability to win the award in its 33-year history.
It will allow the Greenmount resident to establish a profile and career in visual arts, but she’s already made a strong headstart towards those endeavours with her fashion label Lollipop of Love Designs.
In November, Cara graced the runway for the first time with other models also wearing clothing with her designs at the Colourful Cultures Runway in Fremantle.
Her colourful and playfully handcrafted range of unique screen printed designs are inspired by her love of animals, conservation and the world around her including her mother Delia.
Finding out about her award win, Cara said she was both happy and very proud.
“I like both screenprinting and hand painting because I love art,” she said.
“I feel excited when I’m doing it.”
Judges said offering Cara the award was an amazing opportunity to feed into a creative mind and to help her mature and develop.
“Cara’s arts practice is unique, varied and joyful; simplistic but considered,” they said.
“She shows consistency in mark-making, line and colour sense – her contribution to the arts is very unique.”
Delia said although her passion for conservation did have an influence on her daughter and her designs, Cara’s thoughts and how they were portrayed through her work, were very much her own.
“Cara is very proud of what she does,” she said.
“And as the mother of a special needs person, although I’m grateful for the money, when they’re proud of what they do that’s the most important part.
“Special needs people often get a lot of exclusion and are not included in things, this award helps to break that cycle.”
The award will help open doors for Cara, with the prize money helping her develop a range of fashion items that will be showcased later in 2021.
The Robert Juniper Award night was held on Friday, December 4 at the Mundaring Arts Centre, the day after International Day of People with a Disability.