janine combes — lucky break

When jewellery designer Janine Combes emerged from the south-west wilderness with a broken arm, there was a bottle of bubbly and the most wonderful news waiting: She had won a prestigious art award.

It was near the end of the arduous 7-day South Coast Track that Janine tripped, fracturing her arm. Miles from civilization, she fashioned a splint and kept going. But when Janine finally emerged at South Cape Rivulet, she got the shock of her life.

“There was my partner Laurie waiting to surprise me with champagne and to tell me that I had won tidal.20 which was announced on December 4 while I was cut off from the world. I was absolutely floored. I never expected to win, so I went ahead with my long-planned trek and totally missed my big moment,” Janine tells us.

The prestigious tidal.20: City of Devonport National Art Award carries a $15,000 prize with the winner on permanent display at Devonport’s Paranaple Art Centre. It promotes contemporary Tasmanian art that reflects ‘concerns related to the sea and coastal regions.’

Janine responded with Kelp Elegy, a series of 9 large silver brooches inspired by Tasmania’s giant, but vanishing, kelp forests. As she explains: “Once I dived among towering curtains of giant kelp, each moving gently with the rush of incoming tide, secrets revealed and re-hidden among shadows full of intrigue and foreboding. These were forests of a kind I only barely knew before they were gone… I lament our loss, seek their restoration. The elegy is part written, but the ending is not.”