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Sharon Phineasa

Some people have the opportunity to be a pioneer in their chosen field.

Sharon Phineasa, a Torres Strait Island woman and a descendant of the Ait-Koedal and Dhoeybaw clans of Saibai Island and Dauan Island in the Top Western region of the Torres Strait, is leading the way for Torres Strait Island female artists.

Artistically, Sharon practices a reflection of cultural knowledge and experience, reflecting creative feminine flair of Torres Strait Island women.

Her art incorporates traditional and contemporary styles and designs.

Sharon's art is a story telling method that relates to the mythology of her childhood and upbringing.

"I want to tell my stories," smiles Sharon. "I have countless enriching childhood experiences and many Island Myths and Legends to draw upon as the source of my creative work."

Sharon is passionate about preserving her culture through artistic expression.

The Australian Council of Arts chose Sharon to be a delegate at the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts (FOPA) held in Honiara, Solomon Islands in 2012.

She was one of the first female Torres Strait Islander visual artist representatives from Australia.

The festival allowed Sharon to learn new and creative ways to build on her distinctive style.

"I saw the success of other artists and it made me think about which road to take, as at times I have been at a cross-road," says Sharon.

Sharon is now thinking about which future goal and the direction in which she wants to take her art and business.

While walking through the Canopy Artspace in Grafton Street, Cairns, Sharon meets up with one of her mentors, artist Ken Thaiday. "I have had amazing mentors that I look up to and respect dearly such as Ken Thaiday and Alick Tipoti," says Sharon.

She acknowledges that her own Grandfather had a profound and enduring influence in providing earlier artistic and cultural foundation for Sharon to build upon.

"My advice to other up and coming artists is to never forget who you are and to hold on to your cultural identity," she says.

"And don't give up on your dream."

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