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Sylvia Convey is one of Australia's most distinctive outsider artists. She was born in a refugee camp at Itzehoe near Hamburg, Germany in 1948. With her Latvian parents and elder sister she sailed to Australia on the Skaugum in early 1950. They were part of the first wave of immigrants to arrive in Australia after World War II. This group of displaced persons' had a profound effect on what was then an Anglo Celtic monoculture. From her childhood Sylvia had the gift of being able to transmute her joys and sorrows into poetic images which have the power to enchant and disturb. A true outsider artist her images are derived from her own day to day and oneiric experiences. Intuitively she has tapped the richness of her ancestral heritage which adds a decorative radiance to her images. An engaging eroticism is also a dominant theme in her oeuvre.
A recurring thread in her work has been the blurring of boundaries between art forms. As a painter she rejected the primacy of canvas and used non conventional surfaces. As a printmaker she has used textiles as much as paper and her sculptural muse finds expression in wonderfully exotic and exuberant cloth dolls. She approached quilt making in a spontaneous rather than formal manner as it gave her lifelong love of fabric and colour complete expression. She loves the sensual, tactile pleasure of handling cloth - tearing, cutting, printing and painting it to produce shimmering life embracing forms.
Since 1972 she has exhibited widely in Australia, Germany, the United States and France. Her work was part of the landmark exhibition Australian outsiders at the Halle St. Pierre in Paris in 2006.
Her work has been acquired by several institutions including the National Gallery of Australia, Iwalewa Haus at the University of Bayreuth and the Canberra Museum and Gallery.