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MADDI EKBLAD HASN’T FORGOTTEN HER ISLAND LIFE WHILE ART CAREER CATAPULTS ONWARD AND UPWARD! Former leading island artist, Maddi Ekblad, left Macleay Island five years ago to pursue her artistic endeavours in another country. She chose Malaysia, because of the lifestyle and location that it provides to one of Maddi’s burgeoning markets - China. Maddi had become increasingly well known in Hong Kong, the Gateway to China, in a significant way. It was a ‘natural’ for her style of art which can be best described as ‘where dribbled paint and music dance together in unexpected harmony - energetic, tireless and lyrical’. It is s style well known to islanders who enjoyed Maddi’s growing successes over many years, along with another island artist, David Wells. They literally led the way for many other island artists to follow, making the Southern Bay Islands a ‘Mecca’ for many art mediums. Anyone who knows Maddi (as we do here at The Friendly Bay Islander) recognises that her art is her personality. She is vibrant and visual, as is her unique ‘dribbled’ art style. Enamel is dribbled on with a stick in a ‘freeform’ manner and Madeleine likes to use old music manuscripts, some dating back from the late 1890’s, in her work. She admits to hearing ‘music everywhere’. So much so that when living on Macleay Island it led to the establishment of her unique ‘Teapot Tree’ that ended up becoming more than just a little ‘famous’. She admits that a ‘Bohemian mentality is at the forefront of my creations!’ Whilst living with us on Macleay Island, Maddi was literally ahead of her time. She was appointed a ‘Celebrity Ambassador’ for Tourism Redlands as well as being awarded the title of ‘Cultural Champion’ from Arts Queensland for her dedication to The Arts. Now living with husband Peter in Penang, Malaysia, the couple have ‘flirted’ with moves to other destinations such as Sri Lanka, but no changes quite yet. So what about a return to Australia? Temporarily she was back last month for a major exhibition in Sydney where she was visited by her ‘protege’, Macleay Island’s Lynda Faulkner and her husband, Dave. Lynda is still a great fan of Maddi, and with good reason. In many ways Lynda has taken over Maddi’s mantle when it comes to art on the islands. Maddi sent us a message (and a lovely painting) of continuing support for island art and artists. “I am so pleased to see art on the islands going from strength to strength. The SMB Islands can rightly take place as one of the most significant art locations and breeding grounds in Queensland, with MIAC and RICARTS playing a wonderful role in cultivating and supporting the many artists who now call the islands ‘home’. As for the future, are Maddi and Peter likely to return to our islands? “Who knows, but for the moment I am taking every opportunity in an expanding SE Asia market place,” Maddi told The Friendly Bay Islander. “We loved living on the islands and we might yet end up back there with you all sometime in the future,” Maddi said.

• Maddi’s exhibition in Sydney with husband Peter with Lynda and Dave Faulkner. (Thanks for the pix Lynda - Ed.)

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