Nine months ago, local artist Tanya Stubbles was fighting for her life. Now, she’s just signed on for the biggest project of her career.
It’s been an incredible, life-changing year for one of the Northern Illawarra’s most prominent artists.
A local resident for 22 years with four children Amber, Jarrah, Lotus and Taj who’ve passed through Scarborough Primary School, with three still at Bulli High, Tanya is firmly entrenched in the Northern Illawarra.
Tanya is also an integral part of the Scarborough Art Show, which will be held on October 8 and 9 this year. “I have been working with the art show for 15 years and exhibiting for 10,” she says, “since my kids started at the school. I have curated and co-curated, I’ve done the hang, and I’ve done art sales, which I really love.”
Tanya is still recovering from a nasty fall at the Clifton School of Arts which almost cost her her life.
She fell down stairs and hit her head, fracturing her skull and causing bleeding on her brain. Her life was saved by the quick action of friends who called the ambulance, with her almost dying once in the helicopter on the way to Liverpool Hospital, then again several times in the early days after the fall.
Tanya remained in a coma for three months, followed by another three months in hospital.
“It wasn’t good,” she says. “But my doctor says I’ve made the best recovery of anyone he’s seen with a similar injury so I can’t ask for more than that.
“The whole experience is strange and surreal,” she says. “I don’t remember the accident or the next three months, so I think it was actually a harder journey for my family and friends. It was terrible for them. They were told by doctors that I may not survive.”
But Tanya says her kids knew she would pull through.
“Life as an artist can be challenging,” she says, “so I have a sign up in my studio which says ‘Never, Never, Never Give Up’. My son Jarrah said he knew I was a fighter and that I would live because of that sign. And I did!”
“I’m not as strong as I was yet. I also have to take things slowly, and I have lost my sense of smell, which is sad, but the doctors say that may still return. Otherwise, I am getting better every day.”
And in fantastic news for the art world, six months after her accident, Tanya was back at work in her Thirroul studio, and one of her works was hung in the Salon des Refuses exhibition at the S.H. Ervin Gallery in The Rocks.
Now, Tanya has signed on for a major project in China that looks like opening doors to even greater opportunities.
“I have been contracted to do 22 artworks for a real estate developer,” she says. “His interior designer saw my work at a Hong Kong art show and now this has happened. If all goes to plan, there will be even more commissions for a hotel chain and his other development projects. It’s life-changing.”
But before all that, Tanya will be exhibiting work at this year’s Scarborough Art Show. “I have actually brought some work back from Hong Kong that I will be putting in the show,” she says. “I love to be a part of this great community event. Scarborough is such a small school and yet the parents work so hard to make this event happen year after year. I am proud to be a part of it.”
Photo thanks to The Daily Telegraph.