One Douglas artist's moving ceramic tribute to Toyah Cordingley


Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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Sam Matthews' ceramic vase with black and white sgraffito sunflowers. Its internal surface is bright orange and has a poem for Toyah written in the glaze.

In a moving tribute to Toyah Cordingley, who was found murdered on Wangetti Beach in October last year, leading DAB artist, Sam Matthews, has produced a piece of art which will be entered in the Queensland Regional Arts Awards.

Titled “Toyah Loved Sunflowers”, the piece is a ceramic vase with black and white sgraffito sunflowers. Its internal surface is bright orange and has a poem for Toyah written in the glaze.

“Some of the entries will be selected to tour regional Queensland later in the year and Sam thought that having a piece selected would be a way of introducing Toyah’s story to a wider audience,” a DAB spokesperson said.

“Toyah was murdered here in the Douglas Shire. That such an act of extreme violence against a woman could happen right here among us is horrific.

“It is unacceptable and unforgivable. It is important that Toyah is not forgotten. Her killer is still out there. And someone must know something,” the spokesperson said.

You can view all the eligible entries (including the one by Sam (moo) and also vote for people choice awards on the FlyingArts Website

The poem that is written in the vase:

"She took her dog
To a favourite beach
Where the rainforest meets
The Coral Sea
And a monster that lives
Amongst us made sure
That Toyah would never
Make it home again
For Toyah
For Ever"

The artist’s statement:

Toyah loved sunflowers.
And the colour orange.
And so, you just KNOW, that Toyah Cordingley must have been a sunny, joyful soul.
Not that I actually knew Toyah. Not many of us did.
But now we all know “of Toyah”.
Or we know someone that did know her.
And that is because Toyah went for a walk, with her dog, at her favourite beach, and a person or persons “unknown”, attacked her.
And killed her.
FNQ is not such a big place really. Lots of space, lots of diversity, but not that many people. So, if you didn’t know Toyah – it still feels like you could of.
And when something very bad happens where, when or to something very good, the contrast in extremes is unimaginably shocking.
The far north QLD community will never forget Toyah – it is the very least we owe her.

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