THE extinction of the Tasmanian tiger represents a poignant cultural loss and certainly no less so for artist Filomena Coppola.

Ms Coppola has an exhibition of research material and drawings on display at the Tweed Valley Art Gallery, focusing on cultural loss and duality.

Born to Italian immigrant parents, Ms Coppola's work explores and reflects on the loss of dialects, language and stories as older people die and generational changes take hold.

Ms Coppola uses the Tasmanian tiger, also known as the Thylacine, to further explore cultural loss through an eight metre long pastel drawing called Chasing the Disappeared.

"It is not until things are gone that we mourn their loss and wish for their return," Ms Coppola said.

"The markings in Chasing the Disappeared are symbolic of the loss of the first generation of Italians that came to Australia in the 1950s.

With their passing we lose stories, dialects, recipes and memories that marked their early crossings to Australia."

The Thylacine markings in the drawing are drawn to look like fur and feature vertically drawn lines repeated to create a representation of silent voices and dialects.

"In reflecting on the passing of this first wave of immigrants, I consider our losses, the genealogical disconnection to Italy, the local dialects of the 1950s that migrated with them and the disconnection to the Catholic faith," Ms Coppola said.

Gallery director Susi Muddiman was full of praise for Ms Coppola's thought provoking work.

"The eight-metre drawing is absolutely stunning," she said.

"The intricacy of the drawing is incredible. I think it is a very powerful work."

Ms Coppola's work is open for viewing now at the art gallery.


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