Marielle Soni Obituary, Death – During 2004 until her departure from Artbank in 2015, Marielle Soni served as Senior Art consultant and original manager of Artbank’s Melbourne showroom. In her role, she was an essential component of the company’s early and continued success. Marielle began her career at Artbank after managing the Jilamara Arts centre on Melville island in the Northern Territory.
She brought with her not only a profound understanding of the artistic practice of the Tiwi islands, but also an independent way of thinking, a strategic outlook, and a resilience that proved to be extremely beneficial to the organization. Marielle was an advocate for artists and the practices they engaged in. She counted a large number of artists as her close friends. Most importantly for Artbank, she had a genuine interest in getting people involved with art because she was enthusiastic about the part art plays in the process of community building.
She was a wonderful coworker to have. She is intelligent, hard working, supportive but not soft, and straightforward; she has never been hesitant to speak out if she believed anything might be done better, and she serves as such a terrific sounding board for me in my role as Director. My gut feeling was that Melbourne was always in good hands. She was the epitome of a good manager—calm, empathic, and encouraging, but not afraid to have difficult conversations—and she inspired tremendous devotion in the members of her team.
She was equally as wonderful with customers, developing long-lasting connections with them, assuring their continued support of Artbank over a number of years, and building the stable business basis that continues to sustain the Melbourne operation to this day. Whether in her role as a friend, in which she was smart, attentive, and loyal, and in her role as an outstanding human being, in which she was inquisitive, engaged, passionate, and ferocious when the situation called for it, all of these characteristics suited her equally well.
All of these things might make her sound far more passionate than she actually was. She was also a cheerful person, a whirl of wild color, a fashionista extraordinaire, and the queen of the statement shoe. It is important to keep in mind that Marielle did, in fact, make a difference in the world, and although she will be much missed by everyone, my thoughts and prayers are with her daughter Amani and the rest of her family during this incredibly difficult time. She will live on in our memories. Geoff Cassidy, who served as Director of Artbank from 2006 to 2012, pays tribute.