Marielle Soni was Senior Art consultant and inaugural manager of Artbank's Melbourne showroom from 2004 until leaving Artbank in 2015 and as such was integral to its initial and ongoing success. Marielle came to Artbank directly from managing Jilamara Arts centre on Melville island in the northern Territory, bringing not only a deep knowledge of the art practice of the Tiwi islands, but an independent way of thinking, a strategic outlook and a resilience that proved invaluable to the organisation. Marielle was a champion of artists and their practices, counting many artists among her close friends, and, most importantly for Artbank, genuinely interested in engaging people with art - she was passionate about the role of art in building community.
She was a terrific colleague. Smart, hard working, supportive but not soft, and direct - never afraid to speak up if she thought things could be done better, and as such a great sounding board for me as Director. I always felt Melbourne to be in capable hands. As a manager she was exemplary; calm, compassionate, supportive, but not afraid of the hard conversation, inspiring fierce loyalty in her team. She was equally great with clients, building lasting relationships, ensuring their ongoing support of Artbank over many years, and building the solid business base that supports the Melbourne business to this day.
All of these attributes served her equally well as a friend; sensible, thoughtful, loyal; always one whose advice you could safely, and would wisely heed, and as a stellar human; curious, engaged, passionate and fierce when required. All of which can make her sound a bit intense, which she wasn't. She was also joyful, a swirl of mad colour, a fashionista extraordinaire, and queen of the statement shoe. She will be sorely missed by all and my thoughts are with her daughter Aamini and all her family at this terribly sad time, but it's also worth remembering that Marielle really did make a difference. She will be remembered.
Tribute by Geoff Cassidy Artbank’s Director from 2006 -2012