Emma is of Palawa heritage through her family line from the East Coast of Tasmania. She had a great upbringing in a large family environment in a small town on the North-West coast of Tasmania. Emma recounts the story of her mother as a very brave person for identifying as an Aboriginal person in Tasmania in the early 1970’s, when the “myth” was that there were no Aboriginal people left alive.
Professional roles have seen Emma posted in the Solomon Islands, Tonga, New Zealand and Iraq during her time with Foreign Affairs. Emma has travelled extensively through-out the Asia Pacific region involved in legal negotiations and conferences. It was during this time that she decided to reconnect with her art and started to paint.
“I think the ability to work on something and have a start, middle and end was a really important process for me.”
Most of her latest works represent a place that she’s visited recently and feels really connected to. She conveys the colours, feel and smell of that place at a certain time. Because Emma paints multi-layered backgrounds and uses dotting, the painting process is very slow; a hand-span of dotting can take her as long as two or three hours depending on the viscosity of the paint and the pattern that she’s using.
Francine paints landscapes of the South-West of Western Australia, Nyoongah Boodja. She works with colours of the land, relying on the vibrancy of natural elements to open a dialogue or storytelling of creation, mythology, and the balance of it's energy. The language is simple with dots, lines, curves and circles.
Her more modern style works are influenced heavily by social and political environments, in particular the era and times she grew up in. These had a big impact on her, such as growing up in Nyoongah communities where the primary source of income was from working on farms, shearing sheep, and the surrounding scapes - of which she depicts in her highly contemporary artworks.
Kaye is a respected elder from the Gararimarra skin group in the North-West Australian Pilbara region. She is 59 years old and a member of the stolen generation.
“My inspiration to paint came from my country of where my father was taken away as a small child. Being a descendant of the stolen generation - White Springs in the Pilbara of Western Australia. The surname White is my surname given to my father as a reminder of where he came from.
I love mixing colours and get my ideas from country in the Pilbara region and all over the world. When I paint I feel a strong connection to Banjima lands. I get pleasure from seeing the looks on people’s faces when they express their love of seeing my work of art, and the emotional connection they get from me telling the stories behind each one.
I started painting later on in my life and I always had a yearning to paint, so one day I started with one canvas and had a play with it and I have never looked back. It took me a while to let go of my paintings due to the love and emotional connection I had with everything single one of them. Then I realised I must let go and show the world what I’m capable of. Now I would love to see people wearing my art in every way shape and form, whether it be on a canvas on a wall in a home, office, gallery, on a gorgeous tie, T-shirts, dresses and so on. It provides me with opportunities and the desire to continue doing what I love - painting.”
Known to her family as Madawyn, she was given her traditional naming by one of her elders, whom in traditional form she refers to as another Mum. The name was handed to her as a way of keeping family line.
After moving to Darwin in 1985 and completing her schooling, Kerry moved back to the Daly River where she worked in various jobs. In 1994, at the suggestion of her aunt, Kerry started to paint. Originally Kerry pursued the traditional style of Aboriginal artists of the area, which focuses on depictions of animals and plants. However, following completion of her education at Bachelor Institute of Advanced Education, Kerry Madawyn ‘s style changed to include subjects more widely associated with Aboriginal tradition. This change was also influenced by her grandfather and by her spending two years in the bush at her mother’s home country at Bulgul.
Kerry’s sister then introduced her to an abstract style of art that saw her work become more innovative and precise. She is continually exploring new avenues to express her stories of life, culture and tradition from the top end. Kerry has adopted a versatile style of painting with the ability to combine both traditional and modern contemporary forms.
Walala is a traditional male artist from the Gibson Desert who comes from an extraordinary background. In October 1984 Walala was one of a small party of nine people from the Pintupi language group who walked out of the Gibson Desert into a remote community where they encountered European settlers for the first time. Their arrival generated enormous interest and international headlines. The group had been following their traditional lifestyle in the desert country until this point, and were the only existing Indigenous group to have no prior contact with westerners.
Walala Tjapaltjarri paints the Tingari Cycle, a series of sacred and secret mythological song cycles, which is associated with the artist’s many Dreamings. His painting style is characterised by rectangular shapes with surrounding dots and a limited palette of up to four colours. He uses a classic Tingari iconography usually reserved for body painting, ground painting and the decoration of traditional artefacts. Walala first began painting after being introduced to the art form by his brother, Warlimpirrnga, who instructed him in the use of paints and canvas.