Sometimes I get questions sent to me through this web site from students in high schools & universities about my cultural practice.
The most recent one was a lovely young woman named Justine.
She asked the perfect questions for me to answer so I thought I might add the Q & A here.
I hope it helps other students who wish to contact me in future when they read this blog entry :)
Q: could tell me about your artistic influences
A: Badimaya lore paintings in sand and found in cave art...also carved into rocks across my Badimaya home country which is the mid west of western Australia under the towns of Mount Magnet & Yalgoo.
I’m also influenced by Catholic religious artistic practices found in the Renaissance era in Europe.
Q: and inspiration behind your work,
A: I began painting portraits when I was young as a way to assist my family to find family who had been separated from us due through government policy up until 1973.
I also paint as a way to stop racism today as it’s the greatest enemy to artistic freedom in the world today and in that task I paint everything that occurs to me in my daily life through a kind of diary or as some have termed an auto-ethnographic practice.
I also admire the way in religious Catholic tradition that with icons in particular the local priests would take donations to make icons for the communities they were in.
The priest would hide and travel with these jewel encrusted icon with him if the village or community was destroyed so he could make that community again somewhere else using the jewels in another location.
I think it’s an influence because it talks about a European relationalism rather than survivalism to one’s culture and community that I can understand.
Relationalism as a term was first discussed with Mary Graham in this video here;
Q: whether you were influenced by particular artists,
A: Firstly my Mother and grandmother were major influences on my work as they were both discouraged to be artists even as they were from a very long line of matriarchal lore women to do art for themselves. My family use art to record beliefs and spiritual practices. Both of them were only ever encouraged to be the domestic servants to white people as was I when I was at high school back in 1981-86. They influenced me to persevere and to become interested in many many artistic techniques from an early age.
The other influences are in the multiple.
Mainly artists from the Renaissance artists such as Artemisia Gentileschi, Franz Hals, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Michelangelo, and Raphael.
Other influences are multiple as I follow techniques more than styles or personality such as Goya, Ray Crooke, Gordon Bennett, Ai Weiwei and William Hogarth.
Q: themes or movements
Romanticism (not Jean-Jacques Rousseau because he was a racist)
The Badimaya Nations cultural renewal & ancient continual practice
Stories from people resisting racism towards First Nations people in ‘Australia’.
Stories that empower First nations People in ’Australia’
The First Nations sovereignty movement towards de-colonization and real land rights.
Anti-Empire literature (see below text attached for reference such as ‘Enlightenment Against Empire’ by Sankar Muthu, 2003 )
Themes would be;
the land & people and the relationship between both.
Ending every day racism
Ending paper genocide through art (meaning ending white washed history and literature using art)
Q:and which of your artworks that show these influences?
‘In our country’ (see below)
dealing with stereotypical racism about fair skinned First Nations people namely me...as I go back to my country.
I get a lot of racism from white people who think I’m on the band wagon to ‘get benefits’ from ‘calling’ myself ‘Aboriginal’ as they call my identity as a Badimaya woman but what they don’t know about me is that I’m a product of the ‘breeding them out’ program of assimilationist genocide & brainwashing that ‘white is right’ along with the forced removal of 3 generations of my family. I’m also fair skinned as a result of 2 rapes committed against my great grandmother and her mother by white colonialists.
I have an identity in fighting for real land rights and striving for decolonisation.
My first land rights & equal justice rally was when I was 10 years old.
I am known and accepted in my family & community.
In the painting it shows my ancestors before invasion and myself holding hands with them in my country near Goodingow and Warida.
I don’t consider myself an ‘Australian Aboriginal’ because I’ve separated myself from the governing system. I’m a Badimaya.
I wish you well with your education,