I don’t call what I do art. I call it culture because that’s what it is. I was born with a gift that allows me to express my feelings, thoughts, and continue to keep the traditions of my cultural heritage alive. My culture is not a forgotten tradition from the past, it is very much alive and relevant today as it was thousands of years ago. I believe that I am keeping cultural traditions alive through my painting.
My parents were both born and raised on the Cherbourg Aboriginal Settlement, I was born in Brisbane and have strong cultural and family ties to Cherbourg. My father, Charlie, is an accomplished artist, I believe I have inherited his artistic skill. Not only do I paint cultural stories, I also paint portraits, landscapes and birds, animals and horses are favourite subjects as well.
I have been told traditional stories which I interpret in my own style. A style of painting in which I had some mentors, uncles and family friends who took notice. I was serious about what I did and they took time to encourage me through their art and culture.
Much of my painting comes from memories of childhood. Time when my brothers and cousins and I would go hunting with my father, uncles and other elders. We would hunt for echidna, possum and fish for many fresh water creatures like jewfish, catfish and turtle. I keep these memories with me, and I am never without inspiration.
I was told the story of the “Bunya Festival” a major gathering of clans and tribal groups in South East Queensland. I have painted this story many times over the last twenty five years. It is a very strong dreaming story and I feel very honoured to be entitled to interpret this story in a painting.