Reconciliation Week: 5 Indigenous Artists You Should Know

Reconciliation Week is a time to celebrate the resilience of Indigenous artists who stand tall on the shoulders of their ancestors, carrying the torch of cultural revival and creating a new narrative for future generations. Join us as we immerse ourselves in the spirit and spotlight five remarkable Indigenous artists reclaiming their ancestral heritage and forging a path towards healing and understanding.

1. Samantha Webster

Samantha Webster is a Torres Strait Islander woman with connections to the East and Central Islands. She has visited over seventy communities across Australia and met thousands of people. “Listening to their stories, both nourishes my soul and deepens my connections to the fabric of this nation. But it can also be a painful process. I’m reminded time and time again of the wide-ranging inequities we continue to experience due to the ongoing effects of colonisation,” said Samantha. Traditional repetitious painting methods have helped Samantha calm her mind and process the stories she has heard. 

Women’s Voices 4 by Samantha Webster is the largest in a series of paintings made to elevate the voices and experiences of Indigenous women and girls.

Women’s Voices 4 by Samantha Webster is the largest in a series of paintings made to elevate the voices and experiences of Indigenous females.

Women’s Voices 4 is a contemporary expression of Samantha’s connection to her Country and community. It features the landscapes she travelled, from pink salt flats to deep red and orange clay plains, lush scrub, rainforests, freshwater river lands and saltwater islands. Its reflective dashes represent the individual voices of everyone who shared their experiences with Samantha.

2. Angel Riley

Wiradjuri-born artist Angel Riley’s love of painting lay idle while she pursued other creative careers, including makeup artistry and photography. But her love of painting reignited shortly after her grandfather’s passing. Wanting to feel closer to him, she completed a cultural art class and started painting to communicate her grief. “There’s something very special about painting cultural art. It connects you to the Country and your ancestors in a way that gives you more respect and curiosity for the history of our land. It is how our people have passed on information for thousands of years; It preserves our culture,” said Angel.

Ngurumbang (Country) 2 by Angel Riley.

Ngurumbang (Country) 2 by Angel Riley.

Now a full-time artist, Angel contributes to the rich tapestry of Indigenous art and the stories it tells. An Aboriginal & Human Rights activist, her work teaches the importance of caring for the Country. “For Millenia, we have known that we do not own the land we live on; we are a part of her. Here to nurture and care for her. Our lore is built upon our agreement that we are here to protect her at all costs as to protect her is to protect oneself, for when we love, nurture and conserve her, she loves, nurtures and conserves us in return.” 

3. T’keyah Ware

T’keyah Ware is a member of the Antikirinya and Wirangu peoples. She was thirteen when she first picked up a paintbrush and fell in love with the practice. Today, she continues to learn from her mum and fellow painter, Kelly Taylor, about how to blend colours and use different traditional designs, techniques, and styles. ​​T’keyah paints alongside her mother, Kelly, and sister, Kelilah Taylor-Ware, for their family business, KT Aboriginal Fine Art. 

Colours in the Summertime by T'keyah Ware.

Colours in the Summertime by T’keyah Ware.

T’keyah’s dot painting style is rooted in cultural and spiritual significance. Her artworks serve as a means of storytelling, preserving cultural knowledge and connection to ancestral traditions. T’keyah says her family inspires her paintings, including her late great-grandmothers’ journey across the country hunting and gathering traditional foods to survive off the land. T’keyah’s palette features multiple bright colours, making her culturally significant artworks eye-catching. 

4. Kahlilla Rigby

Kahlilla Rigby is a talented Indigenous artist whose captivating work explores the intersection of nature and human emotions. Her deep connection to the Country’s diverse landscapes is evident in her evocative pieces. With a masterful command of colour and traditional techniques, Kahlilla skilfully brings to life the ethereal beauty of the natural world, often incorporating elements of flora and fauna into her art. When looking for inspiration, she usually sits and listens to Country; her next artwork comes to mind through the rattling of the leaves or the sounds of the animals scurrying around. 

Unity by Kahlilla Rigby.

Unity by Kahlilla Rigby.

Kahlilla’s work invites us to reflect on our connection to the natural world and its profound impact on our emotional well-being. Furthermore, her art serves as a poignant reminder of the enduring relationship between humanity and the environment, urging us to cherish and protect the Country’s wonders.

5. Katie Dunn

Katie Dunn is a proud Wiradyuri woman and self-taught artist based in Wagga Wagga. Her mesmerising works captivate viewers with their unique abstract compositions and vibrant colours. Katie uses a palette knife and paintbrush to layer acrylic paint and pastel onto the canvas. This combination of tools allows her to create subtle texture and a sense of movement, bringing her creations to life.

Blue Bay by Katie Dunn.

Blue Bay by Katie Dunn.

With acute attention to detail and a masterful understanding of colour and composition, Katie creates dynamic country landscapes, honouring ancestors who are among us in the land, sea and skies. Katie’s artistic prowess and creative vision make her a popular artist in the contemporary Indigenous art scene.

In this realm of artistry, where colours dance, stories come alive, and traditions intertwine, we are privileged to witness the incredible creative expressions of a new generation. See this week’s curation, Sacred Stories: A Celebration of Indigenous Artistry, to shop art by these talented Indigenous artists and many more. 


Project in Review: Grace Interior Designs

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