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Artists

Gilbert Laurie

Gilbert was born in Lismore in 1963. he belongs to the Yaegl and Widjabul tribes of the Bundjalung Nation. Gilbert began painting in 1980s in Lismore with a group of Bundjalung men in a studio called the Chocolate factory. He worked closely with brother Oral Roberts, a close working  relationship that still exists today.

Gilbert paints in a style that he has developed over the years of working called “Djurrumbil” the diamond style. His paintings reflect the energy that surrounds the animals and sea creatures that he paints. His use of concentric lines is a style that comes naturally to him.

Gilbert is currently the director of the Nimbin Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Nimbin. He is teacher and mentor. He works for the North Coast National each year running the Aboriginal Art Space. Gilbert is passionate about his culture and is often asked to perform the the fire ceremony that his grandfather taught him.

Gilbert has appeared in many group exhibition. He was the winner of the peoples choice award in the National Parks and Wildlife Indigenous art awards in 2005 and 2006. He is a not only a fine artists but also a musician and a strong cultural man.

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Glenny Naden

I have been creating artworks since 1995 when we started our business Bidjiwong Art or Classic Koori Designs. I was taught by my eldest brother Robin O’Chin, the stories of my people and our culture and how to graphically capture them and pass them on.

My main inspiration is teaching and passing on knowledge and to make non-Aboriginal people aware of our stories and culture. It’s not always the happy stories either. Sometimes there is a lot of pain associated with our story and with art. I mainly strive to carry on the tradition of telling our stories through art for others to appreciate.

I have had no formal art training or courses. I trained as an Aboriginal community resource person and worked in primary schools and with early literacy programs where I discovered art as an important way to communicate and educate.

Irene Daley

I have been creating ever since I could hold a pencil, way back when I was a little girl growing up in Grafton and Coffs Harbour and have always had a natural affinity with art and design. When I was 38, I returned to learning at the Northern Rivers University of New England where I obtained my B.A in Visual Art and a Graduate Diploma in Education. Following University, I attended the North coast Institute of TAFE, Grafton Campus, where I obtained an Associate Diploma in Arts and Media (Ceramics) and having a great interest in Mental Health, I studied and obtained a Diploma in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health. My journey of learning still continues today.

I am inspired by my culture and being part of a nucleus of love. I have a strong sense of identity, place and belonging. My world has been created from the teachings of the old ways, from my parents, my people and our history. My role as an Aboriginal teacher and artist is one from which I can draw from a personal and emotional response to life, with an emphasis on family. From this place a truth can be taught, thus enriching understanding, caring and sharing for all people. The colours I chose in my art have been deeply influenced by Albert Namatjira and an artist named Noel Counihan. They are painters that I really admire.

My advice to emerging artists is to listen to the old people, look at your culture, draw from your experience and journey and don’t be afraid to go outside the line. Get a good understanding of colour… look beyond seeing and paint with your heart. Be true to yourself.



Jai Darby Walker

Born in 1980 Jai began working as an artist in 2007 at the Jambama Aboriginal Art Studio and gallery in Casino. He is proudly Bundjalung.

His style is largely self taught. He draws and paints the old people, haunting images of the ancestors who formed the Bundjalung nation. Jai is a unique artist with the ability to create images of his ancestors that move and speak through their eye bringing into focus the men and women of the past, lost but not forgotten.

Jai experiments with new techniques continuously producing work that evolves and grows with each time he produces new works. He is an inspired young artist and leaves a mark with the work he produces.

He won the peoples choice award in the 2011 Gaagal Exhibition at Yarrawarra

Jeremy "Mudjai" Devitt

Jeremy “Mudjai” Devitt is descendent of the Nganyaywana, Daingutti (Dhanggatti) and Gumbainga (Gumbaynggir) nations and has English, Irish and Scottish heritage. Jeremy is an accomplished and passionate artist and dancer.

I have created artwork since I was a little boy, about seven or eight years old.

I have some fine arts training at EORA College during 2007 and 2008. At that time I could have been the teacher, so they told me. EORA gave me a chance to develop other styles and throw paint around a bit.

I am inspired by culture, Mother Nature, spirit and life. My style of painting is called ‘spiritway’.

My advice to all Aboriginal artists starting out is if they are painting in traditional styles I would say listen to and watch your Elders carefully. Make sure your painting has story. Take great pride in your painting and do it properly because one day you will be handing this knowledge and way own to the younger ones.

If they are painting other styles my advice would be go for it and let nothing or no-one hold you back. Express, express, express.

Joe Lugnan

Joe Lugnan

Joe Lugnan is a Gumbaynggirr elder and craftsman who is accomplished at wood carving, painting & ceramics. Joe’s signature work would be his beautiful hand crafted timber dreamtime animals available though the Wadjar gift shop.

Karla Dickens


Karla Dickens, Wiradjuri painter, was born in Sydney in 1967. Dickens enrolled in Life Drawing classes at high school where the female form was her main subject matter. She began her formal training as an artist when she enrolled at the National Art School in Darlinghurst, Sydney in 1991, obtaining a Fine Arts Diploma in 1993 and a Bachelor in Fine Arts in 2000.

After moving to Wollombi in the Hunter Valley, NSW Dickens says her work became “more detailed with a stronger Indigenous feel.” She also says that her work at this time was about finding “more acceptance with my sexuality”. Following the death of a close friend in 1997 crosses began appearing as motifs within her paintings and in 2000 Dickens began incorporating text into her work. Her work in 2003 changed dramatically when Dickens began beading onto painted canvasses, a strong contrast of fresh mark making and fine textured detail. Her inspirations as stated in a 2007 interview with the author are “politics, love, sex and the environment”.

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Katie Cowan

Katie Cowan

Katie Cowan is a Gumbaynggirr weaver, who has also worked in the Yuraal Bush Tucker café at and Nuralamee accomodation complex at Yarrawarra. Katie’s decorative woven wall hangings made from a variety of native materials can be purchased through the Wadjar gift shop.

Kim Healey

 

Kim Healey is an Indigenous Artist and is a direct descendant of the Gumbaynggir and Bundjalung nations. Working and creating out of her small studio cottage on the coastlines of the Clarence Valley, Kim continues to engage and capture her audience using a contemporary palate and modern design within the Graphic Design field of practice illustrating her connection to country and sharing her family's history and stories.

Kim has evolved throughout her career starting in forms of print/media works on paper to recycling metal and creating three dimensional sculptural work. Kim much later in her career started her Bachelor of Visual Arts and Design at Southern Cross University. Kim has exhibited internationally and has been published.

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Kristian Benton

Taking the Didgeridoo to the World. Kristian Benton is fast becoming one of the worlds most sought after didgeridoo performers and craftsman. Kristian’s art, music and language studies are his personal connection to his own ancestors the Ngemba people of northwest NSW. After over twenty years of dedication to his art and learning his culture, Kristian’s perseverance is paying off. His musical and artistic talents are a gift he shares throughout his local community .Gumbaynggirr country on the north coast of NSW as well as his homeland of inland NSW and all around the world.

Kristian Benton

Kristian’s talent for finding and making concert quality instruments goes side by side with his expertise in playing them. This is an unbeatable combination and a valuable asset as this allows him to make didgeridoos to very specific standards for his own satisfaction and enjoyment. Through this he is able to refine both his skill in crafting fine instruments and also his playing ability. Not many Didgeridoo/ Yidaki crafters can claim to excel in both areas.

Kristian Benton was born in 1975 and grew up in central NSW in Orange (Wiradjuri Country). He has released three successful albums to date (Yidaki Vibes, Spirit Alive and Learn the Didgeridoo) and is hoping to release his forth and finest album later this year.

In the last four years Kristian has traveled to many international destinations and has had some amazing and unforgettable performances and experiences. In 2011 Kristian went to Abu Dhabi and Dubai where he traveled all over the UAE performing live, on television, on radio, for government functions, at international schools and also for a local school in the desert.

In 2012 Kristian was invited by the Australian government to go to South Korea and represent the country as an indigenous artist/performer along with Jessica Mauboy and the amazing artist Billy Missi at the World Expo in Yeosu. Kristian made a total of four trips to South Korea and toured all over the country performing and holding workshops. One of the many amazing highlights Kristian had in South Korea was meeting and performing for Princess Mary and Prince Fredrick of Denmark. From there he had a trip to Mongolia where he performed at the Gala dinner to celebrate the 40th anniversary between Mongolia and Australia and he also performed at the WOW (World of Women) film festival.

In 2013 Kristian went to South Africa where he performed for the Australian High Commission, the Mining Indaba and also performed and held workshops for television and local schools.

Kristian is going back to South Africa for the Kalahari Desert Festival in late March 2014 and also has more local and international touring lined up for the rest of 2014.

Kristian Benton
Yidaki Vibes Didgeridoos
Kristian’s music on itunes
“Sticks with Spirit”