Meet The Artists
To celebrate this year's NAIDOC Week theme, BW Promotions have released an exclusive collection of garments with 3 main designs. We are proud to announce that we have collaborated with 3 Australian Indigenous Artists for this year's NAIDOC Week Range: Elizabeth Close, Karla McGrady & Joel Sam. Each talented artist has created their own interpretation of this year's theme, "Because Of Her We Can".
ELIZABETH CLOSE // BIO
Elizabeth Close is an Anangu woman from the Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara Language Groups in outback South Australia. Her work is a vibrant fusion of contemporary and traditional Aboriginal art styles; using vivid warmth to express her deep connection to the Central Australian landscape that she calls home, and bold designs that bring about awareness of issues that affect Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people. In addition to her canvas works, Elizabeth recently began painting large scale public art pieces, most notably are her pieces 'Municipal Gum' (95sqm) and 'Xylem' (70sqm), both located in the Adelaide CBD. Elizabeth now lives in Adelaide with her husband, three young children, and a dingo with no tail.
STORY BEHIND THE ART // "KUNGKA"
"Kungka" by Elizabeth Close
Kungka (the Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara word for Woman), celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and the integral part they play in the teaching and preservation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. Our women actively work to pass cultural knowledge on to our children, safeguarding our future; through song, dance, art and by bringing our children into the world and nurturing them, teaching us the practices that keep us culturally strong.
Our culture itself stands on the shoulders of every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Woman. Kungka celebrates the many ways that women do this, not just as mothers but as grandmothers, as sisters, as aunts, as nieces, as cousins, as friends. Family relationships are defined differently in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, labels are less important; but women connect us all. They form a never ending circle of life. And those women that went before us, who challenged the status-quo and asserted themselves as leaders, have paved the way for us today. Because of her, we can.
KARLA MCGRADY // BIO
Karla McGrady is a Gamilaraay woman, born and raised in Tenterfield NSW, her artwork reflects on stories and lessons learned throughout her life. Her work is inspired by her love of art and storytelling, encouraged by her family members that she would often spend hours sitting and watching them paint and draw. Her work often incorporates vibrant colours or earthy tones that help describe each individual story in a way that only she can tell it.
STORY BEHIND THE ART // "A TRIBUTE TO MY MOTHER"
"A Tribute To My Mother" by Karla
The painting tells the story of Aboriginal women in every aspect of life, the mother, the mentor, the friend, the sister, the daughter. The wisdom and strength we share with each other, the encouragement we give to one another in everything that we do. We lay the foundations that flow on to the next generation.
JOEL SAM // BIO
Joel Sam is a contemporary Indigenous artist residing in Cairns. He is a direct descendant of the clans of Saibai Island where he spent his early years before moving to Bamaga to complete high school, the place he calls home. His work explores his personal engagement with Torres Strait Island culture and family stories through the processes of printmaking and sculpture.
The use of traditional clan Minarel (pattern) embedded within his images is characteristic of Joel’s work. Totemic designs include Umai (dog), Koedal (crocodile), Baydham (shark), Waru (turtle) and Samu (cassowary) connected through ancient familial bonds. Often interwoven, these designs allow Joel to express a more intricate visual language representative of the complexities of his Saibai Island heritage.
STORY BEHIND THE ART // "BECAUSE OF HER WE CAN"
"Because Of Her We Can" by Joel Sam
A mother & baby is depicted in this artwork. The tree in this artwork resembles Her, as a mother nurtures her baby from birth. The body of the tree draws a solid foundation, in which our mothers, past and present were matriarch of their family. Their love grew with their children, as the tree deviates and curves as it grows, it represents different life events in our lives. Each tree branch, as it sprouts in different directions, signifies the different pathways in life, with the new leaf at the end representing a new generation. Encircled, is a mat pattern which plays an important part of life which connects us from past to present.
The five petal frangipanis represent; nurture, motivation, persistence, strength and achievement in life, as we celebrate ‘Because of Her we can’.