“Our Young Mob” Practitioner’s Statements

Last week, we published a story celebrating the Year 8 students in our Aboriginal Art program who have had their work selected for the upcoming “Our Young Mob” exhibition (Adelaide Festival Centre – August 31st to October 14th).

The young artists involved have also agreed to have their accompanying practitioner’s statements published. We hope you enjoy reading about the inspirations, themes, messages and techniques associated with their impressive works.


Sabrina Burgoyne / Wirangu/Kokatha / 13 years old

I wanted to create a painting that expresses my love for the water. The ocean, water in the dam on our farm, the rain…

In winter we use to look for tadpoles with my brother and sister. We would all go up to the dam in the top paddock at our farm in Purler near Cummins.


“Colours” (acrylic on board)

Sharneil Roderick Varcoe

This painting started by me experimenting with patterns. I really liked the geometric patterns that I drew and decided to do a painting. I discovered Betty Mbitjana’s paintings and I was attracted to her use of colour, inspiring me to incorporate bright colours in my painting. The contrast of the white and dark purple work well to highlight the vibrant colours.


“Visiting Country with Nanna” (acrylic on canvas)

Tahnisha Lambadgee / 13 years old

This dot painting is based on Santa Teresa in the NT. It’s about me and my Nanna going to the sacred land doing women’s business and watching the women dance, although I can’t say any more about what happens in the women’s business. I decided to do a dot painting that reminds me of Nanna and the women’s business.

From the bottom of the canvas the orange, aqua and darker orange reminds me of the billabongs where I went walking with my mum and dad. In the next section the blue, purple and dark purple reminds me of when the rain comes out and the bush tucker and the flowers and trees are all nice and fresh ready to go, the bush tucker is ready to be picked. The lighter orange, darker orange, and the greens reminds me of the bush bananas on the outside of the fruit. The orange and darker orange reminds me of the Santa Teresa church which has an aboriginal Jesus and colourful paintings on the wall and canvas. The green and different purples on top of the canvas reminds me of Santa Teresa where all my Dads family come from. Rows of white and silver dots divide each quarter representing different memories that I have from over the years. The painting makes me feel that I am back in Santa Teresa, a happy place for me to be.


“Fishing at Coffins” (acrylic on canvas)

Cooper Miller / Wirangu / 13 years old

This is a painting of a day I remember at the Coffin Bay jetty. I was down there fishing. I use mussels as bait that I collect from the jetty when I get there, you can go down the ladder and collect the mussels from the jetty pylons. I usually catch little sand whiting when I fish there.

I spend some time living in Coffin Bay and some time in Port Lincoln. I go fishing to chill out, it is good to be by myself and relax as I fish.


“Sand Dunes at The Shack” (acrylic and aerosol on canvas)

Kynan Hirschausen / Pitjantjatjara / 13 years old

My great Grandpa, great Grandma, Grandad and my Auntie lived at some shacks just past North Shields on a farm owned by an old man, he used to let my family live there. I spent a lot of time there on weekends and holidays, fishing and swimming. The water was always warm and calm. I remember we would get a jar and collect the red dirt from around the area, add water to make a paint that we would paint on our bodies.

The green in the background of my painting was created by an action painting technique and represents the vegetation around the land. The red and orange is a representation of the sand and red dirt that is around the sand dunes with the sgraffito over the top of the checkers showing where we would walk. The checkers are cut up canvas that idea came from the young farmer kicking my family off the land so the checkers represent the broken land.


“Camouflage” (acrylic and aerosol on board)

Deklan Males / Mirning / 14 years old

I experimented with an ‘action painting’ style using drips, aerosol stencilling with natural objects and cut stencils, waving dripping action using paints and spatulas.

I painted three panels on board and then decided to use a camo print because it reminds me of animals that hide in the bush and try to camouflage to get away from their predators.

I think of the rabbits that were introduced to Australia and that the native Wedge Tailed Eagles as their predators. I have a mixed background….I am a Mirning artist with connections to my western culture.

I think this painting shows that there are lots of layers to people, who they are and where they come from. I feel proud of who I am and of my family.


“Bloodlines” (acrylic on canvas with wool, raffia and leather)

Cooper Miller / Wirangu / 13 years old

This is my bloodline, this is who I am. I am white and I am black. The pattern over the top is as if an arrow is going in one direction. The background colour is a copper red with printed natural leaves of a gumtree on the mixed media painting. The gold on the arrow and on the X is a symbol of the future of my life in making good choices and goals. With wool, raffia around the edges of the arrows and the X in the middle of the painting marks the spot in my life and where I am.

I feel good about what I have accomplished with my painting.

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