At just 20 years of age, Emma Hollingsworth is taking the Aussie art scene by storm (& paintbrush)! We are stoked to be collaborating with Emma for our NAIDOC 2019, "Voice, Treaty, Truth" collection.
We had a chat with Emma to find out more about her & her goals for the future!
Tell us about yourself in 3 sentences!
I'm a Kaanju/ Kuku Ya'u/ Girrimary woman living in sunny Brisbane. I'm an artist and a model and I'm very lucky to be able to call this work. I love my family and my culture and will continue to strive to share y story and my culture with the world.
What does your artwork mean to you?
To me, it represents life on the coast and its importance to me. I grew up on the beach and spent a lot of my time foraging for fresh fruits from the trees or swimming in the ocean or creeks where I would collect Minya. Whether it was crabs, fish or yabbies, the waters and the land had an abundance of food. I felt very proud of creating Coastal Dreaming because I was able to reflect on how we lived traditionally up until now. We rely on the sea to provide for us; we fish sustainably and we bathe in the waters that the earth provides.
We understand mother nature and we respect our land. We are custodians; we take care of our land and it is something we have been doing for thousands of years. Maybe if we bring people together, we could begin to fix the current environmental disasters or even prevent them for happening by using traditional methods, thus leaving a beautiful land for future generations so they may live healthily, happily and safely.
"Coastal Dreaming" by Emma Hollingsworth
What has been your proudest memory to date?
Having my first residency and exhibition with Digi Youth Arts (DYA) last year at the Queensland Museum. That was a huge goal of mine to exhibit at a museum, and having my work displayed among other incredible works and artefacts at a prestigious institution was an honour. I'm proud of myself for putting myself out there and accomplishing that at 20 years old, thus kick-starting my career as an Indigenous artist.
What do you love most about creating art?
I love that I can express myself through art. I can use it as a platform to communicate my thoughts and feelings, which is important as a young Indigenous woman growing up and finding her way in this modern world. I also love that my art brings people together; it opens the door for conversation and acts as a vehicle for understanding. I am able to tell my mobs story and share my culture through beautiful artworks and that is very important in today's society. It gives a new light to my culture.
How do you feel about people wearing your art out and about?
It's crazy! It's always been a dream of mine to have my work on clothing for people to wear, as I love fashion. To think it's actually happening now is so insane! I'm probably going to squeal if I bump into someone wearing my design!
What's next for you? Any big goals or dreams for the future?
I'm a dreamer, so yes - of course! One day I hope to see my work at fashion weeks, galleries and museums all over the world. I want to be able to travel and paint and show the world my culture through my eyes, and let them be awed by its complex depth and beauty. For now, I will continue to work on my collaborations and to bring people together through my art; bringing joy and light to people's homes. One initiative I also want to do is create an art program for young people suffering from mental illness, and even those who simply feel stuck. As someone who has been through similar things, my connection to culture and being able to paint gave me some healing and I'd love to offer that to other young people.
I'm incredibly blessed that people choose me to create for them and that they trust me with that process. In that case, I need to express my gratitude to everyone who's made all this possible as well because I wouldn't be here without those that buy my art, or those who encouraged me and gave me opportunities and led me down this wonderful path. So thank you.
Think Emma is pretty darn cool? So do we! You can follow her on Instagram here.