NAIDOC artist of the year brightens our shopping centres

These are the inspiring words of 2017 NAIDOC Artist of the Year, Elverina Johnson, a Gurugulu and Yidinji Gimuy woman from Yarrabah, one of Australia’s largest Aboriginal communities, near Cairns.

Elverina’s impressive artworks were on show at seven Lendlease shopping centres around the country, including Lakeside Joondalup in WACraigieburn Central north of Melbourne, Macarthur Square and Erina Fair in New South Wales and Sunshine PlazaCaneland Central and Cairns Central in Queensland.

The artworks, displayed on large format digital screens, depict the sea creatures and coral of the Great Barrier Reef as well as the earthy, ochre tones of the tropical rainforest.  
Involved in the visual and performing arts industry for over 25 years, Elverina’s enduring ties to her culture inspire the stories in her artworks, portraying the natural abundance and beauty of her ancestral homelands.

She said, “Art is a great way to bring about positive change in communities like Yarrabah. I use arts to nurture young leaders and help them take pride in themselves and appreciate their talents.”

Elverina is supported by Mainie, an Aboriginal owned ethical, fair trade, fashion and giftware brand. Mainie’s collection of wearable art is digitally printed with Aboriginal artworks by Walpiri women artists of the Tanami Desert in Central Australia, Yalanji artists at Mossman Gorge,  and Dirringhi Arts in Yarrabah, Tropical North Queensland. Elverina’s work is displayed on a collection of silk scarves, resort wear and men’s fashion accessories, featuring ten of her ‘reef and rainforest’ designs. Royalties from each sale are returned to the artists.

The artworks will be on display in our retail centres until December. 

Preview Elverina’s collection below. 

Buluru - Wiwi Mundu Murrba  (Story Time - Heart, Spirit and Breath Under the Water) 

‘Wiwi Mundu Murrba’ means Heart, Spirit and Breath under the Water. The story describes the life and breath of the ocean and the reef and all that lives in it. The reef is the heart of the sea and without it, the life in the ocean will not survive.

The Gungganji Aboriginal people are the traditional owners of the coastal land, islands and waters in Far North Queensland. The Gungganji have long depended on the reef as a source of food and life.   


Buluru – Djungumu Garbara (Story Time – Mangrove Life)

This artwork depicts a traditional Buluru (Story Time). ‘Garbara’ is the name given to the Mangrove tree by the Gungganji people from the Yarrabah region.  

The Mangroves environment is an important source of traditional foods for the Gungganji people. ‘Djungumu Garbara’ are creatures found in the mangroves, which are gathered as food.  

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