What would you do differently to what you do now?
I’m in the process of giving up cigarettes, so I would like not to smoke into the future. I’m pretty happy with where I’m at in my life as the journey hasn’t always been an easy one. My life’s purpose is to understand who I am and my connection back to my Ngarigo family in a more meaningful way has help settled my restless spirit. Art making has helped me make sense of that journey.
Who inspires you and why?
Artistically I’m inspired by the 1980s New York Street art scene and also by Indigenous rock art both here in Australia and across the globe. I love layers and it’s very much like life, one thing on top of another. I’ve made a home for myself in Melbourne and I’m nourished by the Koori arts and health community. Cultural connection is really important in a city.
What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Hopefully the work I do in health and art does make a difference to people. I find myself working with marginalised Aboriginal people and supporting them is a positive thing. I’m being called Uncle, Aunty and Ancle (a mix of Aunty and Uncle) by younger members of the Koori Community. So I hope I’m a good role model and that I send the message that we are all great just the way we are.
Favourite holiday destination and why?
I love scary roller coasters so I like visiting theme parks on my holidays at least for one day. I’ve been very blessed to be able to travel to many places and I do love Mexican food and culture. I also like visiting ancient rock art sites as it’s important to me spiritually. I don’t have one favourite destination!
When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I love coffee and I love art – two things that Melbourne does well – so that’s what we would be doing. I think the Koorie Heritage Trust and the First people’s exhibition at Melbourne Museum are great places for visitors to engage with Victorian Aboriginal Culture.
What are you currently reading?
I’m not reading anything right now, but the next book on my list is a crime fiction called Hiding for Nothing by Andy Muir, who is a dear friend. And we need to support our arts friends.
What are you currently listening to?
My tastes in music vary immensely but I catch up on pop charts and new releases on RAGE on Saturday mornings. It’s a bit of a ritual.
Happiness is making peace with your spirit after many years of feeling like a real outsider in the world.
What does the future hold for you?
The future is a solo art show at the Koorie Heritage Trust in the Yarra Building at Federation Square, Melbourne. It’s called insideOUT and runs until July 28 2019. Watch out for a short documentary on NITV later in the year with the same name.
Image: Peter Waples-Crowe (supplied)