Art’s always been in our lives. I didn’t even realise that Dad was painting or was artistic at all. That changed when I went down to Adelaide for a basketball trip. He had our whole team come over to this studio. It was mind boggling for me, let alone everybody else.
What I saw was a transition of his work. He used to do a traditional kind of iconography which was family story telling artwork. I doubt if anyone’s ever actually seen that work which included a lot of carvings. Then he moved to more of a full time career. He was engaging people and bringing them into the cultural story through his elements series. It was striking art.
I’d definitely never seen art like that when I was young. I’d only been exposed to traditional ochres. These were mostly drawings because we were close to Arnhem Land and a lot of x-ray style images. His new work was something I’d never seen. Even then I walked away from that day knowing that now that’s what he did. I still didn’t understand that art was ever going to be a path for me.
Then when I finished school I moved to Adelaide to go to university and started to play netball for the State side. I moved in with my sister and my Dad. My sister was already working with him, learning his techniques and promoting the culture. I was just around and that’s when it kind of captured my life. I didn’t think, and he would never have thought, that I was going to be an artist.