• Frances Belle Parker on the Ulgundahi Island on the Clarence River (NITV)Source: NITV
Stories from her Yaegl ancestors inspire the art of Frances Belle Parker, the youngest ever winner of the prestigious Blake Art Prize. NITV had a yarn with the artist ahead of her upcoming appearance on Colour Theory, Season 3.
By
Karina Marlow

9 Jun 2016 - 4:41 PM  UPDATED 13 Jun 2016 - 10:51 AM

Where do you currently live/work and where is country for you?

I live and work on country in Maclean NSW, Yaegl Country.

What are some of the inspirations behind your work?

Inspirations behind my work are my country, Yaegl Country, my family, my children. The stories of the landscape and the knowledge of my Elders and ancestors which has been passed down to me.

How do you think your identity shapes your work?

My identity shapes my work as my it is something that has been derived from the Yaegl people and the Yaegl Landscape. For me to create I need to live and breathe Yaegl country.

Why have your chosen your mediums as a creative tool?

Being able to create through visual art stems from being a visual person, I tell my stories through my art as a way of documenting my stories and the history of the Yaegl people. I do this not just for me but as a gift for the future generations of The Yaegl people.

"Whatever I create, however I create that, it will be Aboriginal art."

How do you use contemporary art forms to capture the stories of the oldest surviving culture?

I use a variety of contemporary art forms such as painting, printmaking and installation to convey the stories of the Yaegl culture, landscape and people. In whatever medium I choose to use I somehow incorporate types of layering into my work to represent the layering of culture.

How do you use your art as a vehicle for challenging the conceptions of other people?

The way in which I challenge people through my art is through subtlety embedding the messages I wish to portray within the work, e.g. I like to soften loud and important messages in my work because I want the audience to discover the importance of the work by spending time viewing and reading into the work rather than have a glaring, bold and obvious statement staring at them. Although I do strongly admire those artists who can directly speak their mind through their art.

What do you think your body of work says about you as an artist?

I would hope that my work speaks of my passion and respect and knowledge for my Country, my family, my mob. I am very proud of our beautiful Yaegl culture, and I am honoured to be able to share my knowledge through my art.

What achievement/exhibition are you the most proud of?

I'm proud of two exhibitions in particular, whether it's being a part of the Bungaree exhibition with Mosman Regional Gallery, curated by Djon Mundine or the most recent 'With Secrecy and Despatch' at Campbelltown Arts Centre curated by Tess Allas. Both of these projects, although completely different, created a turning point for my personal development in my practice.

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What is your next big project?

I've got a few things on the go at the moment. One project I'm currently working on is a project with Arts Northern Rivers called 'If these Halls Could Talk'. It's something fun and totally different to what I'm used to but I'm excited about it and privileged to be a part of it. It's about telling the stories of a community hall within the Northern Rivers within my chose art form.

What are you excited about in the Indigenous contemporary art scene?

I'm excited about how amazing the indigenous contemporary art scene has become in recent years, artists such as myself are constantly being encouraged to keep pushing the boundaries and the artwork that is being created is something pretty special and powerful. 

I'm in awe of the number of how many Aboriginal Artists are creating thought provoking work in a distinct style of their own.

Colour Theory airs on Sundays from 12 June at 9pm. Catch up on episodes with SBS On Demand HERE.