A self-described, full-time mother of two is hoping to turn her creative hobby into a career after winning a $10,000 dollar grant and the opportunity to illustrate the first children's book by prominent Indigenous author, Bruce Pascoe.
Charmaine Ledden-Lewis, a Bundjalung woman, was announced on Tuesday as the Magabala Books 2019 Kestin Indigenous Illustrator Award winner, securing the lucrative grant funded by the Kestin Family Foundation.
Along with the grant, Ms Ledden-Lewis will also undertake an illustration mentorship, telling NITV News she's excited about the opportunity.
“I am beyond elated, it very overwhelming, it’s very exciting, it’s a very proud moment to share with my family,” she said.
Spending her life disconnected from her culture due to the effects of the stolen generation, Ms Ledden-Lewis hopes this will provide her with more opportunities to deeply engage with her cultural heritage.
“We have this big disconnect from culture… through the efforts of my mum, we are trying to reconnect with our culture,” Ms Ledden-Lewis said.
“I am on a journey of reconnecting. I think this particular project will provide me with a really good opportunity to connect to the land and connect to the story that Bruce is writing.”
Magabala Books also launched the children's book Little Bird’s Day by Aboriginal writer, Sally Morgan which was illustrated by Yolŋu artist, Johnny Warrkatja Malibirr as he was the first winner of the Kestin Indigenous Illustrator Award.
The children's book, Little Bird’s Day, tells the tale of a bird who wishes to travel with the wind and fly among the stars. Mr Malibirr shared his excitement, knowing his work would be admired by thousands of children and parents across the nation.
“I was really proud of me when they were buying the books from me… I am really excited,” Mr Malibirr told NITV News.