Honouring Country through art – Jacinta-rai

Written by Shaun Ryan

Sharing the need to protect our oceans, marine life and coastlines is a major theme being incorporated into the latest painting by Hervey Bay artist Jacinta-rai.

Jacinta-rai, a contemporary Indigenous artist, said she drew inspiration from this year’s NAIDOC Week theme Heal Country, heal our nation when planning the artwork.

“I hope this painting when finished will remind us of this message all year round and not just for one week of the year,” she said.

NAIDOC Week, held in July every year, celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Jacinta-rai uses her artwork to tell stories – just like her ancestors did before her.

“I use earthy tones and peachy pinks, mixed with brighter colours to create a journey that I hope people will connect with.

“My art is contemporary, modern and connects to Country. The colours, patterns, stories and symbols I use are inspired by my heritage,” she said.

Art has always been a passion for the 29-year-old but she only really started working with contemporary expression about two-years-ago.

“Acrylic paint on canvas is definitely my favourite.”

As a proud Worimi woman living in Butchulla Country, Jacinta-rai said it was important for her to keep her culture alive and evolving through her contemporary art. Her motivation comes from Country.

“From the trees, sand, water ways, the sun, earth and wildlife to our ancestors and people – they all motivate me to create different stories others can connect with. My children and our future generations also influence the stories told through my art,” she said.

Commenting on some of her greatest achievements as an artist, Jacinta-rai said she was excited elements from her painting ‘Flourish’ would be incorporated into the T-shirts of the Australian Junior Invitational Triathlon this year.

“It’s a huge honour,” she said.

Looking ahead, Jacinta-rai said she wanted to continue creating beautiful art and see where the journey takes her.

Publishing a children’s book is another project she would love to explore.

Meanwhile, Jacinta-rai said the Fraser Coast was an inspiring place to live for any artist.

“We have many talented artists in the area who are so inspiring. Our creative community is growing and it’s so amazing to see.

“Lee Lee Creative and Aunty Karen Hall-Blackman are two of my local favourites.”

For more information in Jacinta-rai and her artwork, head over to http://www.byjacintarai.com.au or follow Byjacintarai on Facebook and Instagram.