DETAIL : Jimmy BAKER 'Katatjita' 2006 synthetic polymer paint on canvas, Courtesy of Marshall Arts Aboriginal Fine Art Gallery, � Jimmy Baker

HAMM, Treahna

As an Indigenous artist, the sharing of stories and making of art promotes a growth of understanding and a continuation of our culture. Art also supports dialogue and helps people to heal, by creating bonds between individuals and communities, through the linking of identity, land, people and places. Telling our stories and making our art regenerates the past, the present and the future.

When I make art, I delve deeply into who I am. I get inside the questions which reflect individual narratives as well as total community experience. Whatever I learn through historical or cultural knowledge reveals something to me about myself. There is a drive in finding out and in creating. Where I create is a safe space. Going deep within me is a point of pure creation, where there are no words. There is no sound, no smell, and no touch – just the personal experience. Everything I produce is like little pieces of my soul entwined from different experiences I have had.

I commenced art school in 1982 when visual art content was based on mainstream artists and their experiences; I later discovered Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative Ltd in Sydney and that my art and its themes were reflected in the work of other Indigenous artists. In 1988 I began my journey back to my Indigenous family to reconnect with my cultural history. This was achieved in 1992. Creating art is important to me as it connects me, my art and my family together.

The work of Indigenous artists nation-wide, both traditional and urban, can fill a void that has existed for so long in Australian society; it can tell the ‘collective’ experience of our people. Indigenous history and culture has never been taught through Indigenous experiences, thoughts and stories. Indigenous art sustains and continues the very long history of this land. The storytelling of culture through art is a means to redress and balance the telling of Australian history.