Words by Dani Coombes
Peta Joy Williams, a proud Wiradjuri woman hailing from Sydney, is deeply rooted in the traditions of both her inland and saltwater cultures. This dual heritage forms the foundation of her artistic inspiration, drawing from the unique elements of these diverse landscapes.
From an early age, PJ's passion for the arts blossomed, as she began painting Aboriginal art during her Pre-School years. Throughout her educational journey, PJ's remarkable pieces found their way into various competitions, showcasing her talent and commitment to her craft. After completing High School, she pursued her artistic education further, obtaining a Cert IV in Aboriginal Art and Cultural Practices and a Diploma in Fine Arts.
Presently, PJ is an instructor at Eora College, where she imparts her knowledge of Wiradjuri language and culture while organising engaging art workshops and mural projects. Besides teaching, she also single-handedly operates Wiradjuri Wave, a platform where she creates custom Aboriginal artworks on sports paraphernalia and fashion items.
Art has been PJ's lifelong companion, and her work has graced various platforms, including gifts for the hockey world cup, posters, Christmas cards, skateboards, and CD covers, among others. The recognition for her talent continued to grow as she became a finalist for the student art prize during her diploma studies at the Eora Centre of TAFE in Chippendale. PJ’s skills earned her the title in the Bayside Council inaugural First Nations Art Competition, an accolade that further solidified her position as a distinguished artist.
PJ's creations have been showcased in numerous prominent galleries throughout Australia, capturing the hearts and imaginations of art enthusiasts and admirers of Aboriginal culture alike. Her artistry also finds expression in the form of striking murals showcased at various locations across New South Wales.
Beyond her artistic endeavours, Williams also nurtured a profound connection to her heritage through language. Learning from her son's father and rekindling her interest when her son, Baylun, came to her wanting to learn, she developed proficiency in Wiradjuri language. This knowledge empowered her to teach Wiradjuri to her students, many of whom are Elders. Through this endeavour, she both revitalises and passes on the invaluable cultural legacy.
In 2021, PJ's work took centre stage during Reconciliation Week when her Weaving piece was projected onto Leichhardt Town Hall, symbolising the significance of Indigenous art in promoting understanding and unity.
Peta Joy Williams embodies cultural pride and artistic flair, weaving her heritage and creative expression to inspire and educate others. Through her passion for art and commitment to preserving Wiradjuri culture, she continues to make an impact on the art world and her community, leaving behind a lasting legacy for generations to come.
For more information on Peta Joy Williams and her art, check out https://www.wiradjuriwave.com/
To check out Peta Joy’s polo designs and products from our other featured artists, head on over to https://bwtribal.com/.