Artists and Artworks

Leah Brideson

Leah Brideson Indigenous Artist Portrait

Kiya Watt

Kiya Watt Indigenous Artist Portrait

Joel Sam

Joel Sam Indigenous Artist Portrait

Karla McGrady

Karla McGrady Indigenous Artist Portrait

Alison Simpson

Alison Simpson Indigenous Artist Portrait

BW Tribal

bw tribal in house designs

Leah Brideson

Leah Brideson Indigenous Artist Portrait

Leah is an Aboriginal woman born in Canberra, ACT. My mob are Kamilaroi from my Grandmothers country in the Gunnedah region. I am a self-taught Contemporary Aboriginal Artist and began painting at a very young age. I have been painting in a professional capacity for over 7 years.

"Art is such an important platform to share my culture with the wider community. My art is like a 'visual yarn', people really connect with the stories and meaning behind the work".

Water Illuminated

water illuminated artwork

Water Illuminated is a representation of the flow of water on country. The sun rays enlighten the ripples of the water and the underlying texture of country as the water flows through.

I appreciate looking at the little details and finding different ways to paint movement and flow with colour intertwined, particularly water and its ever changing colours as it reflects and dances with light.

Emptiness

emptiness artwork

This artwork is reflective of the emptiness felt whilst living off country.

There is something about being on country that makes me feel whole, a connection that goes beyond words.

Country sings to me and guides an open pathway home under the guidance of my ancestors.

Life Source

life source artwork

Life Source is a representation of the Namoi river in Gunnedah and Mooki river in Breeza, with parallels to the Murrumbidgee river in ACT, particularly during the dry season.

As a young child travelling back to country, I always sensed a great connection to these stretches of water, particularly from hearing stories of my dad and my grandmother playing down by the river with their siblings, cousins and friends. The dryness of my country is depicted in the cracked earth and the gradual vibrancy dots toward the river embodies the importance of caring for our waterways that sustain life.

Oceans Edge

oceans edge artwork

Oceans Edge represents the flow and relationship between land and ocean from an aerial perspective. There is a lot happening in our lives, we sometimes forget to slow down and we lose the flow. Relating the constant tide coming in and out and the untiring flush of waves to the ups and downs in our lives puts things in perspective.

Looking out to the ocean reminds me to take a breath, take a step back, ground my feet in the Earth, focus on family and what is important right now, and find a better flow to the busyness of life. The first rush of salt water over my feet as I step in to the ocean is a feeling of freedom.

She Sings to me from the Dreaming

she sings to me from the dreaming artwork

She sings to me from the Dreaming is a representation of my Grandmothers country and the legacy of life and love she left us. Painted up with golds and bronzes, these colours depict the beauty, magic and rich stories from my Grandmother and her birth place, Kamilaroi country.

The three circles are representative of my Grandmothers journeys in relation to my own, learning about our people, our country and our culture and the great connection to our ancestors and the Dreaming.

Warrangal Dhawn Strong Ground

warranggal dhawun strong ground artwork

This artwork reflects the strength in connection we have with our homelands, our country. Our connection to country layers deep through Home and beyond, strengthening with each generation. Country holds our ancestors spirits.

Country is our lifeline. Country is our identity. Our connection to country is who we are. It is vital that we continue to amplify her voice, to strengthen her future, in order for ours and the next generations to thrive.

Yaliwunga Nguwa

yaliwunga nguwa artwork

This artwork represents the NADIOC theme, "Always Was, Always Will Be" through our ongoing connection to this country, our Mother Earth. We have been here for 65,000+ years. We have survived through environmental change, through colonisation and the continual impacts of both because we hold the knowledge of how to care for country, with her in turn caring for us. Country is central to our being, our reason and our life source.

We have a fundamental role in ensuring her voice is heard, her needs are met and to ensure she stays healthy for our children's futures by treading lightly and fighting for her. The pathways symbolise sharing her voice across the land, whilst the meeting place depicts coming together, listening, learning, taking action and acknowledging the knowledge, cultures, and longstanding custodianship and connection to the country of First Nations People.

Yaraay Dhurra-Li Sunrise

yaraay dhurra-li sunrise artwork

Yaraay Dhurra-li, is a symbolism of our mob getting up every day, standing up every day and showing up every day, just like the sun does. Although some days are cloudy, we are still here and we are still pushing through, standing our ground, and waiting to be heard.

Within this artwork, layers of wavy outlines of people stretch across, acknowledging those who came before us and continuing on their legacy, and recognising the allies, who join with us every day, elevating our voices. The colours are those of the sunrise, warming the land, giving life and energy in moving forward. Get up, stand up and show up, just like the sun does each day, and together we will be stronger!

Maaruma-Li (Heal)

maaruma-li heal artwork

Maaruma-li represents the 2021 NAIDOC theme, ‘Heal Country’ through the lenses of connection and active listening. The river lines through the middle symbolise the continuous journey of our relationship and connection to Country that starts before time and goes beyond words.

Country is our life line. Our identity is embedded in Country. We are all Country’s children, we are her voice and we all have a responsibility to protect and heal her. The concentric circles throughout the painting represent First Nations voices and taking the time to actively listen and learn from us about ways we have been healing Country for thousands of years. For. Thousands. Of. Years!

If Country’s voice won’t be heard, we need to continue to amplify it for her protection and for the futures of our Children. The journey lines are connecting these voices across the Country and strengthening them to create real, active and overdue change.

 


Kiya Watt

kiya watt indigenous artist

Kiya Watt is a Menang/Gnudju artist born and raised on Noongar boodjah (land) I am located in south west of Australia and currently reside in Albany WA. I have been painting for about 2 years now. I paint contemporary styles using my cultural knowledge to educate and share stories. I use art as a platform to advocate about issues I am passionate about. My family has suffered from government policies so I want to raise awareness around the issues my mob face today due to inter generational trauma.

I also hope to inspire other mob to paint and embrace their culture as it is vital for us to have a cultural identity in our communities. Painting has brought so many positive opportunities into my life and I hope through my art everyone can learn something throughout my Journey.

Our Elders are our Leaders

our elders are our leaders artwork

The Yakan's in my culture connect to the storyline's of my Boodjah. This is a contemporary piece reflecting the Importance of our Elders in community. The two larger turtles are the Elders guiding, protecting and teaching the smaller turtles who are the Kiolangarahs.

The circles are the spirit of their ancestors celebrating the healing that comes from the work being done through this journey.

Yakans

yakans artwork

This is a painting depicting the Yakans (which is the Noongar word for long neck turtles) journey.

The circles represent the ngamar (waterholes) and the white lines connecting them show the movements and spirit of the Yakans.

As they travel together to lay their eggs around pinjars (lakes).

Let's Fight Together (Naidoc 2022)

let's fight together artwork kiya watt

Systemic racism is by nature attached to so much trauma as a nation we’ve been conditioned to believe it is a dirty word.

My artwork represents what get up, stand up and speak up represents to my family proud Menang Gnudju tribal people from the sovereign Noongar Nations.

Feeling empowered through truth telling and abolishing systemic racism through this process.

Wagual (Rainbow Serpent)

wagul rainbow serpent artwork kiya watt

We believed the wagual rainbow serpent created the lands and oceans by moving across the world.

He was a huge spiritual being with
rainbow skin.

When he shed his rainbow skin he filled the lands with all the colours we see today.

Healing Boodjah

healing boodjah artwork kiya watt

This painting represents this years NAIDOC theme which is healing country. Boodjah in my Noongar language means country. The blues represent our Wardarn (Ocean) the green represents our Boodjah whilst the white represents my ancestors and their spirits healing and protecting our countries.

The circles represent stars, suns and families whom all are connected together to protect and live as one on this Boodjah.

 


Joel Sam

Joel Sam Indigenous Artist Portrait

Joel Sam is a contemporary Indigenous artist residing in Cairns. He is a direct descendant of the clans of Saibai Island where he spent his early years before moving to Bamaga to complete high school, the place he calls home. His work explores his personal engagement with Torres Strait Island culture and family stories through the processes of printmaking and sculpture.

The use of traditional clan Minarel (pattern) embedded within his images is characteristic of Joel’s work. Totemic designs include Umai (dog), Koedal (crocodile), Baydham (shark), Waru (turtle) and Samu (cassowary) connected through ancient familial bonds. Often interwoven, these designs allow Joel to express a more intricate visual language representative of the complexities of his Saibai Island heritage.

Always Was, Always Will Be

always was, always will be artwork joel sam

This artwork represent the occupation of this great Land by the First Nation People for over 65,000 years. Generations from different nations and culture have settled this beautiful vast land. The artwork shows, as the First Nation people are represented by the Torres Strait Island Dhari, the Australian Aboriginal Woomera which is a spear throwing device, the fish hook which represent Pacific Islanders, the Papua New Guinea spear, clan markings and rip curls are just the many different cultures that have entwined to create a multicultural society.

he design portrays a mixture of different cultures, these images are presented in the artwork. As the waves breaks, the dawning of a new day, each and every day, we as First Nation People, stand proud as we have endured so much in our past history and as we move forward, acknowledge and embrace the true history of this country.

Coconut Shell

coconut shell artwork joel sam

The three fish hooks symbolise strength, good luck and safe travels, wherever we travel we need water to keep us going. This depicts the coconut shell water bottle which represents rebirth of life in different forms.

Dhawdhaypa Dhoey Nithapa (Healing the Land) Naidoc 2021

healing the land artwork Joel Sam

My Artwork for this year NAIDOC 2021, the two hands in unity for both First Nation People of this land Australia, the Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. Their country and islands have suffered immensely from global warming and climate changes. This have affected their traditional country, homelands and islands, as such in the Torres Strait islands which have directly impacted low level islands with rising sea level. We also see extreme weather patterns around Australia, causing great impact on our people’s lives.

The dhoeri and didgeridoo represent our dances and songs, which can aide in healing our land. We are resilient people, who connect spiritually to our country and Islands through our kinship, language, traditions and Lore, this entwines our First Nation people. The different totemic/clan designs represent our identity. The hands with the pouring of water symbolise cleansing and regrowth, in harmony for the future generation of our people.

Get Up Stand Up Show Up (Naidoc 2021)

get up stand up show up artwork Joel Sam

Our people have been through a lot, they have toil and fought against oppression, and we are still fighting the injustice. We have come this far, our people, we are resilient and have endured hardships, but we never gave up.

My artwork display the different patterns which represent people from different clans and tribal group whether indigenous or non-indigenous coming together in unison, ‘stop marking time in one spot’ it’s time to Get Up! challenge the system for change, this is depicted with the clenched fist holding the war club (Gaba Gaba) rising from the land, our ancestors were warriors, Time to Stand Up! make our voice heard.

The Torres Strait Island dhari featured relates to Identity, as we move forward, Show Up! to address issues within our communities, climate changes, protection of our country both land and sea and sacred sites. In solidarity for our future generations.

Voice Truth & Treaty

voice truth treaty artwork Joel Sam

In this artwork it depicts the two warriors from the two Indigenous Nations of Australia. The Torres Strait Islander warrior blowing a trumpet (Bu) shell which represents that calling of people to a gathering. As the same with the Aboriginal warrior, the clapping of the boomerang guiding & welcoming people to the gathering, with one voice.

The patterns in the front and on the sleeves represent people from all different clan groups. As the people walk towards Uluru which signify the heart/center of Australia, the ongoing struggles, the arches with people past, present and future working with the different tier of Governments to achieve the truth the inclusion of indigenous people in decision making, the scroll on the back artwork resembles the treaty.

 


Karla McGrady

Karla McGrady Artist Portrait

Karla McGrady is a Gamilaraay woman, born and raised in Tenterfield NSW, her artwork reflects on stories and lessons learned throughout her life.

Her work is inspired by her love of art and storytelling, encouraged by her family members that she would often spend hours sitting and watching them paint and draw.

Her work often incorporates vibrant colours or earthy tones that help describe each individual story in a way that only she can tell it.

Warra-Li

Warra Li Artwork Karla McGrady

Acknowledging the determination, fight and wisdom of all those that have come before us and laid the foundations that we continue to build on. 

Standing in our sovereignty on these unceded lands, showing our strength and unity as a people, today and into the future.

Medicine Leaves

Medicine Leaves Artwork Karla McGrady

My people use Eurah leaves for cleansing and smoking ceremonies and other medicinal purposes, this piece represents the cleansing effect of using these traditional leaves to heal ourselves.


Alison Simpson

Alison Simpson Artist Portrait

My name is Alison Simpson (yalidyan – my Wiradjuri name). I am a Wiradjuri woman from central NSW as well as Wemba Wemba from northwest VIC and am culturally connected to many other places. I currently live and work on Djiriganj & Thaua countries within the Yuin nation where I have done so on and off over the past 25 years.

I commenced my artistic journey in 2013 where I started painting for therapeutic reasons and have done so in my spare time ever since. I have a brother and sister who are also Aboriginal artists. My artworks are considered as contemporary, and I generally use acrylic paints on canvas. My artworks are often quite bright using an array of different colours.

The inspiration for the narratives I create through my artworks come from the landscape, environment or surroundings which I am in, the people I am with and the experiences I encounter.

Jaanda Festival

Jaanda Festival Artwork Alison Simpson

Jaanda (pronounced jarn - da) is an Aboriginal word from the ‘south coast language as spoken by Elders’ language dictionary and means humpback whale. From May to November each year, the humpback whales – or the Jaanda - start their migration South to Antarctica.

Between August and November, you will see many of these Jaanda on the far south coast of NSW where they stop along the way to feed their young. During this time, they put on a spectacular show for onlookers who get to witness these majestic animals in the wild breaching and doing tail slaps, just like their having their own Jaanda festival.

 


BW Tribal In-House Designs

bw tribal in house designs

BW Tribal is a 100% Australian Indigenous Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander owned and operated Australian brand with our creative hub situated in Brisbane, QLD.

With Australian Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and South Sea Islander heritage interwoven within our brand we offer authentic designs with cultural knowledge and customs. We create our own in-house designs as well as support different indigenous artists across Australia.

Aboriginal Australia

Aboriginal Australia artwork bw tribal

This design is a representation of the Aboriginal flag and the connection that Aboriginal People have with the land. The black symbolises Aboriginal people. The yellow represents the sun, the constant re-newer of life.

Red depicts the earth and peoples relationship to the land. For thousands of years our people cared for the land, depended on it to provide and sustain their survival while living as one with it.

Blue Desert Flower

blue desert artwork bw tribal

The desert flowers artwork depicts the beautiful flowers in the desert from an aerial perspective. Wildflowers in different colours grow everywhere, even with small amounts of rain they bloom.

The desert artwork comes in different shades to show different contrasting colours.

Connection to Country

connection to country artwork bw tribal

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island People have a Connection to Country (Australia) that has been forded over thousands of years of affiliation with the land and sea. That has been demonstrated through endless years of accent practices of hunting and gathering, ceremony, oral history telling and caring for the country. This connected First Nations People to the land in an interwoven existence and not just living upon it.

This land is our inheritance that has been passed down from generation to generation and is the birthright of every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island person. With this birthright comes a responsibility to continue to practice traditional lore, culture and Connection to Country that is still ongoing today. In this modern day it is also the responsibility of all Australians to learn to care for this country.

Makarrata's Journey

makarrata's journey artwork bw tribal

Makarrata is a Yolngu word describing a process of conflict resolution, peacemaking and justice (peace after a dispute). The term Makarrata has long been proposed as an alternative name for the treaty process in this country. In this piece the people represent all the nationalities that make up Australia today and within the people the wording Voice, Treaty, Truth.

“A voice for the first nations people to be included in the decision making at the highest level of Government in Australia”

“Treaties to be made with the first nations people to right the wrongs in the past and to move forward together”

“Truth is the sharing of Australia’s true history towards the first nations people through all educational levels. Acknowledgement and inclusion of culture and langue and lore of the first nations people. The circle represents the coming together and moving forward of all Australia after the three core elements are attended too and resolved. The orange paths with the wording Makarrata represents the journey of the Treaty process that is still ongoing today. The green designs is the land of Australia land and the blue design is the water that surrounds this great country.

Pink Desert Flower

pink desert flower artwork bw tribal

The desert flowers artwork depicts the beautiful flowers in the desert from an aerial perspective.

Wildflowers in different colours grow everywhere, even with small amounts of rain they bloom. The desert artwork comes in different shades to show different contrasting colours.

Spiritual Country

spiritual country artwork bw tribal

First Nations people have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years. We are spiritually and culturally connected to this country. This country was criss-crossed by generations of brilliant Nations.

Hundreds of Nations and our cultures covered this continent. All were managing the land to sustainably provide for their future. Through ingenious land management systems like fire stick farming we transformed the harshest habitable continent into a land of bounty.

We are this Countries First Story (Spiritual Country - Always Was Always Will Be).

Two Parties

two parties artwork bw tribal

This Piece is about Two Parties (First Nations People and Australian Government) coming together after a struggle and working together for Australia’s shared future.

The orange circle in the middle and paths represent the ongoing journey of Australia from the past to present and future.

The blue circle in the middle with the people around it represents both parties sitting together once the first nations people are inclusive in the decision making for Australia’s future.

The coloured circles within the people represent all the different nationalities that make up Australia today.

The figures up top of the piece are the ancestors of the land and culture of Indigenous people that have been here since the beginning of time.

Purple Desert Flower

purple desert flower artwork bw tribal

The desert flowers artwork depicts the beautiful flowers in the desert from an aerial perspective.

Wildflowers in different colours grow everywhere, even with small amounts of rain they bloom. The desert artwork comes in different shades to show different contrasting colours.

Spiritual Country (Mono)

spiritual country mono artwork bw tribal

First Nations people have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years. We are spiritually and culturally connected to this country. This country was criss-crossed by generations of brilliant Nations.

Hundreds of Nations and our cultures covered this continent. All were managing the land to sustainably provide for their future. Through ingenious land management systems like fire stick farming we transformed the harshest habitable continent into a land of bounty.

We are this Countries First Story (Spiritual Country - Always Was Always Will Be).

Waterholes

waterholes artwork bw tribal

Waterholes are a living creation that expands and contracts throughout the seasons and a giver of life to many plants and animals of the land. When the wet season is strong the waterholes grow to be large and very plenty full.

When the wet season is mild the waterholes are smaller in size but always provide for the surrounding life that depends on them.

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