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Kieren Clarke

Year 12
School: Safety Bay Senior High
Medium: Acrylic paint and mixed media on canvas

Artist statement: My artwork was inspired by traditional Aboriginal techniques and responded to the theme Me, Myself and I. I also drew inspiration from portraits by Lionel Smit. I found the way he incorporates South African culture into his subjects intriguing. Whether it be the colour scheme, composition or techniques, Lionel has a unique way of conveying culture and history. Researching his background brought out the passion I have for my Aboriginal heritage. It got me thinking about the approach I could take, the people I could talk to and the materials I could benefit from. The path I took followed my ancestry. Everything from the colour scheme and materials, to the symbols in the background and foreground, have inhabited my cultural inheritance. The warm oranges, yellows and reds represent my mother’s side, the Yamaji tribe, which maintains a strong relationship with the sun. The contrasting cool blues represent my father’s side, the Koori tribe, who value the sea as a source of food. I chose to use the warm colours for my background because, although I’m both Yamaji and Koori, I was raised in Western Australia surrounded by Yamaji land.

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