If you can tear your eyes away from the beauty above we’re here to introduce our AW19 Sydney Indigenous Program recipient Rachael Sarra. Discover the dream-like work of this talented young Aboriginal artist at The Cutaway, Barangaroo this May. Keep reading to discover more about Rachael’s love of visual storytelling and what makes her maker mind shine.
Tell us about how you use your art as a vehicle for storytelling?
I’ve always been better at expressing myself visually more than I am able to verbally. All of my works are an extension of my thoughts, feelings and emotions and how that connects to certain narratives. Traditionally, my culture uses storytelling to pass on knowledge, to celebrate and to mourn certain things in community. So for me storytelling through my work is connecting with people, sharing myself culture and also strengthening my identity.
Ultimately I’m a modern day Aboriginal woman and artist and for a long time and even to this day I struggled with what that is and what it means for myself. As well as wrestling how that is perceived by society. So I guess my art is my way of processing all of those thoughts and more. It’s essentially a far cheaper therapy session and something I can openly share with other people. I also think vehicle is a great work. Art is a vehicle for storytelling but it’s also a vehicle for change.
My work touches on themes of my own mental health challenges, my own identity crisis, my own experiences as a woman and more importantly my own experiences as an Aboriginal woman navigating two worlds.
And what I’ve found is I’m not alone in that journey and through my network of like minded creatives and followers what I create is work that people can relate to and often haven’t been able to articulate.
What’s your creative process and who or what inspires you?
It varies. Sometimes it’s a really long thought out process and sometimes it’s based off instinct/sporadic. If I don’t believe or feel connected with what I’m trying to create is never gets much further than a thought. I’m a Gemini so my attention span is often split between 1000 thoughts so some of the coolest pieces I’ve created have been super quick sketches that I’ve done on my iPad and then come back to finesse. The key for me is drawing what I’m thinking right away before I forget. I think an artists methodology is their unique feature and their strength. I was always really inspired by Andy Warhol and his process because it was a system that celebrated the imperfections of the process. And some of the coolest things I’ve done have been birthed from massive mistakes. I’m also really inspired his colours, Sally Gabori has that in common too. As well as the fact that she only started painting at 80 and created some of the most beautiful pieces I’ve ever seen to share perception of country.
I’m super energized by just having complete creative freedom
We love your work that says “Know where your energy comes from.” Where does your energy currently come from?
Good question. A lot of pizza without pineapple. But seriously. A meal for champions. Might be my Italian connections coming out there. I guess my culture and my background gives me big energy, and navigating that space is both tiring and rejuvenating. I’m super energized by just having complete creative freedom. Basically where I’m at now, is I’m just doing whatever I want to do creatively and people are responding to it really well. I think it’s that self belief and confidence to take risk that is key but it doesn’t hurt to have a few nice Instagram comments here and there.
What can we expect to discover at your first Finders Keepers Stall in Sydney?
I’m really excited about Sydney Finders Keepers. I’m launching new products that haven’t even made it onto my store yet! I expect a whole lot of awkward conversations because I develop serious social anxiety talking to people. Plus, I really believe Finders Keepers is the platform that will take my work to the next level.
I think Finders Keepers will be the start of some cool things for my brand and I can’t wait to embrace it.
You’ve been at the heart of several collaborations – what do you love most about collaborating and do you have a favourite?
This is like picking between if your mum or dad is your favourite. I love collaborating with like minded people who share the same values. Collaborating with one of Finders Keepers favourites Rene at Concrete Jellyfish Co. What I love most about it just as we got to know each other it because so weird how many connections to certain things and places that we had. I’m Goreng Goreng woman from the Bundaberg area and Rene grew up there. We also vibe on the same things. I kind see our relationships as co-mentors/sounding boards. We’ll often have conversations about our unrelated work and check if it’s sh*t or not. It’s good though because I think we fan girl off each other and weirdly that’s pushing each other to do cool stuff outside of our collabs together. Plus Life Apparel Co. Collabs are all about doing cool sh*t that you can’t achieve by yourself. It’s like mixing the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients to make the best damn cake ever.
Discover the stunning work of Rachael Sarra and support further development of our Indigenous Program by joining us at the Finders Keepers market Sydney.