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Bayley Mifsud is a proud Kirrae and Peek Wurrong woman of the Gunditjmara nation.
Her Aboriginal and Art name is Merindah-Gunya meaning “Beautiful Spirit” in Peek Wurrong language, gifted to her through ceremony by her parents and Elders. Practicing and sharing her culture through art and storytelling is very special to her.
We sat down with Bayley to learn more about how she became an artist and discussed the process she takes when she creates her Aboriginal styled art pieces.
__How did you begin your journey as an artist, and what made you want to pursue art as a career? __
I began doing Aboriginal art at the age of 5, learning from my Elders at the Brambuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre in the Grampians. I had a particular interest and talent in art and continued to learn through the guidance and encouragement of my Elders.
My particular interest in dot art stemmed from a family trip to Alice Springs where I sat with a group of old women who showed me how they told a story through dot painting.
I, like most children never had the opportunity to learn Indigenous art throughout my schooling. During High School I did multiple art subjects and in Year 11 was given a project with “Identity” as the theme. This was the first chance in school I had to show the beautiful meaning and history behind Aboriginal art.
At the beginning of COVID last year I found myself with a lot of free time and took the opportunity to start doing art again.
My formal journey began when I posted an artwork, I had created for myself on my private Facebook page which sparked interest from other family and friends.
What does your art mean to you?
It is hard to explain the spiritual connection that I have with Aboriginal art. I feel so connected and passionate about being able to continue what my Elders have taught me.
Tell us about your creative process – what gives you inspiration for your art?
The pieces that I create represent mine and my Elders stories.
When I do a piece for a client, I ask them to send through their story that they want represented. My favourite part about doing commissioned pieces is being able to create an artwork that the client not only likes visually, but also spiritually as it represents what is important to them.
How can people best support Indigenous artists such as yourself?
I would encourage people to promote Aboriginal artists on their social media. We all have phones and some form of social media whether it be Instagram, Facebook, Linked In. Go follow a page and share an artwork to give that Blak creator more exposure.
__Do you have any advice for up-and-coming artists? __
I say art is like sport, if you want to get better at it, you have to practise. The more you practise and experiment with different materials, mediums and styles, the betrer you will get because you will start to learn what suits you best.
Also, not to be too harsh on yourself, art is subjective to opinion. I often create pieces that don’t quite look how I wanted them to but I show my family and they love it.
Where can we find more of your work?
My biggest social media platform is Instagram and my username is @merindahgunya.art. I also have a website with 9 prints, that are all produced in Queensland out of 100% Australian made materials. My website is www.merindahgunya.com.au
This piece represents a long journey in becoming content in my life. It shows the balance of my life both back on Country in Warrnambool and the Bunurong land I am living on in Melbourne. It shows my friends and family who have been with me along the way, supporting me whilst I grow into the woman I am now. The surrounding meeting places symbolise the important places where I have learnt life lessons and shows those who were with me at those times. The animal tracks represent my connection to the land I am on and acknowledges the Traditional Owners. – Artist, Merindah-Gunya
Find Ngayt Poonan 'Content' displayed on level 2 next to the Concierge.
To find out more about Merindah-Gunya and to see more of her work, visit https://merindahgunya.com.au