KEDEASHA Jackson has never described herself as an artist – but technology and the COVID-19 lockdown has certainly allowed her to develop her artistic side.
So much so, that Kedeasha has been named the winner of the inaugural Mallee District Aboriginal Services NAIDOC Art Competition – and her work will now be on specially-designed garments to be released for Mallee NAIDOC celebrations in November.
Kedeasha said it was the first time she had entered an art competition – and was stunned that she had won.
“I don’t really do much painting. I have done drawing in a visual diary just for my personal enjoyment, but when I got an iPad a few months ago, and I learnt to draw with it, that all changed,” Kedeasha said.
“I downloaded an app called Pro Create and started doing custom drawings and drawings of loved ones and found I enjoyed it and was getting better at it.”
Kedeasha said the winning artwork represented her life journey as a woman and mother and becoming the person she wants to be.
“This was my first try at Indigenous art style – and I was surprised when it came out pretty well! Then the competition came along, I thought: ‘Why not?’. It definitely won’t be the last Indigenous artwork I do – I really enjoyed it,” she said.
“I’m so glad I got the iPad – especially during COVID it definitely just helped me to mellow out and not get as anxious about things.
“It’s definitely something that I think can help a lot of people, especially in lockdown. You honestly don’t have to be good at it – the app makes it so easy to create what you have in your mind.”
Runner-up in the competition was Robinvale artist and MDAS Alcohol and Other Drugs worker, Matthew Chilly with an oil painting representing his connections to his tribal heritage.
“It represents the connection to bloodline, but also the ‘Dreaming’ and ‘Creation’ – I hope it resonates with others and relates to them in their own way,” Matthew said.
“The timing was meant to be. I had done this piece a year or so ago, and I found it hidden away just before the competition closed. At the time, I didn’t know what to do with it, but when I found it, I just thought it was totally meant to be!”
MDAS Community Engagement Officer John Jackson said it was exciting to have local Mallee artworks as the basis for NAIDOC garments this year.
“The national NAIDOC shirts and jackets are always bright and beautiful – but we thought it would be great to have something that really represents our Mallee mobs this year,” Mr Jackson said.
“NAIDOC Week has been moved to November 8-15 and of course the COVID-19 situation will play a big part in determining what NAIDOC looks like,” he said.
“But we are well and truly in the planning stage, and we will keep the information coming out to community about the events that will be on, whether they are live or online events – and of course when the Mallee NAIDOC shirts are available!”