July 7, 2023

The world at her feet

Young artist Christinaray’s winning piece will be transposed to the carpet of Kids Under Cover’s new supported accommodation Village.

Christinaray is a young Wurumungu and Arrernte woman making her mark in Victoria’s contemporary Indigenous art scene. She paints from the heart and as a way of sharing the challenges and experiences that have shaped the lives of herself and her people.

Late last year, Christinaray won an art competition run by the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA).  Her winning work of art will be transferred onto a carpet that will be laid in Kids Under Cover’s new Village 21 supported accommodation site in Frankston.

KUC have partnered with VACCA to develop the Village, backed by funding from the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH).

The name of the Village is Moorumbina Mongurnallin which translates to ‘You are loved’ in the local Bunurong language. Christinaray knows as well as anyone how important the meaning of the name is and how valuable the village will be for the young Indigenous residents and their development.

“I was homeless quite a few years ago,” she explains. “And the first program I went to was a foyer ­– a place where they put a roof over your head for up to 2 years and help you work towards a goal. Having that safe place, that security that a lot of people don’t have meant so much. The idea that there’s a place like this new Village where young Indigenous people are going to have that support to build those skills so they can learn to help themselves, and can continue on from there, is really important.”

The winning painting was created with the Village in mind and for the young people who will live there. Christinaray says she wanted to convey a place where young people can imagine their journey, a place where they can begin to prepare for and forge a path ahead.

“It’s why I did feet – black and white – representing the people that are going to be there. When they move on and the next people who come. And I did all the dots to represent the young men and women who will share the experience and all of the people it’s going to take to support them. The connection to community and connection to … everyone.”

Most of Christinaray’s pieces take around 80 hours to create and she produces one about every few weeks. Having lost some momentum and connections during Covid lockdowns, she’s busy entering shows, networking and ‘getting herself out there again’ as well as working as a case support worker for young people living in out-of-home care.

Sometimes, Christinaray has a vision in mind for her painting but often her process is more spontaneous.

“Often, I just start painting and see where it takes me. A lot of my paintings have a lot to do with journey and struggle and finding a way out of the dark. And finding that strength in yourself. Finding connections around you. Sometimes I just have an overwhelming feeling and I’ve gotta paint and I’ll just see what comes out.”

Check out Christinaray’s work on Instagram at chrissyray101