Emma Hollingsworth, the artist behind Mulganai, is a Kaanju, Kuku Ya’u, and Girramay woman operating in Meanjin.
Exhilarating and intricate, Emma’s art speaks of her journey on Country through the use of brilliant colour and skillful storytelling, all with an inherent sense of joy that is distinctively her own.
NAK Hair is honoured to celebrate their collaboration with Emma for their 2021 Signature Holiday Collection, featuring her original artwork titled ‘My Healing Country’.
A true artist in every sense of the word, Emma’s love of painting is as palpable as her talent.
"My parents used to catch me drawing on walls! I just drew all the time and I’ve been doing it ever since."
Below we share a snap shot of the conversation Emma had with NAK Hair, we learn about Emma’s inspirations, her life as an artist, and how her deep connection to Country flows through all aspects of her life.
Can you share a little bit about where you grew up, and how is has inspired your art?
I grew up in far north Queensland. I grew up outside a little place called Yarrabah which is a mission outside of Cairns. I grew up in the bush, but I also travelled a lot. I travelled to the Cape, which is one of my groups, my family groups, where we're from. I also travelled down south to Cardwell and in the ranges, which is Girramay Country. I feel like these places, they're very tropical and very hot. Everything's vibrant and very beautiful there, and I feel like that also has a huge influence on my art. I love those colours. I love incorporating the vibrant reds and pinks and greens into my artworks. It's played a huge part in influencing my work.
What was the inspiration for the artwork you created for NAK Hair?
It's inspired by the ocean, it's inspired by the waterways, the Country itself, really. In the artwork I've depicted my three countries that I recognise, so that's Kaanju, Kuku Ya’u and Girramay, and it represents a journey over those three countries. It represents how everything ties in on the land and how as an Indigenous person, I'm intrinsically connected to that Country, to those countries, and how I have such a deep connection with it. We are raised to care for it and take ownership of it from a really young age, so I wanted to depict that in the artwork.
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