The Courier-Mail - QWeekend

Rachael Sarra

Graphic artist and designer, 28, Ipswich


I’m a proud Goreng Goreng woman from the Bundaberg area and I’ve lived in Ipswich my whole life. I enjoy playing basketball pretty regularly and grew up playing it competitiv­ely. I’m an artist and designer, a creative strategist, and I run my own business doing that. I’m one of three siblings, with two older brothers. Mum and Dad are very much still a part of my life. On Dad’s side, I’m Aboriginal through his mother and Italian on his father’s side. And on my Mum’s side, I’m English and French.

Growing up, art and design became an outlet. I was drawn to it and my energy was always positive when I was around it.

I grappled with my identity and social constructs, how we interact with people and the environmen­t in a modern sense. Art and design has been a way to communicat­e my position on that in a way that’s accessible to everyone.

Art and design really transcends industry. I have my personal art practice and I have my commercial art practice, my company is called Sar.ra and I mainly do graphic designs. Working in a commercial space, I’m led by a brief from clients who want to utilise my art for their products.

But my personal art practice varies and often it will be guided by my emotions and my feelings in what I want to express.

First and foremost is figuring out what feeling I want to evoke in the creation. I’ve worked on collaborat­ions with Brisbane City Council for their buses, with Australia Post on the 50th anniversar­y of the 1967 referendum stamp, with Hardie Grant and Adam Briggs on books, and puzzles and prints. For me it’s about finding people whose values align to mine and celebrate that relationsh­ip through art and design.

I have a lot of different role models.

Mum and Dad have played a huge role in making me the person I am today. I also have a lot of strong women that stand beside me, some who are Aboriginal. I’m always inspired how, in this modern day, we as Aboriginal women are kind of walking in two worlds and really thriving in two worlds. All of my work has a story and it’s based around my experience­s, and what I’m grappling with at the time, and how I process those emotions through my work.

It’s hard to escape the “political” label as any Aboriginal person would. It’s just expected but, in saying that, I feel like I’ve been dealt that card and I’ve been leaning into it more. I want my work to stand for something, not just something that’s aesthetica­lly pleasing, and more towards making an impact.

It’s exploring how I can exist as an Aboriginal woman in this modern world. A lot of aspects of my art are drawn from my traditiona­l heritage but, at the same time, one day I will be an Elder to young ones. I would like them to feel they belong however they want to belong. That’s a part of contempora­ry art and design and that’s really exciting to me. One of the rewarding things that I found in my work is that a lot of – not only your mob – but everyone can see themselves reflected in different parts in my stories. Art is a really easy way for people to be represente­d in a community.

My biggest challenge is about changing people’s perspectiv­es. My work is closely tied to my culture and, for some, they really don’t understand where they are in Australia and whose land they’re on – or even why we create what we’re creating.

I find that’s very difficult and it’s not a one-person job. I’m grateful to wake up every day, work for myself, determine my own outcomes. It’s a special feeling to carry a cultural understand­ing because, for a lot of people, cultural connection is denied.

Girls today have more opportunit­y than ever to succeed, but study after study is showing a worrying trend – that far too many girls don’t like themselves. A new book aims to help parents raise healthy, happy, well-adjusted girls. Here’s an edited extract on girls’ relationsh­ips with their bodies.

Countless studies show that the vast majority of women are dissatisfi­ed with their bodies, but they didn’t start out feeling this way. Girls are not born hating their bodies. Watch young children play or look at themselves in the mirror and you will see them marvel at all their body can do. Body hatred is not innate; it is taught to girls in their homes, in their schools and peer groups,

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