Psychedelic colours, flattering faces and familiar flora, talented siblings, Noni and David Cragg are showcasing their shared exhibition, Mirrung, in Canberra.
Mirrung, meaning ‘belonging’ in Dharug language, brings together the talents of the Cragg siblings who draw inspiration from their First Nations, Scottish and Irish heritage.
“We chose this as the name for our show as we are exploring ideas around belonging and identity, also questioning what it is to be an ‘Australian’, particularly for POC [People of Colour] and FN [First Nations] people,” David Cragg said.
“The subjects all have a connection to Sydney, as do we, both born and raised on Gadigal land.”
“We are hoping to steer the focus of the show onto POC stories rather than the homogenised colonial invader narrative that is so commonly explored throughout the history of Australian art.”
“These are people that create communities and also work to promote and improve existing communities that they are a part of. They all connect people, whether that be through radio, music, art or fashion. Simply, we want to celebrate these individuals and the sense of belonging they create within their respective communities.”
Those featured in Mirrung include, Sydney-based artist Lily Keenan, Australian-born Japanese musician and artist Fevzi Musa, young queer artist performing as drag queen Yuta Matsumura and African-Kiwi Australian-raised Allya and Soumia Bella.
Exploring belonging, identity and community, the exhibition weaves together Noni’s talent for portraits and David’s incredible landscapes and florals.
The pair have created together since their early days, encouraged by their mother and grandmother.
Noni studied at the National Art School in Sydney, exhibiting in several solo and group shows, building a portfolio of portraits. Working not only as an artist, Noni is a writer, actor, model and activist with not-for-profit charity, The Rough Period, which she co-founded with friend, Jasmine Coronado.
Coming from a background in graphic design and street art, David studied at Bradfield Design College and Design Centre in Enmore. He has previously worked with fellow Indigenous creative and NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year, Kirli Saunders.
“With Noni’s fine art background and my graphic design [and] street art background, we end up with quite a varied shared skillset which makes for an awesome time on collaborative projects.
“We both have a tremendous love of colour within our work, but we both work in different mediums, Noni in oils and myself in aerosol [and] acrylic. We tend to work in acrylic [and] aerosol on collaborations purely due to time constraints.”
Presented at aMBUSH Gallery, Mirrung is open until April 12.
By Rachael Knowles