“The way that I describe myself is that I am Yuwaalaraay Gamilaraay, and a descendant of the Yorta Yorta and Yuin Monaro people”.
Coordinator of the local Aboriginal art space in Lightning Ridge, Franny has established a Centre for cultural growth in the outback town.
“My first connection was always music; everyone in my family was musical”.
After completing a masters degree in history at ANU, and a BA (Communications) at UTS, Franny worked at the ABC, as a researcher and producer, and with film and documentary makers with a history focus.
The academic writing life that followed was not providing the stimulation Franny needed and when her parents began to need more support, she returned home to be their carer. A difficult time which changed her life and life focus.
“Community, art and Aboriginal culture – that’s what I love”.
Returning to Lightning Ridge, her mother’s country, has meant that Franny has been able to connect with local artists, write in a less academic way, and explore painting and digital media.
The art gallery, that has become the focal point for so many local Aboriginal artists was founded by Franny in July 2018 and she hopes it will become a centre that specialises in Aboriginal music, literature, art and culture.
“I don’t think that there is anything more satisfactory”.
One of the hats Franny wears is managing director of the Jimmy Little Foundation, established by Franny’s father (Jimmy) in 2006, to help Aboriginal communities deal with kidney disease, among other things. It is all a part of the ethos that she brings to the gallery, and a beacon to aspiring Aboriginal youth in the region.
There is an energy, that comes from experience, that sits well within Franny. It is easy to see that her life’s experience brings a sense of opportunity and gravity to the space that Franny has created. It is confidence, intelligence, sensitivity and will that make places such as these thrive, and Franny has all of these things in spades.
“I am here on my mother’s country, working with local Aboriginal artists, and nothing has ever made me happier”.