Murawari Ngemba, Wiradjuri
“We want the world to come here”.
Residing on Yuwaalaraay tribal land (since 2000) Lightning Ridge artist, Johanna Parker is descended from Murawari Ngemba, Wiradjuri, her bloodlines come from Fords Bridge (QLD) to Enngonia and Warren in NSW.
Growing up in Sydney’s North Shore, and later in the Western Suburbs, Johanna has had an interest in art and creativity for as long as she could remember.
“I was always doing art, no matter what it was, portrait, landscape, whatever”.
Coming to terms with her identity as an adopted child, Johanna sought out her birth mother and learned that she was descended from the people of Western NSW. After working in the photographic industry doing manual photographic printing and enlargements, she decided to take her creative pursuits out West.
“Working in the photographic industry gave me a really good grounding in visual arts, composition, colour etc….The other great exposure I had was through the women’s group at Richmond where I learned a lot through Jacinta Tobin”.
Johanna attended university at Deakin and developed new techniques and skills. Topping the class in painting, receiving the Golden Key with many high distinctions, she considered further study at Monash in computer graphics, but returned to painting, pottery and carving as a therapeutic process.
“I’ll paint pretty much every night, when its quiet, and there’s no-one hassling me”.
Through her degree she has been able to use her skills to educate others, working as head teacher for TAFE and also teaching art classes for the creative arts unit. Delivering Cert III qualifications for students in the region.
Johanna’s vibrant, colourful paintings use traditional techniques and styles to produce images that are appropriate for the region. She has movement and strong connection to ancestors who are guiding her to share, through art, how Aboriginal people lived on the land.
Small and large, different shapes and colours, her original works are a key feature of the Lightning Ridge community, and will be for a long time to come.
“We have a lot of visitors here in Lightning Ridge, my goal is to keep making original art and to be a part of the reason that people want to keep coming here”.