SHOWCASING INDIGENOUS ART IMITATING LIFE
At Infectious, we acknowledge the Traditional Owners and Custodians, the Gubbi Gubbi people, of the lands on which we live and work and pay respect to Elders past, present and future.
Infectious is excited to collaborate with young Indigenous Australian artist Rhiannon Chapman, featuring her meaningful artwork on our limited edition Heal our Country print scrubs.
The scrubs join our Women's Printed, Patterned Scrub Tops collection and represent Rhiannon's passion for family and culture.
Twenty-two-year-old Rihannon is a citizen of the YUIN nation, which covers the south coast of New South Wales from the Victorian borders north to La Perouse in Sydney. Rhiannon's affinity for fine artistry is deep-rooted in her respect for her family.
"My father, my great aunt, and my partner's grandmother inspire me…When I watch them paint, it mesmerises me."
Rhiannon pays tribute to those in her familial line who came before her by sharing their names and origins.
Her grandmother Karen Pittman was born and raised in Bega, NSW, and her grandfather, Samuel "Marko" Chapman, was raised on Wreck Bay, a small Aboriginal community mission in Jervis Bay Territory. Her grandfather's family was one of the first on the mission but were originally from Brewarrina in western NSW on Ngemba country, where Rhiannon's great grandmother Violet Gordon and great grandfather Ninky Chapman were born.
"My great grandmother was always known as a proud Brewarrina woman."
The printed artwork holds special meaning and purpose for Rhiannon, showcasing the profound respect indigenous Australians have for their sacred sites, cultural heritage, waters, animals, bush medicines and traditional practices. Most importantly, the artwork represents the healing of First Nations people through the pain and suffering they have endured for generations and the belief that Aboriginal children, Aboriginal people, deserve a better future.
The centre represents her people gathering with the six circles symbolising sacred sites of the land and their protection. Kangaroo and goanna tracks are visible, as is the representation of “our salt waters and fresh waters flowing”. The pink and purple circles resemble the berries and bush medicines, and the intertwining gum leaves depict The Mother feeding her people oxygen.
Rhiannon explains that her people’s hands in the corner are featured to remind them of the strength and compassion they hold from their ancestors' guidance and influence.
While she attributes her creative passion to her family, Rhiannon also draws inspiration from Aboriginal Artists around Australia, emphasising each artist’s unique style of sharing Dreamtime stories within their artwork.
For Rhiannon, these influential artists provide a sense of belonging, a “connection to culture - spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically”.
As a strong Aboriginal woman, Rhiannon says she is proud to be an Aboriginal.
“We are the oldest living culture on Earth… how could we not be proud of who we are and where we come from.” She expresses the honour of “walking in the footpaths of our ancestors…it makes me feel confident and powerful.”
Rhiannon emphasises embracing one’s culture and expressing it with genuineness and pride.
“Whether you do art, sing, dance or whatever it may be to express your culture, don’t give up. Believe in yourself, don’t let anyone or anything put you down…This is your journey, so you must live it the way you want and do what you love the most.”