Graduates of a recent Aboriginal Cultural Art course at TAFE Wollongong learned the skills required to meet a growing demand for First Nations art.
After graduate Ricky Powell completed the Storytelling Through Art short course, he acquired a new-found confidence and expanded skill set he hopes will propel him to a fulfilling career path.
Mr Powell was one of 20 students who recently graduated from the course. As part of the program the class painted two large murals at the TAFE NSW Wollongong campus.
With his new skills and techniques Mr Powell is considering enrolling in the Certificate III in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Arts, where he can add some business-related skills to help further his creative career aspirations.
A study conducted in 2019 by the Australia Council for the Arts found interest in First Nations art was growing.
An ABS study in 2016 found almost 3000 people were employed across cultural and creative occupations in the federal electorate of Cunningham.
"I've always had a passion for art, so this course was a good way to pick up some new skills and hone the skills I already had," Mr Powell said.
Fellow graduate and local Aboriginal Elder Aunty Sharralyn (Shas) Robinson, said there were plenty of local people who do work in the cultural art scene.
"I've been trying to paint my family journey and I am hoping through completing this TAFE NSW course I have enough talent to complete my work," she said.
TAFE NSW teacher Glenn Duffield, an accomplished artist himself, was impressed with how quickly the students picked up new skills and honed the skills they already had.
"There has been a growing demand for Aboriginal art for quite a few years now and for some people this is a full time career, while for others learning to paint and draw is a way of future-proofing their ability to earn a living. It gives them another set of skills they can fall back on if they need to.
"There's no reason any of these students couldn't start their own business in the cultural art space," Mr Duffield said.
We depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.