How camping and art helps me keep culture strong



Takeover Melbourne winner Klarissa — Healesville, Victoria

My name is Klarissa.

I am from Milikapiti, a little community in Tiwi Island.

Tiwi Island is surrounded by saltwater and there are lots of animals, like horses and crocodiles.

I have a big family, with one brother and seven sisters.

There’s my mum and grandma too — and lots of uncles, aunties and cousins.

I speak three languages. Murrinh Patha, Tiwi language and Mati Ke.

I like speaking them because it helps me keep culture strong.

I really loved going camping out bush with everyone.

We swim, hunt and sit around the fire.

But my favourite part is watching the stars at night.

Grandma would tell us old stories about the stars.

I miss those memories.

One day after camping, my mum told me I was going to school in Melbourne.

I’ve never been to a boarding school, so being away from home, family and everything I knew was challenging.

I’ve been at Worawa Aboriginal College for five years now.

And I’ve made friends from so many different communities.

I started painting when I came to Worawa too.

I won first prize for my ‘Get Up, Stand Up, Show Up’ poster.

And earlier this year, I painted on the boots of the Hawthorn Football players. 

I created a dot painting of the stars using yellow, white, red, brown and black.

I used white because it is my favourite colour and yellow as it represents stars.

I used dots because it’s my grandma’s Dreaming.

I think the boots came out really cool!

It’s important for me to keep culture strong.

From camping with family, to being here at Worawa.


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