We get a lot of comments on our socials around what does Windyigarn mean. We get some do-gooders who comment , outraged, stating that they hope that Windyigarn is Aboriginal owned, as some people do know it is an Aboriginal word.. Which I used to think was just WEIRD.. but when I started to sell more of my Aboriginal Art it became clear that not everyone uses Aboriginal language appropriately. There are some businesses out there who have an Aboriginal name, and not a single person who is a joint owner or on a board is of Indigenous heritage (and no, the one's I'm talking about are not dedicated to providing services to Indigenous People..)
So..where do I start..I absolutely copped it when I started selling my Aboriginal Art. My grandmother came from Ceduna. I was born on Boandik country. That's a conflict in itself.. most people would think that because I was born on Boandik Country, that this would mean that I am of Boandik Mob & you would be wrong. There are so many cultural customs, do's and don'ts, even as a proud Aboriginal Woman, established in my community, it still gets confusing. People even make up their own rules as they go, which makes it even more fun!
In Mount Gambier, SA, we have the Blue Lake. Back when I was a single mum, running a disability company that I had started, and it was growing legs I was studying two degrees at the same time.. (NO, I don't recommend it, unless you want a one way trip to crazy town or burn out!!). There were weeks where I would have an assessment due for my Social Work Degree, and an exam for my Bachelor Of Psychology. It was hard to keep up. I took great comfort in walking around the majestic, and iconic, Blue Lake. Depending on the day, it has shimmers of green, blue, turquoise and sometimes even purples. So, as an Aboriginal Artist, I felt compelled to paint about my sacred Blue Lake. It was my first big painting, measuring 1 x 1.5Metres. I put it up in my shop and it gained a tonne of interest. Not all of it was good interest..
Within half a week the community was divided. I sought advice and assistance from two elders that I trusted. I wrote a letter to the board of elders seeking permission to use the Blue Lake Story.. Half the community felt that I had the right to paint about the Blue Lake, being that I was born, work on and grew up on Boandik Country. The other half of the community felt that because I wasn't Boandik, and that I was Wirangu, I didn't have the right to paint about a Boandik story. It ended up rather interesting, and while I came out fine, I felt a bit dirty about the whole thing... I took a break from painting and went back to it after I grew a bit more culturally, and after a lot of encouragement from my loved ones and the full support of three elders of my community who I know the full backing from...I started to enioy painting again.. (Yeah.. i'm skipping a bit.. but you're reading a blog, not a novel..)
Then came along our skincare. Veerrry long story short, I created our Brightening Range.. and it WORKED. Something that cleared up my skin and kept away my hyperpigmentation. Something that I had literally spent years and thousands of dollars finding. I felt comfortable in, literally, my own skin again.
Fast forward a bit and I learned some of my Grandmothers language, Wirangu. I came across the phrase 'Windyigarn'. Windyigarn means 'allow to be free'. Allow to be free seemed so fitting for my Aboriginal Art and skincare. Because to me - that's what both art and skin care should be..freeing..