My name is Madison Connors (nee’ Saunders). I’m a 29-year-old proud and strong Yorta Yorta, Dja Dja Wurrung and Gamilaroi woman.
My identity is what drives me. It’s something that is within me and comes from the heart. My connection to my environmental surroundings is my blood line and vein to this country and the community which runs deep within. I come from a strong line of women and am following in their footsteps; I aim to embody their full form on this earth and strive to make my mob proud of the work that I create and achieve.
I was born and raised in Shepparton, spending the majority of my life living on my grandmother’s Country, I’m now residing in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. I live with my supportive and loving partner Andrew, my strong, creative and outgoing four-year-old son Marley, and my beautiful, quiet and happy five-month-old daughter, Yindi.
A journey to completely understand my culture has been similar to many of my Aboriginal brothers and sisters – challenging, rewarding and motivating, in the sense that it is like a jigsaw puzzle where many of the pieces are yet to be discovered. Oral history has taught me to yarn with my Elders; to listen, to understand and acknowledge the challenges they faced, to be strong in the face of adversity and to continue teaching my children the importance of my history, their history.
I learnt early on that my Elders were my guidance and to be respectful of them, I was taught loyalty, sensitivity, compassion and empathy.
I have always had an inquisitive nature and am very connected to my Aboriginal culture and spirituality. I feel most grounded when walking my bare feet on the grounds of my ancestors, by hearing the calls of native birds, smelling the eucalypts from the old souls of the trees which stand tall and strong and hearing the running waters of rivers flowing. I want to continue to learn, to follow and to grow. I want my children to absorb, to feel powerful and strong in their sense of identity. That’s why I thoroughly enjoy sharing my creative stories and my artwork.
My artistic vision
My artwork has been something that has helped me for a long time. I have been drawing, painting, and being creative since before I can remember. Being creative provides a sense of healing for me and when I really started creating more in my adult years, I used it as a natural remedy for emotional wellness. I can let go when I am in this space and succumb to the pieces that I am creating.
My experiences as an Aboriginal woman have shaped my ambitions and my perspectives on the world, which in turn translates into my visual representations. For as long as I can remember, I knew I wanted to create a positive change and for me this includes sharing, teaching and creating artwork that provokes conversations.
My visions vary from piece to piece though a general overall feeling I want from a piece to really captures the audience’s minds, I want to ignite a sense of connection to the piece and a feeling of emotions.
My professional background and educationI began my studies with a Bachelor of Arts, whilst also working as an Aboriginal Allied Health Trainee at Banyule Community Health Services. This job, alongside my degree was where my passion for working with Aboriginal communities within the health sector grew. This passion led to my transfer to the double degree of the Bachelor of Health Sciences and Bachelor of Arts.
I fell pregnant at the end of my second last year with my first baby. Once he was born, I returned to my studies when he was six weeks old and he came along to every tutorial, lecture and seminar. I completed my degree at the end of 2016 graduating with a Bachelor of Health Science majoring in Public Health and a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Sociology. My determination, strength and dedication to finish paid off.
Since then I have worked in a number of different government agencies within Aboriginal Affairs policies and programs. This has given me a strong understanding of how organisations and businesses operate at a local, state and federal level and their professional needs in terms of graphic design and art.
Some of the organisations I have worked with
- Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO)
- Cancer Council Victoria
- Department of Premier and Cabinet
- Dental Health Services Victoria
- Murray Public Health Network
- Marmalade Melbourne
- Women’s Health Victoria
- The Koorie Art Show (Baluk Arts) – Koorie Heritage Trust 2017
- Nhalinggu Bagung (Come Together) Exhibtion – Hatch Contemporary Arts Space 20 April – 4 June 2016
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