Delvene Cockatoo-Collins is a First Nations artist and designer, who lives and works on Quandamooka country in Quora (Australia). Delvene’s work is far more than just marks on a page. It embodies a rich connection to country, capturing the Quandamooka soul. Her pieces share the stories, culture, heritage and techniques of thousands of years, passed down from generation to generation by her mother Evelyn and her grandmother Bethel.
Delvene’s signature style has seen her exhibit across Australia and we are honoured to have her design a t-shirt for our 2023 #privilegetaxcampaign.
Inspired by her great grandmothers basket. A representation of the power her great grandmother had and in maintaining these skills, she could then pass them down to her grandmother. Now we have the responsibility and are the matriarchs for the next generation of female leaders.
Shop Delvene's T-shirt
Let's get to know a bit more about Delvene;
Why is equal pay important to you?
I'm very aware of the effort of people in my family who have fought for equal pay. And it's my responsibility to ensure that the legacy our families - including my grandmother have left for us, is continued and that it benefits the broader communities. We deserve what is rightfully ours.
Who are your biggest artistic influences?
My mum, family and community are the biggest artistic influences - the people around me and how they live and look after the place that our people have always taken care of.
What made you decide to pursue a career in design?
I have been making art for a while now and I realised 9 years ago, that I could have a career in this space, when I started to see the public respond to my work. It has been reinforced many times - that having a career in the arts
What is your proudest moment to date?
That I've created a welcoming space for visitors to the island - my little store in an old shop, off the main street is a place where people can meet the artist (me) and get to know the work from the artist or their family.
What would be your dream project?
I'm excited that I've had this opportunity to think of this design for such an important project - of equality for EleVen by Venus Williams. I love to be involved in more for outcomes like this.
Why do you think art is important to society?
It provides so many ways to connect to each other - to transform spaces, conversations and share ideas. I love how you could be looking at the same object and see different aspects. The art that I've made has created opportunities to share the history and meaning of space, its a way of truth telling.
Do your other interests influence your art?
It feels like its all one and the same - family, history, culture - listening to stories of growing up on the island by my mum - it all feels like art. It all feels like it belongs together.
How would your friends and family describe you in 3 emojis?