Meet Rachael Sarra: An Indigenous Artist Paving The Way For The Next-Gen
Following the calmBy Rachael Sarra | 5th October 2023
I’m Rachael Sarra and I’m a proud Goreng Goreng woman, culturally connected back to the Bundaberg area, but I’m living and working here in Meanjin (Brisbane).
I’ve always lived here in Karalee – it’s peaceful and a little bit disconnected from the city, so my childhood has always been calm and adventurous.
Being a proud First Nations’ woman, creativity and storytelling have always been part of my culture. For me, being able to lean on that side of my culture not only strengthened my identity but also helped create a world of belonging, which is something I definitely struggled with when I was younger.
When I was growing up, figuring out who I was and who I wanted to be had everything to do with following the energy that was calm, the energy that was inviting. Being in an art room and being creative is definitely what allowed me to figure out that’s where I felt really calm.
My high school teacher, Wendy Mayes, actually played a really big role in my passion for art and seeing it as something I could pursue.
My connection between art, creativity, and culture has kind of just turned into this really beautiful, happy place for me.
I did have a few jobs with Indigenous creative agencies that gave me the perspective of knowing that there’s a need for First Nations design. I also gained a lot of knowledge around project management and finance.
Weirdly, I met a psychic around this time, and she told me, “You’re going to run your own business.” So, six years ago, I started my business on the side of working full time.
I thought it was time to invest in myself. At the time, everything felt uneasy. The key word I would say during that time was friction – nothing felt smooth or calm and I think that was my spirit telling me to create something for myself.
When I first started, my business was very simple – I started an art Instagram, posting my art. I was creating works and stories that I was feeling at the time, and it gained a lot of traction. Then I started creating artwork prints and collaborated with clients.
From there it has evolved to have different products and different collaborations with clients over the years. I think I’m going through a phase now where it’s time to rethink things and I’ll have a bit of a change. But I am primarily an artist – I create work for my own brand, for other brands, for corporations, and I believe people really enjoy who I am and what I stand for.
I think art and design, especially when it’s connected to culture, is so powerful. It’s a way to engage a variety of people and there’s no preconceived idea of what it is. I think for me that’s been the most powerful thing as a First Nations woman. Ultimately my work is about the journey of becoming myself and exploring my identity.
Discover Rachael Sarra’s incredible work here.