Originally made for FINA20035, Drawing with Anatomy, Marrang - The Hand quickly grew into one of my favourite pieces. As I study Human Structure and Function, I wanted to find a way of tying my two worlds together, science and art. I've always found a vast fascination in hand outlines in rock art paintings, knowing someone at some point in time held their hand on that exact position of rock forms a strongly grounding realisation of how we are one.
This piece was directly inspired by Rock Art in Gariwerd, the Grampians, from back home. Ochre sprayed over hands against the sandstone of the mountains. With a Dad who is a stonemason by trade, the pressure of capturing the stone background was high. Prior to this work, I had only used graphite and acrylics, so branching into watercolour was an exploratory one. The use of Gunditjmara Ochre in the piece ties it strongly to that of the Traditional Gariwerd art.
I would also like to acknowledge those who have donated their bodies to studies in science, allowing me to create an anatomically accurate depiction of both the muscular and skeletal layers of the hand. As well as those who had their bodies taken away, the history of anatomical studies in Melbourne is one that should not be forgotten.
I'm Jerrika, a Proud Gunditjmara woman born on Gunai Kurnai Country. I have been studying Anatomy, Neuroscience and Physiology through a Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne. I find balance in my studies with my passions in the Arts, as both an accomplished visual artist and performer with Short Black Opera's Dhungala Children's Choir for almost 10 years.
Through my studies, I've created artworks inspired mainly by Indigenous Recognition within the Australia Curriculum. Growing up within Catholic Institutes, I often found myself looked towards as a "spokesperson" of Indigenous culture when the classes curriculum lacked on Australian History beyond settlement, although I was and still am only just learning more about my culture myself. This inspired works ranging from great scale installations to sketchbook watercolours, and focuses on depicting the sheer magnitude of culture hidden away over the past 250 years.
My proudest accomplishment so far is the University of Melbourne's 2022 Student Art Prize, acknowledging my piece "Marrang - The Hand" and presenting it on an 8 x 3 m billboard on Swanston St. This piece was the first of mine where I experimented with creating my own ochre paints from ochre found on Country.
I couldn't have done any of this without the encouragement of my forever inspiration, my mum. With her Bachelor of Fine Arts, I run my every thought by her, art technique, material, and idea wise. She raised me with pencil and paintbrushes in hand, and I couldn't be more grateful for her.