About Maloga Art
Who is the artist behind Maloga Art?
My name is Shanai Kellett. As a young girl in primary school my mum would often trace mine and my sister’s hands when developing a piece of art. I believe this has always stayed with me when I think about Aboriginal Art.
I learnt by doing and watching. I drew inspiration as a little girl watching my mum paint, followed by arriving home from school as a teenager always commenting on how much I loved what she had accomplished throughout the day. I have always been surrounded by Aboriginal art, which in turn gave me the eagerness to practice my own version of traditional dot, lineage and symbolism painting. I have developed my own unique Contemporary Aboriginal art style which incorporates the use of sand (Maloga) in Yorta Yorta language.
For me Maloga is what connects us to mother earth, holidays with my relatives along the riverbanks of Cummeragunja and where I grew up on Boon Wurrung/ Bunurong country.
My Aboriginal roots lead back to Yorta Yorta along the banks of the Murray River and Juru which is on the northern coast of Queensland. I also feel very privileged to have Scottish/English bloodlines through my Dad’s family.
Where I draw inspiration
The river, the beach, Australia. I was a lucky kid. My parents took me around Australia as a four year old and 16 year old.
Bushwalking, swimming and surfing the coast has shaped the woman I am today. I am forever in awe of our diverse, mystical, breathtaking country.
When I’ve come across special places, I instantly think of my ancestors and how they survived and lived. It’s as if I travel back in time, I have so many questions to ask, and often I need to use my imagination to express my creative side. That is where art is one of my favourite tools, to express my thoughts of this country through painting.
Painting relaxes my mind after a busy day of teaching, it helps me to re-group my emotions and refocus my thoughts. I have always used colour to make people feel good. I want the viewer or buyer to fall in love with what they see. I find that contrasting colours gives that impression.
"I have developed my own unique Contemporary Aboriginal art style which incorporates the use of sand (Maloga) in Yorta Yorta language."
Painting style and medium used
I view my painting style as a modern approach to sharing Aboriginal culture, celebration and history.
I use different sized dot and line patterns to create a variety of textures throughout each art piece along with traditional symbols from my grandparent's country. Bright, bold acrylic colours accentuate these forms contrasted by deep warm tones.
Maloga (sand) is used in some of my works to connect us with mother nature. This unique sand art style has been passed down through my mother's history and it is a style I endeavour to continue to use in my works.
My artworks are produced from colours of the environment and modern colours that can be seen as dramatic yet soothing at the same time.
When I’m not painting I’m teaching
I studied Visual Art throughout both high school and university in the hope that one day I would be able to ingrain it within my teaching.
This came to fruition in 2017 when I created and taught a specialised program called Connect to Country, teaching Science and Art through an Indigenous lens at Dromana Primary School. Here I was able to educate students about our rich Aboriginal culture through hands-on multi-disciplinary learning experiences.
2023 has provided the opportunity to focus on my Art career and develop an expanded Indigenous Education program to be taught at all Victorian schools.