Tell us about yourself - Who are you, where are you based and what do you do?
I’m an Aboriginal Artist in love with rainbows and colour and couldn’t think of anything worse than grey walls and fitting inside the box. I have been described as a young creative with a unique style that turns heads. I am obsessed with the ocean and consider myself a true mermaid queen. There's just nothing better than salt water and I am forever collecting seashells. Born and based on Kariyarra Country in Port Hedland, my work blends my love for my community and dream for a better world with my creative soul and my passion for my homeland and all the amazing colours and iconic Pilbara landscapes that inspire me daily. I'm a proud Ngarluma, Kariyarra, Nyulnyul and Yawuru woman, raising my four amazing boys on the land that raised me. I feel a deep affinity for country and community and use my art, fashion and photography as a platform to raise awareness of social justice issues, including Indigenous rights and women's rights. I find that creativity and community go hand in hand and one would not exist without the other, so I love being able to use my art as a force for good in the world. I am also pretty active on social media (@bobbilockyer), sharing my real life as an Artist and solo Mother as well as sharing helpful tips and tricks in photography and art. I love using my social media to connect with my audience as I try to help break down the stigmas associated with birth trauma and domestic violence as well as tackling the topics of racism in Australia.
Featured: Portofino 3/4 Sleeve Maxi Dress.
Featured: Palermo Bath Sheet - Chai.
Why is NAIDOC Week important to you and your mob?
NAIDOC Week holds deep significance for me and my community. It is a time when we come together to celebrate the rich history, culture, and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. One of the most important aspects of NAIDOC Week is the chance for all Australians to learn about and appreciate the diverse cultures and histories of First Nations people. It's a time for cultural exchange, understanding, and unity. By sharing our traditions, languages, art, and stories, we foster a greater appreciation for the oldest, continuous living cultures on earth. For me, NAIDOC Week is a time of immense pride. It's a reminder of the resilience, strength, and wisdom that have been passed down through generations. It's a celebration of our survival, our connection to the land, and our ongoing contributions to society. During this week, we come together as a community, honouring our ancestors, and cherishing the bonds that tie us all. NAIDOC Week also serves as a platform for us to address the challenges and issues that our communities face. It's an opportunity to advocate for social justice, equality, and recognition of Indigenous rights. Through various events, discussions, and activities, we raise awareness and promote positive change. It is a reminder of our cultural strength and the importance of passing down our traditions to future generations.
This year’s NAIDOC week theme is: For our Elders. What does this mean to you?
I absolutely adore this year's NAIDOC Week theme, "For our Elders." It holds such deep meaning for me personally. It's a beautiful reminder of the incredible contributions our elders and ancestors have made in paving the way for us. Throughout generations, our Elders have held a significant place in our communities and families. They embody wisdom, resilience, and love. They are the keepers of our cultural knowledge, nurtured us, advocated for us, and taught us valuable lessons. They are the survivors, the leaders, the hard workers, and most importantly, our loved ones. They have paved the way for us from health and education to the arts and politics. We follow the courses they have set, building upon their struggles and fighting for the equality that they have fought for. As the designer of the 2023 NAIDOC Week national poster (shown below), I felt a deep responsibility to honour all our elders, not just one specific Elder. They are the very foundation of our communities and the role models for our children. Through my poster, I aimed to convey the immense importance of our Elders in passing down our cultural heritage to future generations. It is through their teachings that we can ensure our traditions and culture thrive. Their influence must be respected and included in all future decision-making processes concerning our people. Nothing should be decided about us without us, honouring the valuable contributions and guidance of our Elders. NAIDOC Week's theme, "For our Elders," resonates deeply with me, reminding me of the profound impact they have had on our lives and the responsibility we have to honour, respect, and cherish them.
A HA-UGE congrats to Bobbi on designing the 2023 National NAIDOC Week poster. Clever, clever woman.
What is the most valuable lesson an Elder has taught you that you’ll never forget?
The most precious lesson that an Elder has taught me is the importance of embracing my true self and taking pride in my culture. It's a lesson that has left a lasting impact on me, and one that I will never forget. Throughout my life, I have faced numerous challenges in fully expressing my authentic self. There were times where I felt pressured to conform to societal expectations, especially as an Aboriginal woman. I struggled to find my place and told I had to fit into a box to be seen. But the wisdom and support of my Elder instilled in me the belief that it's perfectly okay to be who I am, to celebrate my cultural heritage, and to express myself through my art and stories. They taught me that my unique voice and perspective have tremendous value and should never be silenced. Their guidance and encouragement allowed me to shed the weight of self-doubt and embrace my true identity. It gave me the strength to show up authentically in every aspect of my life, unapologetically sharing my art, my stories, and my cultural heritage with the world. I am forever grateful for this advice because it has enabled me to embrace my true self, find my voice, and proudly share my art and stories reminding me of the importance of authenticity, cultural pride, and the power of self-expression.
NAIDOC week is all about celebrating the history, culture and achievements of First Nations people. Tell us, what’s YOUR proudest achievement?
I take great pride in reflecting on my achievements and the successes that I celebrate in my life. One of my proudest moments was when I had the opportunity to showcase my fashion at New York Fashion Week. It was an incredible experience to bring my art and cultural heritage to a global platform, exposing the world to the beauty of First Nations history, design, and art. Being able to share my creations and have them resonate with people worldwide was truly special.
Another achievement that holds a special place in my heart is being awarded NAIDOC Artist of the Year. This recognition was something I never imagined possible. To have my art acknowledged and seen, and to witness others connecting with it, is a deeply fulfilling experience. It has given me a sense of validation for all my hard work and affirmation in my artistic journey. One aspect of my achievements that I hold dear is the opportunity to be a role model for younger Indigenous children and teenagers. I have become the representation that I longed for during my own teenage years. Being able to share my experiences, provide guidance, and advocate for the health and well-being of my people brings me great joy and I am grateful for the chance to make a positive impact and inspire future generations. I am really proud to have partnered with Woolworths to create my Indigenous homewares range. This collaboration has allowed me to make Aboriginal art affordable and accessible to everyone and it feels good that people can appreciate and connect with Indigenous art in their everyday lives.
Can you please share some inspiring First Nations Instagram accounts that you love to follow?
- @fallon.gregory - an advocate for Aboriginal people and role model for Indigenous women and mothers
- @blaklens - a community-made collective of First Nations photographers created by mob for mob
- @talei_elu - Super inspiring Torres Strait Islander woman who is passionate about advocating for her community and caring for the ocean
- @brandisalmon.artist - I love Brandi’s unique perspective of recreating famous paintings as First nations Aunties
Art is such an important part of First Nations culture… for those that want to grow their understanding of this, can you explain in your own words why this is?
First Nations people have expressed their creativity through various art forms, serving as a means of storytelling, communication, and cultural preservation since the beginning. Art is woven into the fabric of our heritage, as we have passed down stories and traditions orally from one generation to another. However, art goes beyond mere words; it encompasses the visual representation of our stories, experiences, and connections with our ancestors. It is a powerful medium through which we can communicate our identity, values, and worldviews. Through rock art, patterns in the sand, and the creation of intricate jewellery using shells and other natural materials, we have expressed our cultural heritage and preserved our histories. Each stroke of the brush, each carving, and each intricate design carries deep meaning and symbolism. Art allows us to share our stories, teachings, and knowledge with future generations, ensuring that our traditions are not lost but continue to thrive. Art is not only a form of self-expression for the Artist but also a bridge between First Nations people and the broader community. When individuals view our art, they have the opportunity to connect with us on a deeper level, to gain insights into our experiences, and to understand our unique perspectives. Art serves as a visual dialogue, fostering understanding, empathy, and appreciation for First Nations culture. Moreover, art is a dynamic reflection of our journeys as individuals and as a collective. It embodies our past experiences, our struggles, our resilience, and our hopes for the future. It allows us to reclaim our narratives, challenge stereotypes, and assert our presence in a world that has often marginalised our voices.
You can explore Bobbi's work here on her website.
We’ve been massive fans of you and your work for years now and have loved following your journey! What is the meaning behind your artwork? And where do you draw your inspiration from?
The heart and soul of my art lie in the country that has shaped me. Growing up in Kariyarra and Yawuru country has deeply influenced my artistic expression. The breathtaking colours of the landscape, from the iconic red dirt to the crystal-clear oceans, serve as a constant inspiration for me. The vibrant corals that adorn the ocean and the delicate seashells found along the shores all find their way into my creations. Nature, particularly the beach, plays a significant role in igniting my creativity. The way the waves crash, the gentle breeze, and the ever-changing tides all evoke a sense of serenity and beauty that I try to capture in my art. Additionally, the desert areas with their scattered wildflowers and the spinifex grass influences my work. Many of my artworks are rooted in the stories passed down to me by my grandparents and my Mother. These stories carry the wisdom, traditions, and cultural heritage of our ancestors, and I feel a deep responsibility to honour and preserve them through my art. I also draw inspiration from my own experiences as a Mother, exploring the profound journey of pregnancy and motherhood. It is a transformative phase of life that fills me with awe, and I weave elements of this experience into my artwork as well. Ultimately, my art is a fusion of my connection to country, the stories that have been entrusted to me, and my personal experiences as a Mother. It is a celebration of the land, the sea, and the beautiful cycle of life. Through my creations, I hope to convey the profound beauty and resilience of First Nations culture and to inspire others to appreciate the rich tapestry of our heritage.
As a team and as individuals, we are committed to continue our learning about the history and culture of First Nations people. Are you able to share the best ways you believe people can do this?
To continue learning about the history and culture of First Nations people, there are several effective approaches individuals and teams can take. Firstly, reading books and literature written by Indigenous authors provides valuable insights and perspectives (we've shared a few of our favourites here in a previous journal). Additionally, attending workshops and cultural events hosted by Indigenous organisations and educational institutions allows for direct learning from First Nations people and engagement in cultural activities. Watching documentaries and films can be a powerful way to learn about the experiences and challenges faced by First Nations people. Supporting Indigenous Artists and businesses helps preserve cultural practices. I believe it is crucial to reflect on your own personal biases and stereotypes, actively challenging and unlearning misconceptions. Approaching this learning journey with respect, humility, and a willingness to listen is so important.
What’s been the biggest challenge for you so far as a business owner? And what’s been the biggest high?
Being a business owner has brought its fair share of challenges and highs. One of the biggest challenges I have faced is the reality of institutionalised racism within the business landscape. As a black artist, I have often had to work three times as hard as my white counterparts to receive the same recognition. This constant struggle against systemic biases can be emotionally exhausting and has definitely had a significant impact on my mental health. It weighs heavily on me as I strive to be an advocate for Aboriginal people and challenge the negative narratives that exist. Despite the challenges, I am determined to push forward and change the narrative surrounding my work and my community. Another challenge I have faced is the pressure to constantly be on the go and neglect self-care. As an entrepreneur, it is easy to get caught up in the hustle and overlook the importance of taking breaks and caring for one's well-being. As a marginalised woman in business, I often find myself taking on multiple responsibilities and emotional labour without receiving adequate support in return. It is crucial to prioritise self-care and recognise that our own health and well-being should not be sacrificed for the sake of our work. It is okay to take time for ourselves and establish boundaries that allow us to thrive. One of the most rewarding moments for me is witnessing the direct impact and change that my art and work can create. Working with youth and seeing the transformative power of my creations and knowledge-sharing is immensely fulfilling. Inspiring others, opening up conversations, and creating positive change within my community are moments that fill me with pride and drive me to continue my work.
With the rise of social media in recent years, competition is everywhere for Artists + Photographers (and all businesses). What are your tips for fellow budding Artists/ Photographers to stay original?
I wholeheartedly embrace the concept of community over competition, especially in the age of social media where competition seems to be everywhere. My belief is that we are all unique individuals with our own artistic voice, and there is no need to compare ourselves to others. Comparison really does kill joy. Instead of focusing on what everyone else is doing, my advice is simple: Just be yourself. When you allow yourself to authentically express who you are and create art from your soul, your work will shine with originality. Your art is a reflection of your own experiences, perspectives, and stories, and that is what makes it truly special. No one else can be you, and that is your superpower. For me, staying true to myself and creating art that tells my own story is of utmost importance. I am driven by a sense of purpose to contribute to my community, to inspire my children, and to fulfil my own creative desires. When you create with a genuine intention and connection to your grassroots, your work becomes a powerful expression of your identity and values. Treat other fellow artists with respect and don't steal or copy someone else's work. Instead, build networks and connections with fellow artists, support and refer work to one another when it aligns better with their style or expertise. Share ideas and collaborate, while always staying true to your own unique style and vision.
How would you describe your taste in interiors and what’s your favourite room in your house + why?
When it comes to interiors, my taste is a unique blend of various styles, but one thing is for sure: I love vibrant colours. Eclectic pieces of furniture and art catch my eye, and I adore walls adorned with vintage frames showcasing bright paintings. Throughout my entire house, you'll find a playful palette of pinks, yellows, and greens that bring joy to every corner. One of my favourite rooms in my house right now is my bedroom. It's a true reflection of my style, featuring a delightful mix of pink and green tones with a touch of nostalgic decor. To add a whimsical touch, I painted fluffy white clouds on a blue sky on the ceiling, creating a dreamy atmosphere. My room is adorned with my favourite fashion pieces and jewellery, giving it a personal touch that makes it truly mine.
Another room that holds a special place in my heart is my kitchen, which I recently renovated on my own. Although it's still a work in progress, I've already added some elements that I love so much, I have my dream sink - a double white porcelain sink with elegant gold taps and beautiful wood block counters. To infuse even more personality, I plan to paint the entire kitchen in vibrant pinks and purples and bright orange tiles. I have hand painted sunflowers on the windows and have plants everywhere! My home is definitely a reflection of my vibrant personality and creative spirit.
Featured: Ava Check Apron.
Outside of your work, what brings you joy? Describe your perfect day to us… from sunrise to sunset.
The perfect day for me would start with waking up with a coffee! I don't like early mornings but my partner gets up before the sun does and always brings me an iced oat latte. Mornings are dedicated to embracing the beautiful chaos of family life, from breakfast routines to getting my little ones ready for school. Once they're off to school, I dive into my creative world, working on art projects for my clients. On a good day I might even get a chance for a daytime nap to recharge my creative energy or catch up on emails and administrative tasks. When my kids return from school I like to spend quality time with them, hearing about their day. We might embark on an adventure together, exploring nature or engaging in playful activities. Going to the beach for sunset would be the perfect end to a day. The beach is where I feel a deep connection with nature. I can spend hours combing the shore, marvelling at the intricate patterns on seashells, witnessing the crab’s artwork in the form of scattered sand balls, and admiring the imprints left by the outgoing tide. Watching the Pilbara sky light up with oranges, vibrant reds and then slowly fading to pinks and purples as the sun goes down and the moon rises over the water is my favourite thing!
You can follow Bobbi on Insta here.
And find her website here.
With a whole lotta love xx