For contemporary Indigenous artist Jacinta-Rai Ridgeway-Maahs (@byjacintarai), creating art is a form of storytelling. Through her connections to Country, the proud Worimi woman and mother of two, hopes these stories will continue to be shared through future generations.
How would you describe yourself?
I would describe myself as kind, fun, creative and compassionate.
How does your Connection to Country influence your artwork?
As a proud Worimi woman living on Butchulla country, my connection to Country influences my artwork by motivating me to create art that others can connect with and tells a story. From the trees, to the waterways, rainbows, ocean, sun, wildlife, our children and to our ancestors - these are some of the things that influence my art. Every piece of my contemporary Indigenous art tells a story.
It is important for me to help keep my culture alive and evolving through my contemporary art.
Do you have a favourite artwork?
Unity, Infinity (below), Home and Together Again are definitely some of my favourites but I really do fall in love with them all so it’s really hard to choose.
Who are your main influences or art inspirations?
I come from a very talented mob with so many remarkable artists.
My cousin Gerard Black is an amazing Indigenous artist who I look up to a lot. Miimi and Jiinda, Natalie Jade and Brad Turner are also incredible Indigenous artists who are making us all so proud with their success.
Where do you paint?
I love to paint outside on my deck amongst the trees, birds and sunshine. I have my easels always out there ready to go! I grab my paints and my brushes, turn the music up and let the creativity flow!
How do you overcome creative blocks?
If I need to overcome a creative block, I will normally turn to Country and get inspired again. I can overcome them normally by looking at our beautiful country, looking at photos of my mob, looking at my children - who are our future, or going for a walk outside in the fresh air and in nature.
What was your experience entering the business side of things?
To be honest when I first started my art I had no intention of making it a business at all. I would do it because I absolutely loved painting and it was a beautiful way to connect with my Indigenous culture. As a business owner and mother of two, this was also like my meditation and mummy time. So, once I started doing a few pieces, I began to post them on my personal Instagram. Family and friends started to ask me to make pieces for them and it just grew on from there. I made an art account and created a website to start selling. I still get blown away every time someone buys my art or even enquires about a commission piece.
My tips for any new-comers would be to just start posting your art! Get it out there for everyone to see and connect with. Be original and don’t give up! Good things take time, as I’m learning myself too.
What’s your favourite Mont Marte product?
This was a hard question to answer! I couldn’t possibly pick just one, but if I had to pick, it would be the Mont Marte Pouring Acrylic paints in Coral and the Mont Marte Acrylic paints in Burnt Sienna. I always put on the final touches to all my paintings with the Mont Marte Gold or Silver Acrylic paint which just makes them pop.
What are you most excited about for the future?
I am excited to see what the future brings for By Jacinta-rai. I’m enthusiastic to continue to create pieces that connect with others. I’m eager to see where this journey takes me next and what collaborations will happen in the future.
We hope Jacinta-Rai’s contemporary Indigenous art and her story, sparks your creativity. Show us what you create and share your projects with us! Add #montmarteart or tag @montmarteart on Instagram or Facebook.
Or check out more of our featured artists here.