My name is Irene Ridgeway and I am an Aboriginal woman from the nation of the Awabikal people of Newcastle, New South Wales. I have been working as an artist for about 20 years. My strong enthusiasm and passion for Indigenous art, culture, identity and expression is reflected in my work.
I am a political artist who suggests subtle innuendo in my impressions across many mediums. I name each piece in order to plant an idea, a seed, so the text enhances the work. Some paintings you can wander into and not really know where to find an answer. In my artwork, I explore these ideas in contemporary pieces which provoke thought and question our cultural assumptions. In my experiences of education and learning across two knowledge systems, I create relationships which resonate across both cultures, channeling my understanding through our Elders. Sounds echo all around from one culture to another, transforming us and connecting us like the process of birthing. I am usually able to imagine what my art will look like when it is finished. I’m always searching for a feeling, an emotion, a captured movement so my audience can feel as emotional as I do. Presentation is everything, like layering a cake, whether it be a single layer or multiple layers. Each piece has to fit perfectly or the viewer will not be able to breathe in the whole experience.