Tell Us About Yourself
“My name is Emma-Louise Mulganai Hollingsworth. I’m a Contemporary Indigenous Artist based in Brisbane, Australia and I am a Kaanju woman.”
What inspired you to become an artist?
"My mum always says I was drawing before I could walk, so I guess I’ve just always been an artist. I decided to paint Indigenous art because I grew up watching my aunties and uncles paint and I was inspired by them. It wasn’t until I was in my teens that I decided to really follow this path because I needed to figure out who I was and my heritage helped to ground me. My culture is a huge part of who I am and I very proud to be an Indigenous woman."
What inspires your artwork?
"I draw a lot of inspiration from my own story, the story of my ancestors, and the people close to me . I am also inspired by issues that are relevant to me in my life. I like to paint uplifting stories and use bright, bold colours to evoke a sense of happiness in people when they see my work."
Can you tell us more about how you tell stories through your art?
"I use a lot of symbolism and metaphors in my work. We have very important symbols in our cultural art, and I turn these into metaphors. I like to think of it as poetry when I’m painting a story. I also like to keep the colours bright and poppy to represent my youth and to keep the energy of the piece light."
Tell us about your work with Amnesty to date
"I worked with Amnesty on their campaign to end children being held in watch houses in Brisbane. This was very important to me because our young Indigenous kids are being held there, some as young as 10, and they don’t have a voice. I wanted to be their voice because that could very easily be one of my own younger siblings, so I created a beautiful motif for Amnesty that is going viral on social media now. People can share it as a sign of solidarity and they can also sign the petition to put an end to this."
What are your dreams for yourself?
"I like to dream a lot, and I guess it’s paid off because I’m doing some really cool things these days. My biggest dream is to just help as many people as I can with my art and with my voice. I want to help women and children find their calling and chase their dreams. I'd love to especially inspire Indigenous people to do that; to not give up but rather strive for better and to go after everything they want. I’d also love to travel the world and share my culture with the world, but that comes later..."
What is your dream for women around the world?
"My dream is that women everywhere will be empowered, and I want every woman out there to realise how amazing she is and that if you needed to be reminded of your worth then here it is . This is your reminder. I want females everywhere to love themselves as they are and to know that they can take on anything that comes their way. Women are unimaginably strong and beautiful, and we have a power within us that is slowly waking up. We have the ability to be whomever we want and to do whatever we want and once we are free to be our best, true selves, the world will be a better place. To do whatever we want and once we are free to be our best, true selves, the world will be a better place."
About Amnesty International
Amnesty International courageously fights for a world where everyone enjoys their human rights without discrimination. Amnesty brings torturers to justice, change oppressive laws and free people jailed just for voicing their opinion. It is a global community of 7 million people standing up for what is right - justice, freedom and equality. Together, our voices are powerful.
Follow Emma on Instagram and Facebook @mulganai