Karlie Stewart is a Wandi Wandian Woman from Yuin Country on the South Coast of New South Wales. She lived in Nowra throughout her childhood and spent time around the Nowra, Wreck Bay and Jerrinja Aboriginal communities with her family. Since the age of 10, Karlie has lived on Bidjigal land and has strong connections to the La Perouse Aboriginal community. In early 2019, Karlie graduated with an Honours in Social Work from the University of New South Wales and has since worked as a Child, Youth and Family caseworker at Weave Youth and Community Services. She has been part of the Healing Foundation’s Interim Youth Advisory Group and is passionate about healing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities, particularly from intergenerational trauma as a result of historic and current government interventions.

Karlie has been painting since she was young as a way to connect to her saltwater home on the South Coast.

‘Dubays’ by Karlie Stewart

The artwork featured on our Weave Women & Children’s Centre tees and totes is comprised of acrylic linework and dots on canvas. ‘Dubays’ seeks to tell a story of the strength, resilience and beauty of Aboriginal women, who are the backbones of Aboriginal communities. In many Aboriginal cultures across the country, including the artists’ own, women are often regarded as the most sacred aspect of Aboriginal peoples’ being, as it is through women and mother earth that we are born and that we learn our initial ways of being and our responsibilities to our families and our communities. The twinkling of stars in the upper section of the painting represents our old people who have passed before us, that have passed down their stories and wisdoms, ensuring that we continue to live our sacred ways of life, whilst the yarning circle in the foreground and the many symbols often regarded as those belonging to women in the middle section, represents the passing on of systems of knowledges around being Aboriginal women. The birthing caves at the bottom of the artwork are a reflection of the ongoing connection and relationship that Aboriginal women share with sacred Country, and the opportunity this gives us to continue birthing generations of strong, resilient and connected babies.

See Karlie’s artwork featured in the merchandise in our online shop