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Here at TLSE, International Women's Day is one of our favourite days of the year - and for good reason! Not that we need an excuse to celebrate how strong, powerful and courageous women are, but this really is a great reminder to spotlight some especially inspirational women.

We've been lucky enough to work with some pretty incredible women here at TLSE, and were able to sit down with some to chat all things from being a woman in business, to creating and growing your own brand from the ground up. Keep reading and follow the series and see just why we're so inspired by these talented women.

First up in our mini series is one of our favourite artists at the moment, Ryhia Dank. Ryhia's work is centred around the three women of the Gudanji/Wakaja people, and her storying is called Nardurna (which translates to woman). For Gudanji, the big story is about three women who came from the ocean near Ngukurr in the Carpentaria Gulf, who created the hills and fresh water country.

Ryhia's work incorporates a variety of colours to reflect who she is, and her storying is driven by her history, family, and ultimately her experiences. We sat down with Rhyia to learn about how her experiences as a female creative, and about the way that her identity informs her art - and vice versa.

[TLSE] What kind of colours do you use in your work, and how do they reflect who you are?

[Ryhia] I use a wide range of colours from traditional neutral earthy tones through to light and bright rainbow spreads. I think this generally encompasses me as a person, as I have my deep traditional roots being completely at home out bush living off the country, and I am also completely at home in a high rise apartment in any major city living a busy corporate lifestyle.

How has moving between cities and communities influenced your perspective and understanding of the world?

I have been truly fortunate to have grown up with my parents wanting us to live and learn both our traditional culture as well as being a leader in a diverse modern world. My siblings and I have a very unique outlook on the world as a result of this, with a drive for success, and a deep love of our people and country.

As a female creative, what piece of advice would you give young girls navigating their passions and entering the workforce?

Work hard, then work even harder - and if anyone tells you you can't then do it anyway! I grew up with my brother, there was only a year separating us in age, which lead to us being very competitive of one another. Anything he could do, I would match and try to better it. I have maintained that competitiveness all the way through my life leading me to take on challenges that have stretched me but ultimately resulted in my growth and success.

Your storying being titled 'Nardurna', which translates to 'woman', as well as an important story for Gudanji being that of three women who created your place, the hills and fresh water Country, and as an influential woman yourself - women appear to be a central component of your work. Can you tell us a bit more about the ways in which women inspire and inform your work?

Women from my country are inherently strong. To me, women don't represent something delicate but rather leadership, courage and stability. All traits I know I carry and see in women all around me, when we raise others up and celebrate these characteristics, we inspire one another and grow.

To check out some of Ryhia's work or learn more about her process, keep reading on her website.


WORDS | Britt Ross, Ryhia Dank

IMAGERY | Nardurna



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