Lelearna Shelley

Where are our Warriors

Artist Statement

My prints tell the story of two mythological spirits that journeyed with warriors across the water: the Adaro (sea spirit), an evil spirit who dwelled underwater and the Nguzu Nguzu (sea god) who rode the waves, protecting the warriors and guaranteeing safe passage. With the introduction of Christian beliefs, the practices of head hunting ceased, and these warriors no longer had a place in their own culture. The warriors were vital to these creatures’ existence and without them, the Nguzu Nguzu and Adaro disappeared. With our warriors gone, who is left to fight for our culture?

Artwork Process

I began with designing a print using traditional patterns laid out in a non-traditional way. I then transferred this design onto a lino block as this was the traditional method of creating a print. Blue was chosen to represent the Adaro as it lives underwater and orange was chosen to represent the Nguzu Nguzu as it dwells in the sky above the sun. Colours were kept artificial to oppose traditional colours and processes. Once printed, I photographed the images and then digitally manipulated them through Photoshop to remove all imperfections that might draw viewers’ attention.

About the Artist

  • Name: Lelearna Shelley
  • School: St Columban’s College (Caboolture)
  • Artwork: Where are our Warriors
  • Media: Digital prints on paper

I intend to study tropical medicine as I am passionate about health and I hope I can continue to incorporate my creative thinking into my medical studies. My culture is my main inspiration for my art. During this year I have gained new knowledge about the history and importance of certain events and how it affects me today, and also my people into the future. I find it very important to keep exploring this as traditions are becoming more westernised and the culture itself may be lost in the process.