Working to preserve the Indigenous spirit through the arts, Elverina Johnson has been a beacon of creativity for more than 30 years. A highly respected Gurugulu and Indinji Gimuy woman from Yarrabah in Far North Queensland – Elverina is one of the nation’s most recognisable Indigenous artists.
With creative talents spanning the spectrum of visual and performing arts, Elverina’s extensive portfolio of work includes singer, songwriter, playwright, actor, photographer and artist. Believing that the arts can empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and restore a genuine sense of pride in their culture and communities, Elverina works with youth and Elders alike to promote cultural respect and integrity. Volunteering her time to address critical social issues impacting on the lives of people in Indigenous communities, Elverina lives true to her traditional family name -Bunya Badjil – which means “good woman” – a role she extends within all of her work.
Speaking in regards to work created through the FNFD, Elverina explains how the rich history of the Yarrabah has impacted her creative process.
“My childhood memories are filled with beach-side living. I remember going to school from the beach, eating seafood every day with scones and damper. I am inspired by the textures of Yarrabah – the beach, the waves, the campsite with corrugated iron, the fishnets and the old fish traps made out of lawyer canes that my ancestors used to make. My cherished memories were spending time with older women. They’d take me on a boat to go fishing and would tell me lots of stories. They’ve influenced my whole life. I spend a lot of my time researching and collecting the history of Yarrabah.”