We chatted with Warraba Weatherall ahead of his appearance on the acclaimed indigenous art series ‘Colour Theory’ which is back for a fourth season on NITV this October.
Describe your art in a few words:
My approach is to create art which critiques colonial legacies in Australia, by looking at social, political and economic factors.
How did you first get started in graffiti and art?
I began writing graffiti in high school with friends who were into hip-hop. There was a lot of influence from the U.S. as the hip-hop/ graffiti meca; we would paint graffiti, check out hip hop gigs and MC battles. My art practice was born out of graffiti but has developed far beyond it, where letter structures transitioned into anatomy and painting to sculpture.
What inspires your designs?
A lot of the time I will build research into my art practice and I will continually be learning throughout the creative process, although my art is commonly anchored by cultural knowledge.
Who or what influences your art?
Usually, my artwork is loaded with political influence, but I am beginning to broaden my scope by finding inspiration in all of my surroundings and better understanding myself.
Who’s your favourite burner (street artist)?
I haven’t genuinely followed the writers scene for a while now as I am more active in my contemporary art practice, but when I was younger AKM, DTS and WAR crews would always kill it. In a contemporary arts practise, there are too many influences to name but I always like to see work by Gordon Bennett and Reko Rennie.
How do you incorporate indigenous motifs and symbols in your art?
When I was an apprenticing tattoo artist, initially I was only doing smaller tattoos and I learnt how to work with metaphor as a way to communicate more meaning in small-scale tattoos. I still do this within my painting practice today, by utilising popular everyday objects and cultural knowledge I am able to articulate meaning through metaphor.
What message do you hope to achieve with your art?
Society genuinely embracing cultural difference and understanding. If you live in a monocultural insular bubble, your understanding and experiences are limited to that bubble. I hope that my artwork can transcend cultural barriers and for more people of national and international communities to positively contribute to the existing dialogue.
What’s been your proudest moment?
The birth of my son, Garruwi. Followed by; my first solo exhibition, a group exhibition in Canada and my first Door 2 Door.
What are the plans for the future?
Keep making art and keep getting better at it.
Colour Theory Underground
Warraba is the subject of episode one of the Colour Theory series (http://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/organization/colour-theory) on NITV which will air on Tuesday 3 October 2017.
About Warraba Weatherall
Warraba Weatherall is a street artist and sculptor, form the Kamilaroi Nation, of south-west Queensland. Informed by his cultural heritage, Warraba’s practise aims to critique colonisation as an ongoing process in Australia; where social, economic and political realities perpetually validate Eurocentric ideologies. By referencing Indigenous knowledges, Warraba presents alternate ways of seeing and understanding, to contribute to a cross-cultural dialogue and reassert cultural pride and knowledge.