Sarah Richards of Marrawuy Journeys is Dying to Talk
Sarah Richards (Marrawuy Journeys) is a modern Aboriginal self-taught artist who tells her stories through artworks to share her personal experiences and inspire others. In 2015, Sarah was awarded the ACT NAIDOC Artist of the Year and contributes her continued growth as an artist to other Aboriginal artists such as Dhala Dreaming on the Gold Coast and the artists at the Burrunju gallery in Canberra.
Marrawuy (Mar-ra-way) in her ancestors’ language of the Wongaibon people means Red Kangaroo. Sarah has a family tree that shows where the totem of one of her ancestors was a Red Kangaroo. This is one of the reasons she has chosen to go by Marrawuy Journeys as well as the fact that a Kangaroo can’t jump backwards. This resonates strongly with Sarah as no matter what challenges she is thrown, she keeps moving forward.
Sarah created the “Journey of Life” painting for Palliative Care Australia (PCA) which is displayed in the PCA office. This artwork represents life and death in a bright and comforting way with Sarah’s artwork also digitally displayed through PCA’s Reconciliation Action Plan.
This NAIDOC week, Sarah answers questions from the Dying to Talk Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Discussion Starter which aims to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to start thinking about what would happen if they were so sick that someone else had to make decisions for them.
What are some of the things you value most in life?
What I value most in life is time – you only get a limited amount and you can never get more of it. I also value my family and friends as they are always supportive and there for me. Lastly, I value my career.
What brings you joy and happiness?
I have learnt not to rely on others to provide me happiness, instead happiness should come from within one self. Painting is one of the things that brings me joy and happiness as does time with my partner and family.
If you were very sick, what things would you and your family get strength from?
Everything is meant to happen for a reason and if I wasn’t going to get better than at least I would be reunited with those that had left before me.
Are there any fears you have about the end of your life?
I don’t fear the end of life. I try to make the most of everyday and understand that when my time is up, it’s up. It does however upset me to think about the pain of grief that my loved ones would endure.
How important is it for you to visit country before you die, or to be on country when you die?
It’s not something I have given much thought too nor heard discussed in my family. My great grandmother was part of the Stolen Generations and taken to Cootamundra Girls Home so the importance of visiting or being on country when we die was never something my nan raised with us.
How important is it for you to be buried or cremated on country?
I have lived on many countries, I was born on Eora country, raised on Wiradjuri and Bundjalung country and now reside in Ngunnawaal country. Yet my ancestors were from Wongaibon country. I have a strong connection to Wiradjuri country as that is where my Nan lived and died. But I can’t say I have a preference as to what country I’d like to be buried on but ideally it will be somewhere where a family member rests.
To view more artworks or get in contact with Marrawuy Journeys, please visit the Facebook page Marrawuy Journeys – Modern Aboriginal Artwork.
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