“My family share and tell stories, we go to places that are culturally significant to us and these things give me ideas, shapes, patterns, sounds and smells; knowing that my ancestors walk with me, this is what gives me inspiration.”
– Natalie Bateman
I belong to the Yuin/Gadigal tribes of NSW. We also belong to the largest Aboriginal tribe on the south coast, we are sea dwellers and our life revolves around ocean hunting and gathering seafood.
Growing up in this lifestyle and family has influenced the style and subjects of my artworks. My paintings all have the essence of my family in them, they are my life and they all bring colour to my world. I started painting 22 years ago now, started off mucking around with acrylic paints, I was always drawing throughout my teenage years yet didn’t really connect with painting.
In 1990 I was living in Lennox Head, so far away from family, missing them so much, I then started dabbling with acrylic paints, painting the land, ocean and animals—this would be a way for me to connect with them. So much love, thought and meaning would go into my painting and this was the start of ‘The Calling’ back home to Maroubra and my south coast homeland. When I look at most of the paintings I have done, they have been about fish, ocean and sea creatures. This felt so natural to me. As a large family we would always go back to our homelands and camp, fish and reconnect as a whole. Even growing up in Maroubra and La Perouse, besides sports we fished, dived and surfed everywhere and stayed together as family.
I get all sorts of ideas from everyday living, most of these ideas come from the land, the incredible colour, shapes and patterns in everything around, the smells, sounds, and the stories passed down from my elders. With the love from my family, sharing of knowledge, living the cultural ways, being part of our family kinship, all this beauty gets put into my paintings as some sort of story. I use dot work because it feels so natural and makes the paintings look complete. I use line work as well because it is my imprint.
I enjoy playing with colour and using them in a way that will uplift people.