Debbie Austin is an Aboriginal Artist and author of the Kirrae Whurrong nation, western Victoria. She has been painting for 15 years. Debbie is part of the ‘stolen generation’, forcibly taken from her biological parents. She was taken away from her mother at eighteen months of age and reared by white foster parents. Her mother passed away when she was eight years of age, she never got the chance to meet her mother before she passed away. The only knowledge and understanding she has of what her mother had to endure under the Government policies of the day has been told to Debbie by the people who knew her at the time.
Debbie’s paintings are her way of coping with the hurt and pain she still suffers from being removed from her mother. All through her childhood and into her adult life she held her pain within and never spoke to anyone about it. “This led to me making some bad choices in my adult life.”
In her thirties it was suggested she try painting as a means to express the pain she was feeling.
“I was inspired to write and illustrate my work by my late uncle, Banjo Clarke, a great story teller. I was fascinated by the stories he told about the way my people survived in a hostile environment. Uncle Banjo was a great part of my healing process when I returned to my spiritual lands.”
“My original paintings were of “dot” style, but over the past several years i began to paint the stories uncle Banjo told me, this led to the publication of my children’s books.”