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About me

Joycelin Leahy lives in Brisbane, Australia, and works across Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands. She is a mostly self-taught artist who loves watercolour and has developed her own natural pigments from plants to paint with. Her painting style is influenced by her rich, colourful, and unique Papua New Guinea heritage.

 

While she can draw and paint with other mediums, the natural pigments link her to her heritage and inspires her to continue to practice using some of these natural dyes before they disappear from her culture. Her love of this art-process stemmed from her childhood years in Lae, Papua New Guinea.As a child, she spent days making paint from vines, leaves and fruits to paint grass skirts, bilums, tapa and headdresses with her grandmother, and family members.

 

Joycelin says: “I am part of a tribe. I was raised by my mother and grandmother. Like many indigenous people that continue to struggle to hold on to their heritage, I feel that it is my responsibility to work hard to protect, preserve and sustain what belongs to my people. My art and my blog (www.tribalmystic.me) is one way of promoting and protecting my heritage.

“When I was growing up, we learnt from our elders. The connection we had with land, animals, spirits and our ancestors remains a powerful force within me. When I paint, the magic is in letting go, observing, being in and feeling one with nature. Often I finish an artwork and I don’t remember where it came from.”

 

Joycelin holds a Masters in Museum Studies from University of Queensland, Australia and a Diploma in Journalism from University of Papua New Guinea. She began practicing art seriously between 2016 and the beginning of 2017 after her mother Freda Kauc encouraged her. Before becoming an artist full-time, she painted and drew for fun and spent her artistic and writing ability to help promotethe work of other Melanesian and Pacific Island artists and communities for almost 30 years. She is known for her work in climate change and intangible cultures, Pacific Storms Contemporary Art Exhibition and the Melanesian Wantok2017 Showcasein Australia.

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