By Grace Knight
Bachelor of Business and Social Science student Imogen Clarence is doing big things in the Indigenous art scene.
The 21-year-old first began painting less than a year ago and since then her work has taken off in ways she never expected.
“At the end of 2021 the Office of Engagement at Bond ran an art competition to design an Indigenous print for their new merchandise and I was fortunate enough to have my work recognised, winning the competition,” she said.
“This was the beginning of my journey discovering a passion for Indigenous art, my culture and establishing Maruma-Li Art.”
Her new business venture was named joint winner of this semester’s Transformer Launchpad competition, with Ms Clarence receiving a $1500 prize to foster its growth. Bachelor of Property student Lachlan Creese also received a $1500 prize for his tokenised property investment business idea.
As a proud Kamilaroi woman who grew up in Bigambul country in Goondiwindi, moving to the Gold Coast gave Ms Clarence the opportunity to fully immerse herself in her culture within the Bond Indigenous community.
"Growing up I had limited connection with my culture, however since relocating to the Gold Coast I have had the privilege to spend time with some local Elders in the First Nations Centre at Bond and discover how amazing and special my culture is,” she said.
Ms Clarence has a passion for helping others and recently completed the Business Model Execution subject in which she and her team raised $10,000 for Indigenous and mental health charities.
“As part of our Business Model Execution subject we created native animal themed car air-fresheners which were decorated with my art,” Ms Clarence said.
“Since then, I have taken over the project and partnered with Masters student and Bundjalung man Ryan James and we are currently in the process of getting them distributed within Kmart and Aus Supply, but our main goal is to get them stocked in souvenir stores and airports as many of the ‘Indigenous’ products there are non-authentic.”
From product development and marketing, to painting school murals, raising money for Indigenous mental health and exhibiting her art at the Gold Coast Private Hospital, Ms Clarence is racking up an impressive portfolio as she moves towards achieving her dreams.
“I plan to do my Masters in Occupational Therapy and specialise in art therapy, with a long-term goal of opening an allied health centre for Indigenous youth,” Ms Clarence said.
“After growing up in a small town that was pretty badly affected by the Stolen Generation and colonisation, I know first-hand that there are a lot of negative impacts still out there that need a lot more support than they are currently getting. So basically, my ambition is to help with trauma, healing and the disconnect from culture.”
More information about Imogen and her artwork journey can be found on her website https://www.marumaliaboriginalart.com/blank-1