Charmaine Mumbulla: telling stories of Voice Treaty Truth
2019 NAIDOC Poster Winner Charmaine Mumbulla is a story teller.
‘My way of telling stories is through art,’ Charmaine said.
‘I love being creative and coming up with engaging ways to communicate information. I also come from a family of great story tellers.’
And this is a family with an important story to tell.
‘Generations of my family (the Grahams) lived on Point Pearce Mission in South Australia. My mum was raised on the mission until she was 7 years old and removed from her family under Aboriginal child removal policies,’ Charmaine said.
‘She spent the rest of her childhood in institutions and foster homes and had some heart-breaking experiences. Despite this, she went on to achieve great success in her life. She had six children and put herself through university as a mature-aged student before establishing a successful career in Aboriginal health.’
‘She was a great teacher and communicator. In 2009, a few years before she passed away, she won the NAIDOC Person of the Year award in South Australia and is about to have a road named after her. She left a wonderful legacy for her children and grandchildren.’
It’s hardly surprising that Charmaine’s mum is her biggest inspiration. In addition, Charmaine is inspired by her children and her husband Jason, who is also her partner in Mumbulla Creative.
‘At Mumbulla Creative we specialise in artwork that tells a story,’ Charmaine said.
‘It might be a story about an organisation’s Reconciliation Action Plan or their themes and values. We also work on creative projects with a focus on Aboriginal culture and education.’
Her winning NAIDOC poster, Awaken, is the product of her own story, the story of a proud Kaurna and Narungga woman with a sense of truth and justice.
After high school, she studied art and education, then completed a law degree at the University of Adelaide. She worked for several years in a law firm before taking time off to travel around Australia.
‘My travels brought me to Sydney where I started working at the Public Interest Advocacy Centre. This is where I began working in social justice.’
Her work in social justice led to a Community Legal Education role at Legal Aid NSW, where she would develop engaging ways to explain complex legal information to community groups.
Charmaine said that after her children were born she studied graphic design, film making and photography.
‘I love the flexibility of working in a digital environment and being able to combine these skills with my passion for social justice.’
Charmaine’s story continues; she has a few exciting projects in the works including a children’s book and the development of teaching resources.
And of course her story will include her guest appearance at the National NAIDOC Ball on Saturday, 6 July in Canberra.