My name is Bayley Mifsud and I am a proud Peek Whurrong woman of the Maar nation, from south West Victoria (Warrnambool). My Aboriginal name is Merindah-Gunya which means ‘Beautiful Spirit’ in Peek Whurrong language, chosen by my parents and Elders. I got my Aboriginal name at the age of 16, when I went through my naming ceremony.
I was born in Warrnambool and began doing Aboriginal art at a very young age. I was first introduced to the traditional symbols when I was 5 years old, when we were doing our families possum skin cloak at the Brambuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre in the Grampians. My family would often go there on
weekends, where we would immerse ourselves in culture through art, music and dance.
I now live on Wurundjeri Country in Naarm (Melbourne) and have lived a large portion of my life here. My great granny Mary Clarke was a proud Bunurong and Yorta Yorta woman.
I had a particular interest and talent in art and continued to learn through the guidance and encouragement of my Elders. Creating stories using sacred symbols is something I have always had a strong connection with.
My Aunty Ros is a Butchulla woman from Queensland and she taught me how to use art to tell stories of her own family’s experiences.
Like most children, I never had the opportunity to learn
Aboriginal art throughout my schooling. The first time I did an Aboriginal artwork in school was in year 11 when I was given the theme ‘Identity’ for my art project. I was very excited to be able to use the skills I learned throughout general art in school, with the sacred tradition of storytelling I had learned when I was younger.
I did three portraits of my brother, Binbeal (Jacquin), which
ended up being selected to go in the ‘Catholic Education Exhibition’. My artwork won the ‘Directors Choice Award’ and furthermore purchased by the director, which was a massive achievement for me, that I am still proud of to this day.
Since then I have had an ongoing list of commissioned pieces, ranging from pieces for peoples homes, gifts for loved ones, schools, businesses and sporting clubs.
Being able to continue the sacred tradition of Storytelling through art, continuing what my Elders and Ancestors have done in the past is something I will never take for granted.
I am extremely passionate about educating people on the beauty of my culture and I know that through artwork, I have been able to.
This always was, and always will be Aboriginal land.
I am a proud ambassador of the Australian literacy and numeracy foundation (alnf)
As a proud Aboriginal woman, I am honoured to be an ambassador for the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation. The work that the ALNF do within our communities is vital in ensuring every child has access to education - in my mind, a basic human right. I can not wait to see what value I can add to the foundation as education is something I am extremely passionate about.
My little sister, best friend, and assistant.
You may have emailed me and wondered who this person was replying, well here she is.
Zali manages all of my emails and also my diary. I’m a very organised person however I don’t have the capacity at the moment to manage those two things, so she does for me. It also allows me to focus on the creative side of being an Artist, which I love.
Zali’s Aboriginal name is Tirrike which means happiness and laughter, and if you’ve met her, that’s exactly what she is.
We’re 13 months apart and most people think we’re twins - which is probably because we act and speak very similarly which doesn’t surprise me after 24 years of being by each others side.
I’m very grateful to have her helping me, not just with the admin but also big projects (like murals).
Zali works full time and does this after hours so please keep this in mind when emailing. Mondays and Fridays are admin days (for me) and we try to get back to all enquires within the week.