Nicole Chaffey in her studio

Nicole Chaffey in her studio

Nicole Chaffey - breathing space, August 2014

Nicole Chaffey is an Aboriginal woman, descendant of the Biripi nation of the North Coast of New South and she has been living on Awabakal lands for the last fifteen years. Chaffey’s paintings reference motion through the landscape and interaction with it. They are about belonging to a region, recognising home; but being removed from origin and birth ties.

While her work is contained within the stylistic conventions European painting, the visual connection to Aboriginality lies within subject matter, which is the relationship to the Australian landscape. The fractured horizon links two halves of Chaffey’s bi-cultural identity, marrying the stylistic conventions of two very different representations of landscape. This instinctual mark making is symbolic of personal history, a metaphoric relationship between internal and external environmental forces.

The graphite works are directly tied to her relationship to the country of her mother and grandfather, the three trees representing the three matriarchs of her family who were dispossessed of their heritage and culture. By depicting these women in this way, they are symbolically returned, anchored back into the land to which they belong.

breathing space merges these two bodies of work, and takes stock of the journey to this particular understanding of the land and the artists place within it.

Nicole Chaffey holds a current candidature in Masters of Philosophy (Aboriginal Studies) at the University of Newcastle having graduated for a Bachelor of Fine Art (Honours) degree in 2010 from the same university.

She has an established studio practice in the Newcastle suburb of Georgetown and is actively involved within the artistic community, facilitating workshops, volunteering with local arts organisations such as Octapod, and currently holding a Demonstrator position in the University of Newcastle’s School of Creative Arts. She has been the recipient of major arts and academic awards, including the 2014 Friends of the University Acquisitive Student Art Prize, 2013 Postgraduate Arts Administration Industry Scholarship, the Wollotuka Aboriginal Art Prize in 2011, and the Gili Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement in 2008, an ATSI state award supported by the Department of Education and Training.

Nicole has a well established studio practice in the Newcastle suburb of Georgetown.

See our behind-the-scenes studio shoot with Nicole here.

You can find Nicole's website here.