Words Faraja Umutoni
My name is Faraja Umutoni, and I was born in Uganda, but my family is from Rwanda. I migrated to Australia in 2010 with my mother and four older siblings. It was very difficult for me to fit in at school at first because of my English, but that only gave me motivation to learn the language faster—I was disadvantaged since I wasn’t born in Australia, and English wasn’t my first language.
I started school in year 2 and recently graduated high school in 2020. After graduating high school, I went on to study app development at the University of South Australia in 2021. Last year was filled with numerous achievements for me: firstly, being that I got accepted into university. I then opened a small business on Etsy, which is slowly starting to grow. I won first place in the YACSA ‘Our Voice Our Future” poster competition, and as part of the prize, I was given the opportunity to receive mentorship from the local artist, Ruby Chew.
On my Instagram art page, I was invited to be a featured artist at the ‘We are The Movements’ National Sip and Paint event. I was also able to score a position at Carclew as a creative consultant. My primary art practice, digital art, truly didn’t start until year 12. So, I am very new to it.
I am inspired by my community and my roots. I am greatly motivated by my school and cultural community, as I want to show that determination and hard work really does pay off. I also want to represent darker people in art, as that’s something rare and my main goal is to show that black is beautiful. After running two sessions at my old high school, I realised how much of a role model I am to the younger generation; so I want to do my best and push them to greater things as well.
Art to me is a way to express myself when words fail. It is a way of self-reflection for not only myself but also for the viewer. ?