My name is Jenny Bailey, I’m a Kamilaroi woman and a member of the Worimi Aboriginal Land Council. I am mother of seven children and work with disaffected Indigenous youth. My experiences are reflected in my art as I relate stories in my own way.
The shocking secret…..I’m Aboriginal!
I was born in Maitland, a small NSW country town in 1964. I enjoyed an idyllic life on our small dairy farm with my parents, two brothers and grandparents. An idyllic existence for a seven-year-old till the day my grandfather rushed back from the lucerne paddock with the news that my dad had had an accident while driving the tractor.
That day my life changed forever. Mum, me and my brothers moved into a bigger town where there were better job opportunities for a single woman.
Fast forward thirteen years and I’m married to my husband Tony. (We’re still going strong). We ended up having seven children together but whenever I was in labour and about to deliver I would always here chanting and what sounded like feet stomping on the ground. This happened every time and when I told Tony he just laughed and blamed the gas.
Twelve months after child number 3 (Jacob) I miscarried. Complications followed, and I found myself in intensive care with Peritonitis. I was only allowed two visitors at a time so when my grandparents arrived, convinced my time had come, they told me the family secret….I am Aboriginal. My grandfather and father had always been dark, but I thought it was because of all the hard work in the sun.
Needless to say I survived and everything suddenly made sense. I’d always had the urge to paint so one day I just let it flow. The results surprised even me, Friends began asking if I’d sell some of my work and it all went from there.
I can’t paint on demand though. When the feeling comes I reach for a canvas and away I go. I never know what I’m going to paint, it just comes as it comes.
Painting is a very personal thing to me and there are some paintings I can’t let go because of special cultural significance but you are very welcome to peruse the work that I’m able to sell.
Finally, I hope you enjoy my collection as much as I have enjoyed making it
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