Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves

Debra Beale and Cheryl Penrith in conversation with Bec Harcourt

Debra Beale is an emerging Aboriginal female artist stemming from the Gamilaraay/Wonnarua and Wiradjuri/Boonwurung/Palawa/Yorta Yorta nations across Australia. Debra spent her childhood and adult days on Wiradjuri country, Griffith. She has a strong spiritual connection to land, sea and sky. These elements are integral to her healing journey and she draws on her lived experience when experimenting with sustainable and natural materials from our ‘ngayi parri’ (Wonnarua language – mother earth).

Debra’s studio located in Warrimoo, formally known as ‘Karabah’ (Where Eagles Land), in the NSW Blue Mountains, Darug Nation. It is a place where she can connect to her inner deep self. She is passionate about bringing Aboriginal art and culture to life through combining traditional theme with contemporary media. Her artistic practice includes fashion design, jewellery, painting, sculpture, installation, photography, ceramics and textile design.

Cheryl Penrith is a Wiradjuri woman, who also has cultural connection to the Yuin and Wotjoboluk nations, and currently lives in Wagga Wagga. Cheryl comes from a large, proud, strong Koori family. She is the Mother of one and Ninny of five beautiful grandchildren.

Cheryl is an Aboriginal business owner, a connector, a mentor and a coach. She has worked in the government, private and tertiary education spaces and has many areas of expertise to draw on. Her passion is the revival and re-invigoration of cultural practices such as-weaving, language, possum skin cloak making, and women’s cultural business.

Cheryl’s other passion is fashion and is well known nationwide and internationally as a fashionista through her blog. She has also just started a personal style business for “stylin’ up your physical, but also stylin’ up your spirit”. Cheryl wants to influence how First Nations people feel about themselves and deal with everyday life with dignity, pride and hope for an uncertain future.

This conversation is part of a series hosted by Bec Harcourt, UNSW Business School for Indigenous Business Month @UNSW events dovetailed with UNSW 2020 Diversity Festival

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