Tree: the story behind the art

Tree: the story behind the art

Kamilaroi artist Louisa Bloomer is the designer of RMIT’s new digital brand design. 'Tree' tells the story of Australian connection and diversity, along with Bloomer's own journey of cultural understanding.

Tree by Lou Bloomer Square 'Tree' by Louisa Bloomer.

Bloomer, who is in the second year of the Associate Degree in Fashion Design and Technology, will have her work featured on RMIT’s digital channels, including email banners, document templates, and digital screens.

Bloomer’s ancestors are from Kamilaroi, the Indigenous land in the mid-north coast of NSW, while she grew up in neighbouring Bundjalong.

Her artwork titled ‘Tree’ is based on her connection to Aboriginal heritage – specifically Kamilaroi and Bundjalong.

“Where my ancestors and I are from is quite coastal and our colours aren’t really the desert colours of brown, orange and red. We have more of the light oceans colours,” Bloomer said.

“Tree is based on my connection to my Aboriginal heritage and the bloodlines of many in our country.”

“We come from many tribes and mobs and like the gum, there are many colours. There’s even a rainbow gum. But we will always be connected as one to our land.”

Marlene Delomel, design teacher at RMIT, said Bloomer’s artwork is passionate and always distinctive for her bold use of colour.

“She often takes nature as a starting point to then experiment and use contrast in her designs - whether it be bright and soft or structure and fluidity,” Delomel said.

Paws Dot Dot by Louisa Bloomer 'Journey' by Louisa Bloomer.

Using lighter ocean colours throughout Bloomer’s work helps dismantle the view that Indigenous Australians are a homogenous group.

“The diversity of our culture and artwork is very much denied by Australia and the world,” Bloomer said.

“Aboriginals come in all different colours these days, as do all races. I think all Australians, within our own culture too, need to accept that we aren’t just one colour anymore and we haven’t been one colour for a very long time.”

The frustration of having to prove her Aboriginality is something Bloomer explores in her artwork.

“The gum tree design was actually my first design assessment at RMIT and I wanted to incorporate my Aboriginal background into my design,” Bloomer said.

“It’s where I first started to acknowledge that just because I’m ‘more white’, I still have the same struggles.”

“I have grown up quite privileged, but I’ve always been asked questions when I say I’m Aboriginal like ‘what percent’ or ‘are you sure?’ and it’s actually quite hurtful.”

Navy Blue Hexagons by Louisa Bloomer 'Geo' by Louisa Bloomer.

Bloomer draws inspiration from her mother and grandmother, who are both Kamilaroi women.

“My Indigenous line is very matriarchal. My mum gave me opportunities to go to art classes when I was growing up and even just looking at her artwork is inspiring.”

“But also my grandma, who wasn’t a hugely creative person, would spend time with me and pass down her knowledge of the land to me.”

Assistant Director Brand, Sponsorships and Events Adam Mortimer said Bloomer’s design was impactful and unexpected.

“We were looking for artwork that is distinctive from previous designs giving a renewed expression to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that work, live and study at RMIT,” Mortimer said.

“We are very happy with the result! Colourful and bold.”

 

Story: Caleb Scanlon

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  • Design
  • Indigenous
  • Arts and culture
  • Indigenous Australia

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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer