My guest for today’s episode is one of the most humble and grateful beings I have ever met.
Deng Adut was snatched from his mother’s arms when he was just six years old. He was forced to fight for the South Sudanese rebels as a child. After several years of fighting, by chance, he ran into one of his relatives and was smuggled out of the country. He immigrated to Australia as a teenager where he taught himself how to read, write and speak English. He earned a scholarship with the Western Sydney University and went on to become a defence Lawyer, refugee advocate and an author.
You are all invited to my friend Deng’s book launch on the 26th October 7pm at Kinokuniya bookstore in Sydney. Please come and join us.
Resources and Links:
Watch the short and powerful video which brought Deng’s story to mainstream attention
Claire Ashman spent most of her life unwillingly in different cults. Almost four decades later she woke up to reality and walked away from the only environment she had known. She left the cult, her husband and raised eight children on her own. She spent years of soul searching and professional counseling to get her life back on track. Today, Claire is an aspiring author and an anti-cult activist. She travels around Australia sharing her life journey and helping others in similar circumstances to deal with the challenge.
I’m borrowing today’s episode title from Gordon MacKenzie, an American artist. He used to talk to school kids from kindergarten to year 6, asking the same question: “Anybody an artist?”. And while everyone in kindergarten was enthusiastically raising their hands, as he progressed from one year to the next, the number of hands raised dropped. By year 6 hardly any kids put their hand up.
So Gordon Mackenzie asked the sixth graders: “Hey! What happened to all the artists in this school? Did all the artists transfer out? Did all the artists go to art school? I don’t think so. I think something much worse. I think someone or something has told you it’s not OK to be an artist. If you don’t remember anything else I say today I want you to go home and remember it’s OK to be an artist.”
I am so glad that my guest today – Brian Robinson – was not afraid to remain an artist even though some of his loved ones advised against it. At times it was a lonely road, working long hours, not knowing what the future holds, but that was the sacrifice he was willing to make.
Brian is the 2013 Recipient of the Western Australian Indigenous Art Award, the nation’s richest Indigenous arts prize for exceptional achievements by an Australian Indigenous artist. His works are displayed across Australia, at the Monaco Palace and at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco. He spent more than two decades perfecting his craft and never once wavered in his pursuit.
Brian constantly challenges himself to create unique and amazing masterpieces. He uses a variety of methods from printmaking, painting, sculpture, installation and design. His work embodies the customs and traditions of the Torres Strait Islander people whilst also referencing mythological narratives from global cultures.
In this interview Brian gives us a glimpse into his life as an artist, the work involved, the unusual materials and tools he uses for his art work. He also shares a bit about his life journey.
Before you listen to our conversation I highly recommend you follow this link to see his talent on display.
I’ll end with another quote from Gordon Mackenzie’s amazing book on creativity Orbiting the Giant Hairball: “If you go to your grave without painting your masterpiece, it will not get painted. No one else can paint it. Only you.”
Here’s one of the most genuine and authentic human beings I have ever known. She’s real, honest and not afraid to show her true colours. Because of this she has been a victim of cyber bullying but she does not let that bother her.
I have great admiration for Shanti. She is courageous and fierce and she has no problem showing others what she’s made of.
If you are feeling lost, suffer from lack of self esteem, or have a hard time dealing with haters either in real life or online then you must listen to this episode.