My Story | Bigi Nagala | Woman Aboriginal Artist

Hello, Im Sheri Skele...

...a proud Bidjara woman and a contemporary Aboriginal artist sharing my culture, experiences and hopes for healing our history through my knowledge and storyworks. I began painting as a way to connect with my culture and community and with the help and guidance of my elders I quickly realised that it has always been an innate part of me. Being able to continue this sacred tradition is something I cherish and am deeply grateful for.

When I'm not in the studio painting I'm usually wrangling our three children Heart, Haven and Huxley who keep me grounded and very busy. My husband and I also own and operate a CrossFit gym so we like to lead a very active and healthy lifestyle, surrounding ourselves with like minded people. 

I call my artworks bigi nagala, which means ' I am dreaming' in Bidjara. Our land spans across South West Queensland and is home to substantial Indigenous cultural heritage, Indigenous healing places, undisturbed natural bushlands, lagoos, wildlife and ancient waterways. This is the place where the Rainbow Serpent, Mundagudda, began its movement through the landscape and formed the waterways including the sandstone gorge itself.

I feel a deep connection to my Aboriginal heritage, the earth, country and spirit, and feel privileged to be able to share my stories and culture with you through my artwork. I hope to make my mob proud of the artworks that I create and knowledge that I share.

Growing up on the Sunshine Coast exposed me to a very relaxed and privileged lifestyle. My first job was as a waitress at my local Surf Life Saving Club. Here I learned to communicate with people from all walks of life. From there I spent the next 6 years as a pharmacy assistant where I realised the industry didn’t align with my values and beliefs. One of my greatest adventures saw me move to the Northern Territory to a small town called Nhulunbuy. I quickly landed a great opportunity working at Dhimurru (an incorporated Aboriginal organisation established by Yolŋu land-owners in Northeast Arnhem Land). At Dhimurru our primary function was to facilitate the protection, conservation and sustainable management of natural and cultural resource values, concentrating on areas which are subject to recreational use. I learnt many valuable lessons at Dhimurru and felt at home surrounded by my aunties and uncles who shared many stories with me and began teaching me how to live off country. The spark to learn more about my heritage and our culture had been lit.

When I moved back to the Sunshine Coast I enrolled to University where I completed a Bachelor Degree in Social Science with a Geography Major and an Urban Planning Minor.

My next adventure was by far my greatest with the birth of our first daughter Heart, followed by Haven and a few years later Huxley. During this time I dabbled in coaching at our CrossFit Gym, baking extravagant cakes, and working with Indigenous Primary School children as an intervention Teacher Aide.

…….Then along came the big C and much like the rest of the nation I was stuck at home with not a lot to do. I intuitively picked up a paint brush and the rest is history.

My goal is really to just leave a positive impact on everyone i meet everywhere i go.