Delma Praljak

1st September 2022

My name is Delma Praljak, I am a proud Gamilaraay woman born in Queanbeyan on Ngunnawal land, however I travelled around Australia a lot as a child and lived in many places like Far north Queensland, Alice Springs, Darwin and more. My family and I settled in Walgett during my highschool years to be closer to my grandparents and other family members. Growing up my mum taught me many words in Gamilaraay and I learnt a lot more about my background and culture during my teenage years.

As a teenager I found that I connected to my culture more through artwork and creativity. I would paint a lot growing up, emu eggs, canvases, anything that looked like a paintable surface and learnt many traditional techniques from my uncle who is also an artist.

In 2017 I moved to Wagga Wagga to be closer to my Dad and began my study in disability support while also being supported by Mission Australia to find an apartment to live in. I would always paint to pass the time and to help with the anxiety I was dealing with at the time due to being so far away from my family and by myself. I always had various pieces of artwork laying around the floor at any given time. Painting and creating cultural pieces would help me to feel connected while I was away from country and my family, it reminded me of my mum, uncle and my grandparents who taught me everything I know.

The thought of starting a business had never crossed my mind until 2019 when my caseworker from Mission Australia had insisted she purchase a piece of artwork from me. She had shown it to her manager and colleagues and knowing that I strongly connect to culture through art, they decided to donate some canvases and art supplies to encourage me to make something out of it. I lacked a lot of confidence and feared judgement, however my caseworker helped me substantially to overcome these barriers and I started up a Facebook page to use as a platform to showcase my artwork and statement pieces and that is how Yurrandaali Arts was born.

I later discovered disability support wasn’t for me as I had such a big passion for creativity, as much as I loved working in the support sector I felt like I was in the wrong field so I stopped working and started to make a plan to help bring my dream to life. I wanted to do more than showcase my work, I wanted to be able to raise cultural awareness through my creations, teach others and show the world how beautiful our culture is.

Why Yurrandaali Arts? Well, because the Yurrandaali is my totem. It translates to ‘sand goanna’ in traditional Gamilaraay language and I have always felt a connection with the species since young.

I have been operating Yurrandaali Arts since 2019 and have recently made a big move with my business from Wagga Wagga to Sydney in hopes to one day be able to open a physical store where I would love to not only sell my products, but also hold workshops, encourage confidence in other artists to showcase their artwork and be able to have a judgement free space to raise awareness and keep our culture alive.

Would love to connect!